Thursday, February 4, 2010

The purpose of Photography

Photography is picture language, the newest version of the oldest form of graphic communication. Unlike the spoken or written word, it is a form of communication that can be internationally understood. This, it seems to me, gives a photograph added meaning-and a photographer added responsibility. Since photographs can be so widely understood we should be concerned with whether what we have to say is worth saying, and whether we can say it well.

The essential purpose of photography is communication. Few people take pictures solely to please themselves. Most of us take them because we want them seen by others. We wish or are compelled to inform, educate, entertain, reform, or share some experienced with others. Pictures are a photographer's means of expression as a writer's means are words. And as a writer must choose a major field of work -journalism, creative writing, biography, advertising, etc. So a photographer must choose a specific field, each field having a specific purpose. Some of these purpose are:

Documentary photographs as well as the majority of photographs found in picture magazines, newspaper, manuals, scientific publications, and pictures used for visual education belong to this category. Their purpose is either to educate people or to enable them to make correct decisions.

Slanted information.
This is the province of commercial and advertising photography and political propaganda. The purpose of such pictures is to make the subject glamorous and more desirable. The goal is the selling of a product, a service, or an idea.

Because the camera is in many respects superior to the eye, it can be used to make discoveries in the realm of vision. This is the field of research and scientific photography, close-up and telephotography, ultra-wide-angle and high speed photography, abstract photography and photograms. The purpose of such pictures is to open new fields of exploration, to widen man's visual and intellectual horizons, and to enrich his life.

Photography provides the simplest and cheapest means for preserving facts in picture form. Catalogue pictures, reproductions of works of art, microfilming of document and books, identification pictures, and certain kinds of documentary photographs, fall into this category. Used for recording purposes, photography preserves knowledge and facts in easily accesible form suitable for widest dissemination and utilization.

Photography provides an endless source of entertainment and pleasure: motion picture, amateur photographs, travel pictures, fine picture books and photographic annuals, pin-up photographs, photographic feature stories in picture magazines, etc.

An increasing number of talented, creative people find in photography a relatively inexpensive means for self-expression. Almost any subject can be photographed in an almost unlimited number of different ways, and more and more photographers seek new and more expressive forms of photographic rendition through which to share with others their own visions of the world, their feelings, ideas, and thoughts.

These six category form the main body of modern photography. Although, of course, overlappings and duplications exist, for practical purpose they can be combined in the following groups.

No comments:

Post a Comment