“An image is not simply a trademark, a design, a slogan or an easily remembered picture. It is a studiously crafted personality profile of an individual, institution, corporation, product or service.”~D Boorstin
I think most photographers aim to capture the personality of a person, place or thing without consciously recognizing that concept as a primary goal. Whether it is a living being or an inanimate object, capturing a glimpse into an aspect of the true personality or essence of someone or something is what we’re after. Even in conceptual photography where people levitate and are in unreal and manufactured circumstances, photogs try and capture the essence of a concept, based on their own thought/personality. The same goes for landscape photography: one aims to capture the personality of a land.
There has to be some kind of emotional depth in order for a viewer to really connect with an image. In the case of animals, many times being able to capture that essence is dependant on being patient, waiting out their initial leeriness and giving them time to relax around you. Animals are no different than people subjects in that respect; to get a good image a certain amount of trust must be established. And what amount of trust is needed is dependent on the subject’s personality. It is one reason why I enjoy photographing horses: they usually make you put in some time to establish that trust. Anyway, I may not have processed this image if not for my seeing some of the horse’s curiosity in something off to the side, coupled with its calm alertness in the moment I clicked the shutter. That is what, for me, makes it one of my keepers. It is not a fantastic image or an epic image but it does show some of the horse’s personality and captures some of its essence. Vincent Versace has a quote that I love: “Emotionally full and technically imperfect trumps technically perfect and emotionally vacant every time.” That statement is true in my estimation and probably is true for most people who approach photography from the standpoint of artistic expression.