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A creative blog on The Whole 9

The Photography Blog is written by members of The Whole 9 Creative Photography Circle. For a short “bio” on today’s contributor, scroll down to the bottom of the blog. Enjoy! – Mike Hayward, editor

Images That Make You Stop and . . .

While researching the whys and wherefores of image colorization in 50s commercial art, I came across the phollowing image on a Web site called “Inspiredology” -

(Photo cortesy: Nils Jorgensen, street photographer.

It was one of those images you run across and, in spite of your intellectual inertia, leaves startled skid marks across your cerebrum.  “Whoa!!!” your brain says. “What the HELL was THAT?!”

(Photo courtesy: Marcin Cecko, Kidults)

“WHOA! What’s going on HERE?!   Something’s really out of whack here . . . but what?”

(Photo courtesy: Joanna Justra, Sensual)

WHOA! Did I just fall head over heels in love with a pair of eyes? Who is she? Are  her eyes really that pearlized shade of blue?!?

Okay, you get the point.  Images that are so stunning  (“stunning,” at least, to most eyes)  that your brain hits the brakes and your mind screams  “Stop!  STOP!   GO BACK!!”

And, as Rod Serling used to say on The Twilight Zone,   “Submitted for your consideration…”   Take a moment or several to consider the images offered up as “Stunning examples of photography” on a Web site called “Inspiredology” (   Scroll down the page.  Use your cursor to click through the images that fascinate you the most to get to the Web sites where they originated.

Put your photographic brain in gear.   But remember to keep your foot on the brake pedal!

About the Author: MIKE HAYWARD is the editor of The Whole 9 Photography Blog and the Grand Poobah of  the Whole 9 Creative Photography Circle – where he invites Whole 9 photography members to join in and communicate and share images and ideas with other photographers of all kinds.  Mike’s semi-personal, semi-professional Web site can be found at .

  1. Very cool site! I particularly like the fact that the selected photos link to the photographer’s own sites with more images and info. Some I find more striking & memorable than others. Originality goes a long ways in my book, as does inspired composition and emotionally or intellectually charged images. Others have different things they respond to, sometimes with no more reflection than, “I like it, don’t know why.”

    Personally, I tend to like art for art’s sake more than most commercial work, although I recognize and respect the craft that goes into high level commercial photography. For me, so much commercial photography seems slick, derivative, manipulative, obvious and inauthentic; characteristics that strip an image of it’s power and emotional impact. Certainly there are exceptions, photographers like Annie Leibovitz, a quintessential commercial pro who also creates some of the most imaginative and original images out there. By the way, I don’t just indict commercial photographers. Many of the images we artists and non-professionals produce I’ve also seen a thousand times before; you know, all the sunsets, pretty flowers, well-framed trees and buildings, rainbows, snow-capped mountains with a lake in front (at sunset)… Not that I’m saying these simple pleasures can’t be art too, they just need to be handled much more carefully and perceptively if they’re to cut through the clutter.

    Which leads me to ask, what constitutes an exceptional image? Is it just in the eye of the beholder? If so, then the intrinsically subjective nature of exceptionality makes any judgement moot: The only measure of greatness is what grabs you personally and makes you say, “wow”. And If we accept that definition, then there really is no difference between greatness and mediocrity. Is that the bottom line? Perhaps. For me, I think that’s where critics come in; people with a depth of knowledge about the art, with a trained, experienced eye and possessed of the ability to respond to and analyze a piece of art on many levels, then articulately explain those thoughts and reactions. People often complain about critics, and often with good reason, but this is the invaluable service they render. We may agree, we may disagree but at least we’re provoked with their thought-out opinion. As for judgement, the accretion of popular and/or critical opinion then determines the quality of a work of art, at least for now and for those who care.

    For most of us, we will decide for ourselves by, as Michael says, “hitting the brakes and screaming, ’stop! go back!’” when we encounter an extraordinary, “stunning image”. Hopefully that happens a lot because I truly believe that if we wish to produce outstanding images, we must never lose our ability to be awed and electrified by an ‘outstanding’ image.

  2. Image Quality Levels (for reference only):

    Level 1. (Quasi-appreciative grunt)
    Level 2. (Mumbled “Congratulations” covered by a cough)
    Level 3. “Interesting…”
    Level 4. “This is very interesting. Did you shoot this yourself?”
    Level 5. “Very nice! Do you do any ‘fine art’ nudes?”
    Level 6. “Wow! Ever thought of becoming a professional photographer?
    Oh! You are? Do make a lot of money?”
    Level 7. “This is very good! How much for an eight-by-ten, framed?”
    Level 8. “Great image! How much for a twelve-by-sixteen print of this?”
    Level 9. “Outstanding! Can I get a sixteen-by-twenty print of this?”
    Level 10. “Exceptional image! Can I get a twenty-four-by-thirty canvas print
    of this? Autographed?”

  3. Ha ha ha ha ha… Very funny, Michael. lol

  4. Great looking around. I am still learning to like digitally altered work. Yes, the eyes have it in this one. I understand the commercial aspect but I loved altering the image in the dark room or thru the lens initially. I am learning and letting go a bit.
    Love the Score card.

  5. Thank you, C.K.
    It’s a whole new “darkroom” now – no more vinegary stop bath smell.

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