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Memorable Photos

Exploring What Makes Some Photos Unforgettable

Every day people create over a billion photos. People all over the world share millions of those photos. Some of these images emotionally move people and are seared into their memories. People look at and think about those photos again and again. People share and talk about them. While at the same time, we humans forget the vast majority of photos we see. I call the photos that stand out in such a way, memorable photos.

Inspiration For This Series

It’s extremely rare for someone to have an opportunity like Neil Armstrong did to photograph such a historical and unique moment. The photo of Buzz Aldrin standing near the American flag on the moon is one of the most memorable photos ever made. Time Magazine put it on its list of 100 Most Influential Photos Ever Made.

My deepest desire as a photographer is to create imagery that is memorable. I can’t wait around to make the right photo at the right time in the midst of a historic moment. It may never happen for me. So then, how can I make memorable photos of what is immediately accessible to me? I decided to go into depth and explore what exactly is a memorable photo and how do we make them.

Who Am I

I’ve been a photographer for over 10 years, specializing in weddings, street photography, travel, and urban exploration. My photos have been published in a few magazines, featured in a couple of local galleries, and used on more websites than I can count. Nevertheless, I do not see myself anywhere close to where I want to be as a photographer and an artist.

After learning what feels like everything there is to know about the technical aspects of photography, I want to learn more about it from an artistic point of view. So, I studied well-known photographers like Walker Evans, Vivian Maier, William Eggleston, Robert Frank, and Sally Mann. While looking at their images I noticed something peculiar about them, many of their photos were very memorable. They lodged themselves into my brain, causing me to think about them often as time goes by. For example, I can see William Eggleston’s image of the light bulb on the red roof so vividly in my mind. Also, Vivian Maier’s photo of the young boy looking into a giant cardboard box in New York City will routinely pop into my mind when I think about great street photography.

What is it specifically that makes their photos so memorable, I wondered.

Memorable Photos Series

Understanding what makes a photo memorable has many dimensions to it. There are technological, artistic, psychological, cultural, and physiological dimensions to photos. I’m going to make this into an 8 part series including this one because of how much there is learn and write about on this topic.

I will explore and research what has already been learned about memorable photos. I will also discuss an additional theory I have on what makes some photos more memorable than others.

The Memorable Photos series answers the following 7 questions:
  1. What is a memorable photo? We will view and discuss some of the photos that are considered extremely memorable.
  2. What types of memorable photos do people remember the most? This post will explore the research that has revealed the types of photos that people remember most.
  3. What are the composition techniques used in memorable photos? I shed light on the most popular composition techniques photographers leverage in memorable photos.
  4. What connects people to a photograph? For a person to remember a photo, they have to connect to it.
  5. How does the tone of the image affect memorability? Apart from the subject matter and composition, tonality also affects how we remember photos.
  6. What is visual teleportation in photography? This is a theory I have on what else makes a photo memorable.
  7. What techniques do photographers use to make memorable photos? We will learn the various techniques that well-known photographers employ that we can also use.

What Are The Types Of Photos People Remember Most?

December 1, 2020

The types of photos people remember most are the ones of our fellow humans. The lest memorable photos are ones that depict a landscape.

What Is A Memorable Photo?

November 29, 2020

A Memorable photo is worth remembering, especially because it’s special or unusual. But what makes us remember one photo more than another?