Photoessay: Ambiguity, part I

GX85_1000532 copy

I make no claims to have any idea what any of these people are doing – and judging from how some of them look in certain locations, I suspect neither do they themselves. But that’s okay, because it makes for the kind of open-ended storytelling photography that allows us to fit our own narrative to things, and thus manage to satisfy a wider variety of audience expectations. In my previous work of this kind, I’ve always tried to provide some sort of serving suggestion for the narrative; in these sets, I’ve deliberately stayed away from that as far as possible and focused on curation for the sake of visual entertainment only. Shadows, textures, patterns, dynamism and implied flow…but no immediate narrative. Because honestly, why not? MT

This series was shot with a mixed bag of hardware over some period of time and multiple locations, but predominantly the Nikon Z7, mostly the 24-70/4 S and my custom SOOC JPEG profiles.

_Z733527 copy

_Z732733 copy

_Z706884 copy

_Z706941 copy

_Z735266 copy

_Z738913 copy

_Z734740 copy

_Z735073 copy

_PF04170 copy

_Z735335 copy

_3503895 copy

_Z735347 copy

100D_MG_3207 copy

_Z735454 copy

_Z714550 copy

GX85_1000725 copy

_Z702463 copy


Prints from this series are available on request.


Visit the Teaching Store to up your photographic game – including workshop videos, and the individual Email School of Photography. You can also support the site by purchasing from B&H and Amazon – thanks!

We are also on Facebook and there is a curated reader Flickr pool.

Images and content copyright Ming Thein | 2012 onwards unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved


  1. You do more with reflections and shadows than any other photographer I follow. These are excellent shots, dreamy almost. And very artistic!

  2. jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    I quite agree – if you provide the narrative, it spoils the fun – puts blinkers on the viewer, constrains the viewer to approach the image through your interpretation, instead of being able to explore the image with a completely open mind. Who knows? – maybe the viewer will react with a completely different interpretation and provide you with a narrative that had escaped you entirely!

    Something similar frequently attacks me while I am post processing images I have taken.

Thoughts? Leave a comment here and I'll get back to you.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: