Subject and Meaning in Photography

A ornately carved statue of a lion on the tomb of Charles the Bold in the Church Of Our Lady, Brugge, Belgium.

On one hand this photo is little more than a competent snapshot made, in a moment of relative calm, as a tour group invaded the lovely Church Of Our Lady in the old town of Bruges in northwest Belgium

Photography And Story Telling

The subject matter is interesting, the light was revealing and the color uplifting. But what’s the photo about? What story does it tell and what meaning are we to derive from it?

Church and State

The statue of the lion lies atop the mausoleum of Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy. The fact that the statue is of a lion suggests strength. The fact that the lion is golden suggests wealth and prestige. Ultimately, this photo speaks to me of power, status and wealth and the continued cultivation of status through the reverence awarded to the duke and his position by situating the coffin in such a beautiful church.

Conditioning Is A Barrier

We are all conditioned throughout our life. That conditioning can come through members of our family, the education system, religion, the media and the politics of the state. We are conditioned to love, and also to hate. At a subtle level we are conditioned to judge the people, lifestyles and cultural practices that are different from our own.

One of the great things about travel is that it immerses us in landscapes and cultures beyond our everyday experience. We grow through change and the best way to embrace change is to explore all manner of things that fall outside of our so-called normal life.

Freedom from the known is the only way forward, and travel and photography are ideal partners on that most important journey.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru