It is a rare thing.
I’ve been photographing since I was just a kid. If my sensibilities were not formally schooled they have developed by trial and error over the years. I know, but I cannot explain, the difference between a very good photograph and a transcendent one except when I see it and compare. Transcendent photographs become icons, independent, recognizable, and sometimes even disassociated from their creators. They represent something greater than the thing photographed.
My personal best may set a much lower bar than other more well known artists, but I know it when I experience it. Once established, everything else must at least reach that level, or they fall. I think grasping one’s personal best is a way of giving thanks to our Creator. Don’t give me any atheistic chatter, I know there is a God, and I believe he smiles when we hit the top and we smile back at him.
For the photographer the transcendent photograph exhibits all the elements together in balance and support. If one element is missing the photograph falls apart. With all elements present the result is greater than the sum of its parts; that is, shadow, light, texture, color, content, and composition.
Here are some links to a few photographs I think are transcendent. Click, the links. They are safe. Study the images, and how things just fit together. Then think of the content. What did the image cause you to experience now? What did the image cause the viewers of it’s time to feel? Did you know the name of the photographer? I don’t know if some of the photographs have titles. Be aware that the photograph below, by Nick Ut, Napalm Girl, is very disturbing and it was shocking in 1972 when it was published:
There are many. I thought of those images, and photographs that changed the world. Mine probably will not, except maybe to give someone some visual nourishment.
So here ya go. My personal best, to date, in my opinion. I do not compare myself to the legends. Legends create icons daily.