Wheeler Imaging

Photography and Digital Imaging

San Rafael, California
© Richard Wheeler

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How are great photographs made?

I believe great photographs are not always created as much as they are found. The challenge of the photographer is to fix what one feels about a scene into a two dimensional image. Often it is a combination of luck, preparation, alertness and decisiveness that is at work. Cultivating these qualities is the photographer’s skill.

A great image will possess an intangible quality that draws a viewer back to it time after time. Such a photograph possesses a life of its own, changing subtedly yet constantly at each viewing, staying fresh as it ages. Photography, as I practice it, is a game of inches. A bit to far to the left, or the right, a little early, or late and it is gone. “It”, of course, is a mysterious quality, an intangible sense of discovery that arises from a great photograph the first time you see it. I like to call this quality “Life”. This remains as true for a contrived or designed image as it is for a found image. Does the picture have Life? Does it carry Life? That is the only test that matters.

The best photographs are made spontaneously, when the photographer mind is open totally to all stimuli. Look beyond what you see. What is beneath the surface? That is the story you are searching for and need to tell. Discover new ways of seeing that come from your imagination. Develop self-confidence in your instincts, and trust the creative process implicitly. Photography should be both an art and an adventure each time you go out with a camera.


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