A great setting, an excellent subject and a perfect exposure does great wonders to render a great photograph. However, in the end, there is going to be one element that does the best job to capture the hearts of those viewing the photograph: Capturing a moment. On a personal account, a moment is simply something that you would like to be remembered. But as an artist, those moments should translate well to your audience. Sometimes you can do both at once. Which is why I would like to share with you a photograph by Glen Grover documenting a moment from a mountain treks with his daughter, Emma.
Glen tells me that the photo is part of a series of photographs that are intended to document his time with his daughter in the mountains. This photo was taken on the descent from McClure Rock at Mt. Rainier. Emma appears to be connected with the world through her phone, but I’m sure the day was not lost on her. One cannot take such a trek lightly. Besides…these days, it’s safe to assume she’s just checking a map of some sort.
We’re drawn into the photo simply because of the scenery and the quality of the light. The sky is big and impressive, the sharp mountain peaks off in the distance are inspiring and the light is, frankly, incredible. The highlights on her jacket and the snow-capped mountains in the back is a harsh contrast to the areas in shadow. But the root of this photograph is essentially a moment captured in candid. I don’t believe Emma is aware of her father’s lens aimed at her. While she checks on her status, Glen took a brief second to preserve this moment forever. He has his reasons, I’m sure. His daughter is getting older and days like this are going to be fewer and farther in between. But what inspires me is how this translates to any father. My daughter is only four herself, and I’m not sure I’ll be dragging her out to Mt. Rainier at any point in our lives. But I do appreciate a moment for what it’s worth. And I do realize that some moments are more precious than others.
Consider the fact that this scene is possibly one that only a handful of people reading this article will ever see. And those who have seen such a scene would certainly want to remember it. Remove Emma from the photograph and that’s a scene that any photographer or nature lover would want to capture. To experience such a view – to be in that place at any moment and see what Glen has seen – is truly inspiring. Now imagine if you had someone to share it with. It is for this reason that you want to get your companions in the shot. You want to remember being there, but most of all you want to remember being there with that person. But the photographer side of Glen didn’t want a posed shot. He wanted the natural demeanor of his daughter to show through in the photograph. A candid works best for that. Sure, maybe Emma wasn’t too happy to have her photo captured at this moment. But she will appreciate it one day. I know Glen appreciates it now.
As do those who view this photograph as well: This moment tells a simple story. I don’t know Glen, I don’t know Emma and I’ve never been to Mount Rainier or McClure Rock. But there is a connection between the photograph and the viewer. For some, it’s the scenery and the light and the gradient across the sky. Others may be able to share Glen’s sentiment, even in an abstract way. I have never been to Mt. Rainier, but I do know what it’s like to have been part of such a trek. But anyone fond of the outdoors or companionship would have appreciation for the photograph.
Glen Grover is a talented photographer with a portfolio full of captured moments. If this particular photograph didn’t connect with you, I guarantee that you’ll find one in his photostream that does. His style is inspired by photojournalism, but he’s clearly inspired by other styles as well. Glen uses some unconventional angles, high-contrast formatting and bold colors. His portfolio is bold and inspiring.
[Editors Note: This article was originally published on February 26, 2013.]