Tonight I watched La La Land, and I loved it. I loved the cinematography. I loved the choreography, the design, the sheer timelessness of it. Most of all I loved the sheer, unabashed whimsy of it.
It is a film about hope, love and dreams. And is beautifully filmed, beautifully made and Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling make it so much more than the sum of its parts.
Is there a point to this post, other than the my love of this film? Yes, I think so. No matter the theme, the style and subject, I believe there always needs to be a certain whimsy to our art, a breathless, brave and carefree honesty that should shine a light onto the story being told, whether in words, paint or photograph. A photograph is not just about the technique, the exquisite perfect representation of defined rules and distilled wisdom. A photograph should be a poem of light, resonating, evoking emotion and connection, implying a depth beyond the borders of the image, beyond the light and shadow, beyond the subject matter into the very stories that lie unearthed within us.
The very best photographs do that. They arrest us, hold us captive whilst they unfold all the complicated recognitions, stories and emotions. Being caught in the moment is not about the photograph, but about the viewer of the photograph.
Stories lie in whimsy, in the fanciful and the playful. And photographers should always try to tell a story, even if it isn't the one the viewer eventually sees.