Perhaps the most difficult thing with photography is imagination. Now imagination can take many forms with photography. From imagining a scene in ones mind and then waiting for the conditions to prevail or be created either by the photographer or by others. Is it difficult, well that may depend on what factors will influence your imagination. One way is to describe to yourself how one would like the scene to appear: For instance I want a photo of a soft creamy waterfall, with dark foliage and just a few rocks. However when confronted by the waterfall it is full of dappled shade, bright sunlit leaves and a small trickle. This is where the photographer must have patience and no time constraints. If these factors are not present then the imagination may be brilliant but other factors stop the production. However with time and patience the sun will shift, light will change and then if one is ready then perhaps what was imagined will appear, ready to be captured.
Other forms of imagination can be just as useful. For instance I have photographed a number of burnt matches, with some of these being deliberately setup to convey an emotion or scene.
Here are two examples of created photographs.
The first one is meant to depict a small patrol of soldiers worn down by the experience of war in the jungles of New Guinea and is called the Kokoda Trail. It was all constructed and photographed with just a small amount of light through a window. However the entire scene is just my imagination, crudely constructed in my shed, roughly a half an hours work to get this shot. The real effort is in imaging the scene first.
In this second piece I was imagining an actor on stage, and originally had many other matches as the crowd in front. However during photographing the scene I decided to just concentrate the central character as when the matches burn down they twist to many different shapes and offer plenty of potential for an interesting character to develop. This one caught my attention because it is possible to image either an actor portraying a depressed character or a sad person standing in a pool of street-light.
So to sum it all up imagination is important for photography perhaps even vital for without imagination one may not see in ones mind the scene they want to create. Whether it is a landscape, street, portrait or other creation such as above the photographer must be able to imagine the final product. It is then up to the photographer to set about creating the product, through artificial light, time of day or by creating something such as above.
It is this process that turns photography from snaps to art.