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Sometimes we take our images from a visceral unexplained, or at least without pre-capture thought, perspective / process. Let me try and be very clear ...
There is NOTHING WRONG with this !!!
For many, their best work comes in this manner. It may not occur to you as to what compelled you to click that shutter ... until well after you've captured it. That's perfectly fine, i.e. you don't always have to pre-think or over-think it ... but when you go to PRESENT it to your viewer ... that is when you should really know what your message is that you are trying to present / convey to your viewer.
Whether or not you had a fully developed point or message "pre-capture", or it developed en route is variable. Pre-capture is good stuff and can help you ... I just don't want to sound like every image has to be calculated in advance ... it doesn't. Also, the spontaneity of the visceral process is highly valuable as well.
God gave us both a right brain and a left brain, so that they might work in concert with one another. The visceral and the forethought do co-exist and co-join each other, where either one can lead or lag the other to produce good stuff. I strongly advocate the "What's the point?" or "What is the message that you want to convey to your viewer?" so that it can afford assistance in your strategies and decisions BOTH, pre-capture and post-capture.
I like hearing others opinions, seeing their renderings, etc. ... and they can be extremely helpful when I haven't decided a direction for taking a piece. But, when I know the "why", it helps me figure out the "what" and "where" relative to "who" the intended audience/viewer is (be that self, general public or otherwise) ... then it is only a matter of "how". But that's just me ... be sure to be true to yourself and what works for you.
Kent, I really like to read what you have to say about photography, as your opinions/ideas have been helping me to rethink (better yet: to organize) many aspects of my own photography.
I understand sometimes an image may simply be "a pleasing scene"; in fact, that is actually something I've been striving for from the beginning: to take "pretty pictures", to make images that appeal to people (well, to me at least ). In this regard, I've been trying to raise my own standards when reviewing pictures, so that I can quickly identify good compositions, hoping it will translate into an "automatic" ability I can use in the field, while taking pictures. I think it has been working great so far.
But that is just the composition part. It will draw people's attention to your image, but won't keep them there. The world is full of pretty pictures; google any theme and you'll find amazing images in less than a few seconds. This is a thought that has been haunting me for some time now, as I'm coming to a point where I want my photography to be something more than "yet another pretty picture that will soon be forgotten".
And I'm starting to feel that "messages" would be the next step in my personal quest. Of course I'll still be taking the pretty pictures, they are too abundant not to draw my attention, but I'll start to think about some messages I want to say, specific scenes I want to photograph to convey those messages, perhaps I'll even draw rough sketches of the images I wish I'd be able to capture to convey those messages. It's an exercise, my next step, lets see where it takes me!