That first millisecond. And maybe the second one.

Think about the first instant, the very millisecond when you first see a photograph. What’s your response? How do you see an image in that moment? The experience in that instant is mostly a matter of recognizing shapes and colors and connecting with faces and eyes or familiar or unfamiliar elements.

If there is clarity of thought and expression in the photograph – if the image was crafted carefully – you should start where the photographer wanted you to start and then go to the next point and the next and the next, with an overall feeling from the photograph that comes not from the substance of the image but rather from the way in which it was made.

And ideally, with each passing millisecond that you stay with the photograph, there is value and reward and experience, more to be seen and felt and understood.

Now stand on the other side of the making of your photograph and consider how people will come to the one you are about to make. What will you give them?

Two Pictures: Trent Nelson

Two Pictures: Laura Morton