The seen and the unseen
When one looks at a photograph, one immediately scans its contents to create meaning. Some people take the information at face value: Yes, it's a photo of a scooter parked by a fountain in front of an old building in Majorca, Spain. Others look more closely, seeking clues to deeper meaning. The shutters upstairs are closed, but the front door is open; the scooter has only one helmet, but another scooter is beside it. A mural of a priest is between the upstairs windows. Put these elements together, and one can conjure several versions of "the story" of this photo.Skip to next paragraph
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To me, this is the power of the photographer and the beauty of photography. Photographers compose and capture scenes from a performance unfolding continuously before their eyes. They create narratives by what they choose to include - or exclude - from an image. The resulting photograph is as much about what is left in, as it is about what has been left out.
I composed and captured this image earlier this year. I was very taken by the old scooter, the bronze rooster atop the fountain, and the mural on the balcony. I was not so interested in a few other things - the (unseen here) new car parked to the right of the scooters, for instance. That would have made the photo more contemporary and spoiled the Old World "look" I sought.
Mr. Sosa is the Monitor's features photo editor. He joined the staff in 1997.
(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor