Seeing & Looking
"How did you make it?" is always an intriguing question to ask a photographer, because it gives permission to tell a story. When we ask "Where did you take it," that question takes us away from the photograph itself.
Asking "When did you take it" also ignores the picture subject matter, and is a prime example of a meta question. Questioning when and where puts the discussion into categories. The questioner wants to shift to their own associations and their own life experience right away.
Asking "What aperture, what shutter, what camera, how long it took" the photograph itself is again ignored. These are meta qualities. They have nothing to do with what the photograph might mean.
So, to tap into meaning, a vital interactive question we viewers can pose is: "Can you tell me the story about this photograph?" We could also just keep silent, and look, and look longer, and again, at the photograph itself.
Photos and Writings by Jim Austin Jimages