In my last post, I mentioned how I feel that when you put a person in a photograph, the photograph tends to become about that person and not whatever else may be in the frame. For this reason, I tend to avoid putting people in my photographs.
But there’s even a little more to it than that. I can speak only for myself, but I feel like when I see a person in a photograph, it tends to take me out of the photograph. To me, a photograph without people in it has two participants – the subject of the photograph, and me, the viewer. When a photograph has a person in it, it feels to me like the number of participants has grown to three – the subject, the viewer, and the person in the photograph. Human likenesses exert such a powerful influence, that the depiction of a person in a photograph is almost like having another actual person in on the viewing experience.
I find this inhibiting. When another person is around, maybe subconsciously I put my guard up. Even if that person is just a likeness in a photograph. I feel much more free to really “inhabit” the photograph as my own experience when there are no people depicted in it.