Photography as Impression, Not Representation


“Essence of Spring”

© Sharon Brown Christopher

The photography with which we are most familiar is representational in nature. It is defined by its accuracy in depicting the scene, object, or person being photographed exactly as it represents itself. Photojournalists are but one example of those who practice representational photography.

Impressionistic photography, an emerging style of photographing, seeks to convey  the movement within the heart of the photographer- impressions, feelings, stirrings. Much like the impressionistic painters of the late nineteenth century, (Monet, Degas, Cezanne, Cassatt, et al.), the photographer uses her/his camera to paint with light and color to convey inner feeling or emotion, often adding movement to not only what we see in the photograph, but also to the method of creating an image.


“First Light”

© Sharon Brown Christopher

Recently I spent a week studying impressionistic photography and compositing images in Longwood Garden and Winterthur Gardens in the Philadelphia area with Charles Needle and Mark S. Johnson. I found it required of me a combination of technical know-how and dexterity, a scrutinizing eye,  a heart open to continuous kneading and cultivation, the courage to risk, and the discipline to practice.


“Sabbath Day”

© Sharon Brown Christopher

If you have any interest is learning about impressionistic photography, read Charles Needle’s book “Impressionistic Photography: A field Guide to Using Your Camera as a Paintbrush.” And check out Mark S. Johnson’s workbench Photoshop tutorials on his website Mark is an easy-to-understand, creative Photoshop guru.



© Sharon Brown Christopher

Contributed by Sharon Brown Christopher

1 thought on “Photography as Impression, Not Representation

  1. Hawkins, Pam


    Loved your post! I really love the pink tree image.

    Longwood Gardens is a very pretty place. I was there a few fears ago in the Fall. How was the workshop with Charles and Mark? I took a few Macro classes with Charles when he lived in Atlanta. Did you learning any new impressionistic techniques besides the multiple exposures?? If so, would love to hear about them!

    Hope you are doing well! I am doing a talk on iPhoneography Thursday night at the Brentwood Camera Club. Would love to see you!

    Warm Regards Pam

    Pam Hawkins Office 353-3414 C107E


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