When Photographs Tell a Different Story

Photography, as a powerful medium of expression and communications, offers an infinite variety of perception, interpretation and execution.

– Ansel Adams

This summer I’ve met a cute ginger kitty a few times in the street. He would meow and let me pat him. I believe he lives in a house nearby because he looked well fed, lovely and soft. He will be my muse for the photographs in this post.

We often read about how a picture captures a moment, it tells a story, it brings to life what the photographer is feeling or seeing through the lens. But is it always?

Nowadays, with so many photo editing tools that are available, all the photographs in the glossy magazines, or online magazines are clearly photoshopped.

For example in fashion and beauty, the models have skin and bodies that are too amazing. Cosmetic companies make photos where the skin is too perfect, the eyelashes are unbelievably long and the hair is so shiny and in place that, let’s face it, in real life they would look unreal. Hey, we all know this, but I once saw this TED talk by the model Cameron Russell which really makes a point about how photographs can really be made into what they not are.

We could also think about travel photography. Photos of places make us dream. Many places perhaps are like a dream, but other places were captured at a certain angle with a certain lighting and then edited to make the place oh so picture perfect. I myself create some amazing sceneries that look way more magical than in real life.

What about food photography? There are so many beautiful food photos out there that have so many props added to them and under the right lighting, that the food might not look so wonderful without all this set up. In my case for my blog, I don’t go as far out as to do all these things because this blog is just a hobby. Besides, I’m going to eat the food so I don’t want to spend too much time photographing it. Sometimes I have surprises. Sometimes in real life a dish looks quite ugly, then magically through the lens it is very photogenic. Or vice versa. Don’t worry, if it doesn’t taste great, I won’t publish it…

Even though I’m not a professional photographer so I’m unsure if you interpret in my photos what I want to transmit. I am guilty of editing my photos in an effort to improve the colours. I do not have photoshop installed in my computer, nor do I know how to use it. Some of you are probably gasping at my inexpertness. I simply have a blast editing the colours through iPhoto and, recently, the ones I put through Instagram.

Back to the cute ginger kitty. He was extremely friendly, though I don’t think I managed to capture that in the photo above nor in the next photo because he would move his head each time I pulled out the camera. Hey, I was just patting him for a few minutes, it’s not as if I were on a wildlife shoot stalking him continuously for five days.

Friendly ginger cat

The next photo, however, is the one I want to use to really make a point of how sometimes images are not what they seem. Hopefully it will also make you chuckle. In the next photo in black and white, no, we were not pinching the cat’s neck. The cat was not screaming in horror. The reality was that I captured the precise instant when the cat was yawning.

The Ginger Kitty

A small note to say that I know calling a cat he is incorrect English. However, I believe they have feelings and souls, which is why I don’t like calling them it.

Thank you for reading!

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  1. mysimpledelights 2014-08-23 at 20:41

    Aww I love everything about this post! What a great shot you have of kitty yawning hahaha!! I have a few of my cat yawning too and one actually looked as though he was laughing!😊💛

    1. Sofia 2014-08-26 at 14:56

      Its so funny when we get photos of the yawning, isn’t it? My mum and I have a few of her cat yawning and wow her mouth opens really wide! 🙂

      1. mysimpledelights 2014-08-28 at 12:36

        Haha yeah! You see all their teeth!! I’ve just sent you one of Squirrel via Instagram!😊

        1. Sofia 2014-08-28 at 12:37

          Teeth AND tongue sticking out 🙂 I’ll have a look!

  2. Bunny Eats Design 2014-08-23 at 20:54

    Of course animals have feelings and souls! I could never call an animal an “it”. Tofu the bunny certainly has a soul, as does your kitty neighbour.

    I love photographing food but keep food styling to a minimum because I just want to hurry up and eat. I sometimes read about food styling tips such as using inedible sprays, gums and oils. I really dislike that. I would never do that. Food photos should be photos of real food. Not inedible food-like substances.

    One thing I am guilty of is portion doctoring. A slightly smaller plate of food looks more photogenic, so after I photograph the food, I might add some more to the portion before eating. Maybe this just means we eat too much!

    1. Sofia 2014-08-26 at 15:00

      Oh of course Tofu has a soul!!!
      Haha me too, I keep the food styling to a minimum so I can eat asap 🙂 I completely agree that I don’t like the sprays etc because I also think the food should look just like how it would when you’ve cooked it and will eat it.
      Great tip, thank you, I will put it in practice!!! First I’ll have a good look at your photos to examine the technique 😉 xx

  3. Sunny 2014-08-23 at 21:21

    Aww what a cute kitty! Of course it’s a he. I’d never call a cat/dog it (even if I risk saying it wrong. For example, in the beginning I was so sure Lilly the nosy neighbor was a he!)!

    1. Sofia 2014-08-26 at 15:01

      Yes, even if I risk calling him or her wrong, its better than it!

  4. pianolearner 2014-08-23 at 23:22

    Crikey I really thought the cat was about to attack you!

    I really hate to see the airbrushed people, they look fake, and I don’t think it is healthy for society.

    As for food and travel type ones, more often it’s less about photoshop and just playing about with the colours and tones in ‘Adobe Lightroom’. I don’t see this as anything bad. This is just giving the ‘processing’ of the image to the photographer instead of the photo lab. It’s no different to when photographers used to develop their own film and make their own choices. Also you have to remember that every camera captures a scene differently, and how they do this is dependent on the choices the manufacturer’s software people decided. With post-production, you get to reverse/revise those choices to what you want instead of what they think you wanted.

    1. Sofia 2014-08-26 at 21:38

      I hate seeing airbrushed people too, they look like aliens and I totally agree that it can’t be healthy for society.
      I don’t think that playing around with the colours is bad (I love doing it). Also, yes you’re right, each camera captures scenes in a different way.

  5. oppie83 2014-08-24 at 01:37

    oh my god that red tabby looks almost identical like my red kitty !! :0

    1. Sofia 2014-08-26 at 21:38

      You must have a cute and friendly kitty then 🙂

  6. Johnnysenough Hepburn 2014-08-24 at 03:39

    We always use he or she when talking about pets (as long as we’re sure about their gender). It would be considered very impersonal to use, it! And I love the differences in the photos. Hah, photos never lie. Who on earth coined/conned that one?!

    1. Sofia 2014-08-26 at 21:40

      Haha photos do lie, the cat was yawning 🙂

  7. Liz 2014-08-24 at 06:13

    sweet! We have a ginger tabby (bigger and fluffier than the one you saw) and no doubt cats (and dogs) have feelings and souls.Can’t imagine it being otherwise.

    And really appreciate your thoughts on food photography. I, too, don’t waste overmuch time with pictures for my blog. I edit when needed (with my limited skill) and publish. To me, the writing is most important, though we all have our own reasons for being here. Always enjoy your messages 🙂

    1. Sofia 2014-08-26 at 21:42

      ooohh I’d love to meet your cat 🙂
      I agree, I edit when needed. Ok, I also think about if the lighting is good or not before I make photos, otherwise I don’t bother trying. I enjoy you messages too Liz 🙂 If it weren’t for the writing and writing with other lovely bloggers like you, I would have stopped ages ago!

  8. Mabel Kwong 2014-08-24 at 07:41

    I am a dog person but I thought the ginger cat looks lovely. Nice to hear that it’s friendly too. It did look like it enjoyed your affection 😀 You are right: with so many editing softwares and apps these days it’s so easy to makes photos what they are not. You can either call it deceptive, or a work of art. Each photo tells a story…either a real one or a make believe one. I always enjoy looking at your photos, Sofia. Very well captured and touched up 🙂

    1. Sofia 2014-08-26 at 21:46

      Oh thanks Mabel, I’m glad because I enjoy making the photos!. I’m both a dog and cat person 🙂 My parents have always had both before (though now they only have a cat), and the cats and dogs always got along well. 🙂

  9. Sheri 2014-08-24 at 12:25

    So cute! I love cats. The yawn capture was perfect haha!

    1. Sofia 2014-08-26 at 21:47

      Thanks Sheri, the yawn capture was fun 🙂

    1. Sofia 2014-08-24 at 17:12

      Thank! By the way I’m glad you found me on Instagram as your photos are fabulous 🙂

  10. Guillermina Stover 2014-08-25 at 04:43

    Interesting comment about cats and souls. The word “animal” comes from the Latin “animas” which means…soul! So there! Animals DO have souls…

    1. Sofia 2014-08-26 at 21:52

      Fantastic Guillermina, so there! That is proof then 🙂

  11. Dalo 2013 2014-08-26 at 04:36

    Great post and photos…how what a perfect series of shots to show how easy it is to manipulate 🙂 That last photo is great, it looks as if it is roaring & angry. You really could have written a pretty good story to go along with the last photo. Cheers.

    1. Sofia 2014-08-26 at 21:57

      The last photo was loads of fun when I saw it (right after the click) and realised it didn’t look anything like what was really going on 🙂 Cheers!

  12. Petra 2014-08-26 at 18:06

    Hello Sofia,

    thank you for this post and your thoughts. What a nice muse you have. I love your photos of this kitty. And of course animals do have souls.
    Greetings from Germany,

    1. Sofia 2014-08-26 at 21:59

      Hi Petra! I’m glad to find so many people that agree animals have souls 🙂 Wow I just popped over to your blog, what amazing photos!


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