EMERGING PHOTOGRAPHERS

Right Moves: What Makes A Great Photograph?

Myra Kresh



Myrna Kresh, has 30 years of experience working with emerging and established photographers. Formerly the Executive Director of the Advertising Photographers of New York, Myrna energized and expanded APNY’s Assistant and Emerging Photographer Programs and has a profound understanding of what it really takes to make it as a pro. Myrna is an industry insider, producing and representing visual artists, in their commercial and personal projects.

Dear Right Moves,

I am completely confused. What criteria defines a great photograph? I look at some award-winning images in PDN and I don’t get what’s so great about them. The judges are all usually big deal editors and art directors, so I know theirs are experienced eyes, but I’d sure like to know what criteria they use to determine a winner from a loser.

Random, Ocean City, Maryland

Dear Random,

There is no single answer to your question. A photograph is determined to be great based on the eyes judging it. Experienced eyes define excellence primarily by originality of concept, the difficulty of execution, the composition and the technique.

Photography is judged in the context of the times we’re living in. The criteria for excellence is always changing. Today, it’s easier to make technically excellent images, so more critical attention is usually given to the originality of the concept, the freshness of the photographer’s vision, and the passion that motivates the photographer to make the image.

What makes a great photograph? The only answer I can give you with certainty is that after years of looking at hundreds of thousands of images, a great one stops me on the page. Great photography is the intersection of imagination, technique, and passion…barely definable but clearly identifiable.

To submit your advice questions to Right Moves, send an email to myrna@myrnak.com.

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