Every time I see a fabulous picture that one of my friends would have taken, I think of this question (bear in mind when reading this that they are not professional photographers, nor is the discussion about the pros). Building on a personal belief that a photograph is a two-way production between the photographer and the object/place/subject/person/feeling etc. being captured, it makes me wonder how much does this 2D depiction tell me about that person? What roads does it take me through in their intimate mental area that I never would have traveled down unless in very rare relationships?
Sometimes, I have to admit it may be tricky and the grounds of the depiction are murky because of its dual nature mentioned above. Add to that the technological aspect of how sophisticated the camera is and then the nature becomes tripartite. For instance, a wonderful photo may turn out to be a matter of using the right camera in a rich setting at an appropriate time of the day/night. A bummer, huh?
Once that is put aside, and you think of the crude eye and mind that were taking the picture, a lot of amazing aspects about a person emerge. After all, what they focus on tells you about their interests, how they focus on it tells you the way they think about their interests. A fabulous photo at the end is one which tells you that much about them in a way you can interestingly and deeply identify with. And maybe, just maybe, a result of such a realization is to move together along a widened understanding of each other, traveling down your newly discovered "mutual" intimate areas.