The Also-Rans: Getting Ready for the Photo-Heart Connection

As we approach the first Photo-Heart Connection link up tomorrow, I’ve been getting ready. I’ve been going through my photos from the month, looking for the one I feel the strongest heart connection. I thought I would share my process with you today, as prep for the link up that opens tomorrow.

When we get down to it, what is a photo-heart connection? A heart connection is, for me, a reaction that bypasses my brain. It’s not about what I think of the image, or how technically good it is. It is not about how others will react to it. It is how the image makes me feel. When I have a heart connection, I feel it in my body. There is a little jolt, that tells me of a strong connection. Have you ever noticed how we feel emotions in our body first? Even though we will have thoughts that accompany emotions, they arrive split seconds later. I want to tap into the signals from my body, before my brain starts to filter, and then explore what I find through this process.

Here’s how I prepped to find my photo-heart connection this month:

  • Throughout the month, I saved a low-res copy of the files I worked with into a specific folder. This way, I had all of my January photos in one place to start the process. I didn’t save every picture I took in January here, just the strongest ones. The ones I cared enough to share on my blog. I will always want to share photos with a heart connection. I also included images from my archive I worked with this month. I don’t care what year they are from, I want to learn by this process without putting too many rules on it.
  • I found a time with no distractions to start the process of review. It is important to be focused and without distractions – if you hurry through this process with limited time, or have interruptions, you are not going to be able to notice the reactions in your body that tell you of the heart connection.
  • There were 44 photos in my file for the month, and I went through and viewed the photos one by one. I noticed my reaction for each. It was pretty clear in this first round, which were at the bottom with no reaction and which I felt something for. From this, I created sub-file with the one I felt any sort of reaction. I was down to ~12 photos.
  • The next round was a little harder. I had to spend more time noticing how I felt in my body with that image, what emotions came through. Even though I cycled through the images several times, this round still wasn’t too hard. I got it down to a final four photos that created the strongest heart connection for me.
  • Finally, I went through the final four very slowly. I let each one sit on the screen, alone, for a while. I first noticed how I felt, then I asked myself what this image was telling me. This was where I let my brain come into the process a bit more, I wanted to understand why the heart connection was there. As I did this, I noticed that there were two that felt stronger to me. As I slowly considered both, it became clear to me which image was my top photo-heart connection for January.

I thought I would share the 3 runner-up images of my top 4 today along with the process. These images are from different times, of very different subjects, evoking different responses within me. Two were taken this month and one in June 2011, so it’s clear that time of capture is not a factor here. The message I read from the heart connection with each was very different. All of these are great images, some of my recent favorites in fact, but they weren’t my strongest heart connection.

I wanted to share these today to remind you it’s not the strength of the image, in purely aesthetic terms, that matters in this process. It’s the not the date of capture, it’s not the composition, it’s not technical perfection. It’s the strength of the heart connection. It’s what you can learn about yourself, through the photos that speak to you.

I was surprised with the photo that had the strongest photo-heart connection for me this month. I can’t wait to share the image with you, and what I learned from it, tomorrow.

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  1. says

    Hi Kat-
    If these are the “runner ups” I too am eager to see what you’ll have tomorrow.
    That black and white of your son is my fave of these 3. I like what happens when the heart grabs at an image-they always seem to transfer the most to others. I used to sing in a chorus. Before the concert the director would say…”have fun, connect with the music, sing for yourself and by doing so you’ll bring others along with you”…I’m paraphrasing, but it’s the same with images I believe. I’m eager to see what others have been drawn to-and eager to see your image as well.

  2. says

    Kat – thanks so much for sharing your selection process. It does help to have a walk-thru of what the “photo-heart” connection means to you. Like you, I was a little surprised by which photo I chose – not my most creative or technically best – but the one that kept whispering to me – pick me! I look forward to seeing what connections are made this week as we begin the first series.

  3. kirstin says

    This is so very interesting to read, Kat. I have to admit I don’t really look at the technical side of my pictures at all….reading your post made me realise that I am all about the way that a picture makes me feel. I guess the technical stuff just follows behind, or maybe not! Maybe I should start thinking about that side a little more, eh?

    • Kat says

      Kirstin, I think you should stick with the feeling and only do the technical if you feel you need to. Your images have such great emotion – don’t trade that for technical, ever!