SIMPLE TIPS FOR BETTER PHOTOS 6: KNOW YOURSELF – ARE YOU A LEFT- OR RIGHT-BRAINED PHOTOGRAPHER?

 

This is the sixth in a series of posts, aimed at novice photographers,  that discuss simple ways to enhance images.  The other five posts are here: ONE   TWO   THREE   FOUR   FIVE.   THREE might be the most worthwhile.

People are often characterised as being left- or right-brained, depending on their characters – put broadly, those dominated by the left side of their brain are logical, rational and strategic, while the right-brainers are curious about things, and creative and intuitive.  Wikipedia doesn’t agree with this characterisation, but let’s look at it – if for no other reason than it may help you to further know yourself as a photographer – and appreciating your photographic / visual traits more fully has to be a good thing.

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The stimulus for my considering this subject is an article in Amateur Photographer magazine (20 July 2013) by Ogden Chesnutt – a real name?  Who knows?  Whatever, he sees right-brained photographers as those thirsting for creativity, whereas left-brainers, while also enjoying visual beauty, get a bigger high from the science, technicalities and achievement involved in the capturing of a “beautiful moment”.

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Ogden thinks that left-brainers are drawn to the process, and value precision and accuracy.  They are looking to record moments in time asd they actually appeared to the observers’ eyes.  Whereas right-brainers see beauty in all things – all things can be beautiful, its just a question of how we see them.

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And he then makes an intriguing statement: “Neither (i.e. neither left- nor right-brained photographers) are wrong, but only right-brainers are right.”.  By which he means that the things that left-brainers consider worthy of photography are correct, but that left-brainers are missing out on all of those other things – everything in our surroundings – that right-brainers consider beautiful, i.e. worthy of photography too.

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Well, which am I?  Despite having spent my working life in science and analysis, which are certainly left-brained things, I’m definitely right-brained when it comes to photography, right in there with the Everything Can Be Beautiful Brigade.  And this is a contradiction that friends find strange – I recall one saying something like “If someone had shown me your photographs and asked me who I thought had taken them, you’d have been the last person I would have thought of.”.

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And so, which are you?  For example, which would you more like to photograph – the moment that an athlete wins a race (the picture of Roger Bannister becoming the first person to run a mile in under 4 minutes comes to mind), or a portrait of the same athlete sidelit by soft window light, possibly not wall-to-wall sharp, but gazing candidly into your lens?

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About Adrian Lewis
Photographer working in monochrome, colour and combinations of the two - with a great liking for all sorts of images, including Minimalism, landscapes, abstracts, soft colour, people, movement, nature - I like to be adventurous in my photography, trying new ideas and working in many genres. And I'm fond of Full English Breakfasts and Duvel golden ale, though not necessarily together.

11 Responses to SIMPLE TIPS FOR BETTER PHOTOS 6: KNOW YOURSELF – ARE YOU A LEFT- OR RIGHT-BRAINED PHOTOGRAPHER?

  1. Sonali Dalal says:

    I think I am right brained. i have always hated (and that is mildest I can go) science and anything related to it.:)

    Like

    • Adrian Lewis says:

      I bet you are right brained, in fact I’m sure you are – I only have to look at your photos. But I didn’t know about your profound distaste for all things science – how interesting! You wouldn’t have enjoyed the working life I led then! 🙂

      Like

  2. LensScaper says:

    Now that’s a topic and a half, Adrian. I’m struggling a bit to understand how this fits with other critical brain functions. 95% of Rt handed people have Lt Hemisphere dominance for language. Structurally the Lt hemisphere of the brain always controls motor function in the Rt side of the body and vice versa. So if your blood clot is in the Lt side of your brain, any weakness will affect Rt arm and leg and Rt side of face. And usually a patient with a Rt sided motor weakness is likely to suffer damage to their speech and language functions because of their Lt hemisphere dominance.
    So are we saying that the language centre (Lt brain) is closely associated with technical and logical functions, whereas Rt brain controls the more sensitive sides of our personality? In which case this could be backed up by the evidence of research into trauma to the Frontal areas of the brain, which is the area of the brain that controls personality, mood etc. In other words trauma to the Rt side of the frontal cortex would be expected to cause disproportionately more disruption to personality than damage to the Lt side. I’ve never researched that. Always dangerous when you get a doctor’s input – I was one in my previous life!!

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    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Hahaha!!! – Andy, I have not the slightest idea how this fits in with other critical brain functions and all the other points you mention – maybe the Wikipedia article is right and I’m wrong – seems a distinct possibility.

      And tomorrow I may post an image of a plant that I’m hazarding an identification of down to species level – and I bet I get shot down on that one too – twice in two days? >>> ouch!!!

      Thanks for your thoughts, my friend! Adrian

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      • LensScaper says:

        I hope I didn’t dazzle too much with science! I might look into Frontal lobe dysfunction and see what crops up! Meanwhile a botanical test looms! Help!

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        • Adrian Lewis says:

          Not dazzled so much as blinded 😀 !!! In another life I took people on safari in Kenya, and one of my clients was a real life brain surgeon, whose name was also Lewis. And emptying bottles and glasses as was his habit, he would solemnly intone “I’m not sure which I’d rather have, a frontal lobotomy or a bottle in front of me”.

          And the botanical test loometh, behold the Botanical Test … 😉 …

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  3. Hi, this is so interesting. I always thought my difficulties with the technical side of photography was a bit pathetic, but I’m most definitely a right brainer, always have been. The moment anyone talks to me in numbers my brain stops registering and turns the power off. It’s unfortunate, but what are you going to do?

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    • Adrian Lewis says:

      There’s probably nothing to be done – and also nothing that ought to be done, either – we are what we are, and each and every one of us is unique and special in our own ways. Its like trying to force a left-handed person to write right-handed – its unnatural, and just plain wrong, even to try.

      I guess I’m a mixture. On the one hand I glory in having right brain abilities, and I most certainly believe that absolutely anything can be beautiful if looked at in “the right” way. But I’ve also had this life of science, analysis, logic and numbers >>> but an interesting thing here is that maths was my worst subject at GCE level, I just scraped a grade 5 – whereas I got a 1 in English Literature! Two of us, cousins, appear to have inherited right brain traits from our grandmother. Thanks for your thoughts, Henrietta! Adrian

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  4. Emily Gooch says:

    Interesting info. Adrian. Without any doubt, I’m definitely right-brain photographer. I find shooting a snail crossing the road more intriguing than a Formula 1 race… 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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