portrayal,. We may be uplifted, inspired, depressed or left with unanswered questions.
Mood is partly a physical attribute incorporated into an image. Visible and implied circumstances, colour, focus, human expression, and the atmosphere imposed by the prevailing light all offer a degree of control. However, it is also a product of our personal reactions and attitudes, and consequently an elusive and subjective quality attracting as many interpretations as viewers.
If we are to communicate our vision effectively the key is to understand how others are likely to react to our work. Photographers bring their own background, experience and style to subjects, and cannot avoid doing so. Their personal marks are inevitably embedded within images of any depth. Those who view images also do so in the light of their own attitudes and experience. The challenge for the photographer is therefore to find common ground with unknown viewers.
A number of photographers working with the same subject will inevitably approach the task in quite different ways. However, mood is not always achieved in such a direct manner, and may be more effectively conveyed by what is not shown. For example, poverty or the consequences of famine might be used to make a social or political comment, but that does not mean that the portrayal must in itself be shocking. We might choose to leave much to the imagination and, in so doing, encourage viewers to draw upon their own resources. Ultimately, the objective is to reach out to a feeling or situation. The real story is what lies behind a scene or situation, and mood provides additional evidence.
It is worth learning to look at your own images, some time after they are captured, and noting what associations and emotions they arouse. If they provoke little reaction, or are similar in nature, it may be time to break out. A narrow track may be restricting your creativity. Try something new, something crazy. Act on impulse and break some rules.