The most extraordinary photograph

Written on November 28, 2011 by in Artistry & inspiration

Quick: Think of the most extraordinary photograph you’ve ever seen.

Got it? Now, please describe it in the comments below, including the photographer’s name and any technical details you know (camera and lens choice, lighting, etc.) If you don’t know the deets, it’s all good. A link to the image is also great!

I’ll be back later this week with the results of this informal poll and my own thoughts on the subject.

Thanks for your help,

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  1. Eana
    November 28, 2011

    I held an Ansel Adams 8×10 negative contact print. You could see all the birds in the trees. And I flipped thru a book of 16×20 photogravures of posed corpses by Joel Peter-Witkin. An original daguerreotype by Chuck Close. A picture of “Alice” by Lewis Carroll. A long exposure paper negative made while the paper sat at the bottom of a stream and water flowed over it while moonlight shone down thru the trees to make an image. Those are my top 5 I’ve seen in person. I’d say they all blew my mind a little.

    • Kate Watson
      December 1, 2011

      Eana, Thanks so much for weighing in! I really appreciate it.

  2. Ariane
    November 30, 2011

    I’m a big Richard Avedon fan! I hugely admirer his portraiture work. The most extraordinary photograph that comes to mind is from his work with Marilyn Monroe. Here’s the link to the image:

    I just love it because of her expression. Compared to all of the glamouros photos of Marilyn, this one is so raw and reflective of what she was going through at that time in her life.

    Thanks for posing the question Kate! Looking forward to hearing the results of your poll :).

    • Kate Watson
      December 1, 2011

      Awesome, thanks, Ariane! It was very helpful to hear why you were drawn to this photo. I’m looking forward to sharing the results, too. :-)

  3. Angie Bice
    November 30, 2011

    So, you know that picking just one amounts to cruel and unusual punishment. I have really two that immediately pop into my mind. The photographer is an amazing woman that I picked up from a Hampton Roads little advert. magazine… I could tell from the pictures on her website that her style was perfectly matched to mine. You may have heard of her, her name is Kate Watson. She did two sessions for my family and the pictures that popped into my head both came from the second session – although, as a whole, I’d say that the first session was maybe a tiny bit more of my favorite. During that first session – she only asked us to pose once and that was for the first snap- after that, we got to do whatever we wanted and in doing so, she captured my family in an extraordinary way. I can hardly look through that album without getting a lump in my throat – it is a perfect time capsule of “us”. But, I digress. The favorite photos come from the second session. This one had a few more posed shots, mostly at my request and I love it too. But, my favorite was pretty much the last one she shot. She was changing a lense (or something to do with the camera) and Jimmy walked over to her to see what she was doing and talk to her. The rest of us were further back, on the beach, standing together watching Jimmy talk to her. Somehow in that moment she took the shot. Jimmy is in perfect focus and the rest of us are behind him slightly out of focus and looking toward him in the most loving and happy way. It’s exactly the way we always look at our Jimmy. And he looks so much himself in this picture. That, has to be my favorite. Second favorite is an action shot from that same shoot on the beach. Robbie had just grabbed up Lindsey and swung her around. In that shot, you only see Lindey’s hair over her face (because of the way he swiped her up so quickly) and her little legs flung out to the side. Her little toes have sand on them. And even though you can’t see either of their faces… you know exactly what happened and how they are both feeling. Not sure if this is at all what you are looking for… but it’s my honest answer. :) Hope you are well!

    • Kate Watson
      December 1, 2011

      Aw, Angie, thank you! Although I definitely wasn’t looking for anyone to suggest my work in this situation, your response actually helps a lot in that it makes the connection between extraordinary and memorable. You’ll see in my next post that I started out asking everyone what photo was most memorable for them but I revamped the question to make it less biased in favor of the emotional quality of images vs. technical merit. Your response makes it clear that, for you, extraordinary emphasizes emotional over technical. Very helpful! And, again, thank you for your photo love. :-)

  4. Street Portraitist
    December 1, 2011

    I guess for me it changes a bit, but of late this Dan Winters photo for me is the best.

    Something amazing about it, the pallet, composition, it feels like Helen Mirren is floating in the room. Also the black of her dress and the white of hair is just amazing.
    Street Portraitist recently posted..FiftyOne

    • Kate Watson
      December 1, 2011

      Thanks for sharing, Ade! It is a stunning photo, as are so many of Dan’s portraits.

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