Why is Photography so good    

Story at the Seawall

A story at the sea wall.

%22I rode my bicycle pat your window last night%22

” I rode my bicycle past your window last night”

%22I was thinking to myself, this could be heaven or this could be hell%22

“I was thinking this could be heaven or it could be hell”

 

Some time ago I wrote a column titled, “What is a good photograph?” At that time I said, “A good photograph is one that makes us have a connection with, or think about, the subject…it could help us understand what the photographer feels about that subject; and can, if successful, evoke some kind of mood, whether good or bad.”

While having coffee with some friends this week one raised the thought, “Just what is good photography?” He wasn’t referring to the nuts and bolts of the technology, but what is it about photography that makes it a good medium to so many.

I like the statement made by famous scenic photographer Ansel Adams said, “Photography, as a medium of expression and communications, offers an infinite variety of perception, interpretation and execution.” Simply put, I think it is all about making a picture of something and visually explaining that to others. The creative medium of photography is much different than other artistic endeavours.

Another celebrity in the world of photography, Edward Steichen said, “ Every other artist begins with a blank canvas, a piece of paper… the photographer begins with the finished product.” (For readers’ information, Steichen was married to the famous southwestern painter, Georgia O’Keefe.) I am sure he believed creative art is something attained because of the artist, not the medium.

I’ll expand my friend’s thought with the question, what is photography? Internationally known photographer, Elliott Erwitt wrote, “ To me, photography is an art of observance. It’s about something interesting in an ordinary place…I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.”

I am always interested in talking to photographers about what they were trying to do (or say) when they took a picture. Any two photographers in the same location will provide two very different interpretations.

Sometimes we look at a photographer’s work and realize there is more to the image than just what we saw at first glance. It is as if the photographer is challenging us to catch a glimpse of something deeper in meaning. Speaking to that, controversial photographer Diane Arbus exclaimed, “A photograph is a secret about a secret. The more it tells you the less you know.”

That is certainly my impression of some photographs I look at. The photographer might just say, “Oh, I just saw it and pushed the shutter”, but if pressed I usually get a lot more about what he or she was feeling when they pushed the shutter.

Another great quote by the innovative Duane Michals wrote “Photography deals exquisitely with appearances, but nothing is what it appears to be.”

Recently I looked at a photograph made by a friend in an old abandoned house. The view was at floor level with decaying furniture and windblown leaves looming in the foreground. At first the low angle was inviting with light coming in from uncovered windows. Then I noticed not so focused stuff like toys, and a bookshelf with books in the background, and a textured story of more than just a simple picture through an open door emerged.

 

Photography has become more popular than ever before, and the ease with which modern technology makes holding a camera, releasing the shutter, and making a sharp, colourful picture is also easier than ever before, and I look forward to every new aspect of this exciting medium that develops, and I enjoy getting into these types of philosophical moods regularly; I like all things photographic and enjoy the opportunity to discuss photographers, photographs, and what photography as a medium is to photographers.

 

I am sure most of the allure of photography is how one can capture a moment of a subject’s time and show that moment to others. And what makes it such a good medium might be as Ansel Adams who said, “My last word is that it all depends on what you visualize.”

 

 

 

 

 

Why You Should Be A Photographer

Accessory   Linda Photographer

picking the view

getting the shot

shooting Field patterns

I recently received an email from a friend that included a fun article titled, “54 Reasons Why You Should Be a Photographer.”

The author, Lauren Lim, began with, “Being a photographer is seriously awesome.” And continues, “I’ve compiled 54 really fantastic (reasons)…After you read all these reasons you’ll probably be even more inspired by this medium, and be itching to get out and shoot more.”     Reading that introduction intrigued me and, of course, I agreed with him when he wrote, “I think everyone should get into photography. You don’t ever have to do it professionally. That’s not what being a photographer means. Being a photographer just means you really love photography.”

The list of “54 reasons why you should be a photographer” didn’t really include 54 different reasons; it was pretty much made up of the same reason written over and over in different ways. However, I did select seven that I really liked and I think they are prefect as to why anyone should practice the art of photography.

1. “Capture a memory that you can have forever.”

2. “See the beauty (I’ll add the words, through you lens) every day.”

3. “It’s a creative outlet.”

4. “Share your perspective.”

5. “Express yourself.”

6. “Tell a story”

7. “Can make other people think.”

The exciting medium of photography began with inventors like Joseph Nicephore Niepce, when he succeeded in creating the first permanent image. Louis Daguerre with the “Daguerreotype” and Henry Fox Talbot’s “Calotype” that were instrumental in helping us with the first of that list, ““Capture a memory that you can have forever.”

There were the pioneers of photography like Ansel Adams, Galen Rowell and Eliot Porter that showed use how a photograph would help us, “See the beauty everyday.”

Jerry Uelsman, Duane Michals, Edward Seichen and Man Ray were among the first to split with traditional photographers and might even have said, “It’s a creative outlet.”

When I read the words, “Express yourself.” I immediately thought of the photography of Robert Mapplethorpe and Annie Leibovitz.

The last two about how photography can, “Tell a story.” and “Can make other people think.” Absolutely had me thinking about the wartime photography of Robert Mapplethorpe and Annie Leibovitz. and street photographer, Weegee.

I only mentioned those photographers that had a hand in the beginnings of photography and started us all thinking of the things we all might add to that list. And I am sure without hesitation readers can add pages of modern photographer’s names.

If you feel the urge, be sure to let me know if you have additions to “Why you should be a photographer”.

As for me I’ll just be content with Lim’s words, “Being a photographer is seriously awesome.” And “Being a photographer just means you really love photography.”

My website is at www.enmanscamera.com