How watching “Psycho” and “Casablanca” will make you a better photographer.

It did me. Honestly. “Oh please Gene… try to explain your way out of this one.” Well…. the brilliance of “Hitch” transcends various creative genre. Did you ever see the… well… you know… the weapon doing the mayhem in well.. you know where? Nope. The reason is that the mind will fill in where the visual stops.

Keep typing Gene. In photography… less is more… just like in the movies!

If you take a photograph of someone’s weathered and dirty hands… do you have to show the elbows… or even his/her face to tell the viewer… heh… this person is a certain age and does a certain thing for a living or hobby? Nope. You have told the story by using a stronger…simpler… tighter graphic. And by doing so your photograph is more memorable and powerful. Hitch knew this.
And in Casablanca… wait a minute Geno… you are “cherry-pickin'”… some great classic movies to make a point! Yes… I am. Now… in Casablanca… just like Hitch… Michael Curtiz… visualized for me scenes that have made me … I believe, a better photographer.

Remember when Rick goes to get the money from the safe because someone had won” too much” money at the roulette table? And Rick is seen as a silhouette retrieving the money. Did you see Rick’s face? No. His hands? No. The money coming from the safe? Nope. But the mind filled it all in. A beautifully designed scene.


Now take a peek at the roof photo above. I know… it is not as dramatic as the movie examples but it does illustrate that you don’t have to show everything… to tell a story.The buildings are ancient… building codes were… let’s say… lacking. Simple structures… made of stone… in a small village. That is the story but it was told with a simple… well composed graphic. Not too tight… not too wide.

IMG_3005 copy

Here’s another example of… less is more.

Question: How much of an old French Renault in winter… do you have to show to say it is an old French Renault in winter?
Answer: Just enough.

When you are out shooting… try to exclude everything that doesn’t add to the story. And remember… the mind will fill in quite a bit… leaving you with a strong… simple… and hopefully a more dramatic photograph.

Now… rent a couple great movies… and learn from the masters. But don’t forget the popcorn.


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