Pretty in pink


Pretty in pink by aylmerqcPretty in pink, a photo by aylmerqc on Flickr.

I recently had supper with a couple of friends I hadn't seen for a very long time. Over the course of the meal, one of the two told me that she didn't "get" my pictures she had seen online. I asked her what she meant, but she just repeated that she didn't get them and didn't seem able to explain any further. I wasn't quite sure what to do with the comment and laughed it off.

The remark clearly stuck with me and I've thought a bit more about it. It seems to me that -- in the absence of a shared vocabulary or grammar -- that's about all we can do: say what we do or don't "get." I wasn't bothered that we had different taste in photography, but it was frustrating that we didn't have a common language to discuss our different tastes.

When I saw the elements of this scene, I knew immediately that I wanted to compose a picture. The idea wasn't fully formed, but I found the dress incongruous in its drab surroundings and wanted to highlight the relationship. Only later, when reviewing and processing the image, did I think more about meanings and choices.

And perhaps that's why we don't always "get" what others are doing. Our language skills are limited. Or we don't do the work needed for understanding. Or both.