This photo is very simple, not an especially well composed shot and really not that outstanding an image; however, it is one of my favorites from the New Orleans trip. Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron is leaning on the shoulder of one of the Alabama staff in the tunnel and they appear to be praying. It is a quiet moment only a couple of other people saw and one of them was a coworker who also shot the photo. I was standing outside the tunnel when I shot the photo.
If you read this blog very much you will find me encouraging you to look for things that happen around the edges of an event. I remember a shot by noted Life photographer George Silk from an Olympics he covered. George, by his own confession, didn’t much care for sports and he knew nothing about the Olympics. Instead of trying to bone up on the sports he was going to cover he decided to approach the Games like any photo assignment and simply try to make appealing photos. His favorite shot was of one of the German women athletes. She is kind of stretching but, honestly, it is more of a glamor shot than a sports shot. The girl actually finished near last in her event. He didn’t care. I don’t think he even shot a photo of the winner.
I am not quite ready to go that far but it is a good idea to shoot some stuff other than what goes on between the lines. I don’t claim to know AJ McCarron. I have no idea about his faith other than he has a small cross tattooed on his wrist. Still, the image goes beyond telling the story of the kind of quarterback he is and reaches into the realm of what kind of guy he is. That is significant to me and makes this photo, which in and of itself isn’t all that great, speak beyond its creative means.
Shooting a photo that communicates on more than one level is what we all wish we did all the time. If you think back to the compositional principle of layering and apply that visual technique to the psychology of your imagery you can see how valuable a photo is that can communicate on more than one level. When a photo has a couple of layers to it the viewer spends more time pulling it apart to gain understanding. You know, kind of like when Shrek tells Donkey that ogres are like onions; onions have layers and ogres have layers. Layers then, visual or psychological, make an image more interesting and effective.