2017-01-05T00:27:43-05:00

IMPRESSIONS — FINDING TRUTH BEYOND THE FACTS

The following images comprised my “Impressions” exhibit, and the statement below accompanied them. 

AS A PHOTOJOURNALIST, I WAS TRAINED TO SEE DETAIL AND GATHER INFORMATION AND TO KEEP MY FEELINGS, OPINIONS AND IMPRESSIONS OUT OF IT. YOU KNOW—BE THE ULTIMATE OBJECTIVE OBSERVER.

But after decades of working around the world, and now as a professor to the generation of visual storytellers coming after me, I’ve come to question that impossibly rigid directive. Yes, I do my research, I make sure to understand the facts and hard data before arriving, and I think about how to convey that information visually. But it’s important that we not confuse providing information with communication. A phone book objectively documents millions of accurate, verifiable, useful facts—but it doesn’t communicate. It doesn’t tell a story. It doesn’t move people.

When I come upon a scene or meet someone, what I see makes an impression not just on my intellect, but on my heart. The reality is, we don’t just see facts, we sense them too. And the unquantifiables in a situation are often just as much a part of the truth. In fact, it’s pretty easy to miss most of what we see, but we do remember the essence of a thing. And that’s where the story really is—and where the power of photography lies.

So, to get to the whole truth of a matter, I must move beyond C-SPAN photography (she wore a gray suit, the room was empty, he read from his notes) to provide a depth that transcends facts and conveys the intrinsic nature of a person’s character or the mood of a situation. A portrait that merely tells us a man has blue eyes is not nearly as valuable—nor complete—as a portrait that says the blued-eyed man is happy or enraged, confident or scared. Those are the truths we respond to emotionally, and we tend to remember them longer than the facts. So as I merge the facts in my mind with impressions formed on my soul, I release the shutter to freeze a very particular moment in time. The resulting image is a two-dimensional, finite and digestible representation of what I saw and what I felt—an impression of the truth captured in a fraction of a second. And that impression joins the myriad other relevant impressions we’ve amassed to help form our opinions and attitudes—the very things that cause us to act. That is powerful.

It is a few of these impressions that I now pass on to you.

If you are interested in showing “Impressions,” give me a call at 315.200.7555 or send me an email at bruce@brucestrong.com.

02- IMPRESSIONS - A

03- IMPRESSIONS - V

Malawi

05- IMPRESSIONS - G

Armenia: Old Country, New Republic

Philippines

08- IMPRESSIONS - M

Caption:Minnie Street, Santa Ana. Photo by Bruce C. Strong

10- IMPRESSIONS - T

Armenia: Old Country, New Republic

12- IMPRESSIONS - S

Armenia: Old Country, New Republic

14- IMPRESSIONS - V

15- IMPRESSIONS - C

02- IMPRESSIONS - U

17- IMPRESSIONS - R

Armenia: Old Country, New Republic

19- IMPRESSIONS - S

Armenia: Old Country, New Republic

Malawi

22- IMPRESSIONS - N

23- IMPRESSIONS - U

24- IMPRESSIONS - AL

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