Moods. We all have them. They are often dependent on our surroundings, temperament and if you’re anything like me, the last time you ate. Recently, colloquial language has made “a mood” into something that is deemed relatable by someone else. For example, this gallery about real-life wonder women is a mood. This story about ants decorating their homes with the heads of their enemies is a mood. Anyway, I’m getting off-topic but you get the idea.
Photographs have moods, too. A mood in a photograph can be created through light, emotion, post-processing, color vs. black and white, the character’s expression, the setting of the photograph or even the photographer’s own emotions while making the photograph. There is no formulaic way to create mood in a photograph, like with many other aspects of photography. Each component has its own role to play with the layers of story-telling come together in one frame. The play between light and shadows can reveal or hide details that could create mystery while having a sense of place can help us build a narrative about how we feel if we inside the photograph ourselves.
What I think is most important about creating a mood in a photograph is how the viewer is going to feel. The viewer might not always feel the photographer’s intentions either but, in my opinion, the goal with any artform is to elicit an emotional reaction. However, I’m privy to making photographs of scenes that guide my own mood, first and foremost. Now, that’s a mood.