Photography, Photograph & Implications - Lecture 2

Photography, Photograph and Implications

Photography is the science, art and practice of creating durable images by recording light or other electromagnetic radiation, either chemically by means of a light-sensitive material such as photographic film, or electronically by means of an image sensor. Photography literally means ‘drawing with light’ or ‘writing with light or ‘light writing’. The word ‘photography’ is made of two words - ‘photo’ means ‘light’ and ‘graphy’ stands for ‘graphic’ which means writing or drawing. So once man learnt to capture an image with the help of a camera, the process started being called photography.
Photography is therefore all around us. We see numerous photographic images every day, many of which advertise products, services, lifestyles and ideologies. Photography is employed in many fields of science, manufacturing (e.g. photolithography) and business, as well as for art, recreational purposes, and mass communication.
Photography is a well-established medium for preserving family and cultural histories as well. We all like to see photographs of friends, family, relatives, celebrities etc. But this was not possible for a long time and it was left to the artists to draw our images and even then the pictures were never exactly the same? This was also a very tiring and time consuming process and not everyone could afford it. Only kings and other important people got their pictures made by artists. Just imagine what excitement photography must have caused when it was invented. People could now see an exact copy of a scene or of a person in front of them.
From such times to now photography has come a long way. It is both a recreation as well as a profession. We are used to seeing photos being taken all around us.
Ansel Adams, once said, "A great photograph is one that fully expresses what one feels, in the deepest sense, about what is being photographed."
Photographs are amazing. Through photographs, we preserve history - our child's first steps, a decaying landscape, or rare and endangered animals. We use photographs to recall the first steps on the moon, the inauguration of a new president, the lifting of a flag on a far-away hill during war. Photographs evoke the essence of places we have not been, we perhaps will not return to, and should never forget.
A photograph is a result of the photographer’s decision that it is worth recording that this particular event or this particular object has been seen. If everything that existed were continually being photographed, every photograph would become meaningless. A photograph is already a message about the event it records.
Photographs "become" through making choices, and great photographs become through making right choices. Right choices are the direct result of the knowledge of the photographer. Superior photographs come from photographers who know how his or her camera functions. A skilled photographer takes the time to read the manual and familiarize with everything that camera will do.
We can always see photographs around us. Like Behind the bus, on the sign boards, on the walls, in newspapers, magazines and pamphlets. Photos in newspapers and magazines inform us about an event or an incident. You must have seen photographs of Uttarakhand disaster, tsunami in newspapers. These days’ pictures are as important to news as the written or printed word. In fact in a country like ours where still many people cannot read or write, photos have a greater use and a greater impact. Photographs are seen along with the written news in magazines and newspapers and they add to the impact of the news and convince us about the truth of the event we are reading about.
A photographer is someone who communicates emotions with intelligence spring from imagination. Photographers can see multiple perspectives at once. A photographer is a professional that focuses on the art of taking photographs with a digital or film camera. Photographers use artificial and/or natural lighting to snap pictures of various people, places and things in a variety of settings. Some photographers focus on studio work, while other explore the natural, outside world. There are a variety of photography niches that one can choose from and be able to uniquely showcase their artistic ability with.
A professional photographer who works full time often does studio work that involves taking pictures in a controlled interior setting, with professional or amateur models. These photographers can be freelance, or can also be kept on retainer by certain magazines and fashion companies. Other forms of professional, full-time photography involve taking stills for motion pictures, taking pictures for crime scenes in cooperation with local and federal law enforcement agencies, and taking pictures for digital and print newspapers (photojournalist) - though often newspapers will work with a photographer on a freelance basis rather than hiring him or her full time.
Photographers are responsible for the digital or physical development of their pictures, and may also be responsible for small or heavy editing of their pictures.
Photographers are also categorized based on the subjects they photograph. Some photographers explore subjects typical of paintings such as landscape, still life, and portraiture. Other photographers specialize in subjects unique to photography, including street photography, documentary photography, fashion photography, wedding photography, war photography, photojournalism, aviation photography and commercial photography.
Photography has two important components; one is the camera and the other is the film. A film is sensitive to light, so when we expose it to a scene with the click of the button,
the impression of light is left on the film. This film is then processed in the laboratory and we see the picture that we have taken.
For a long time photography was just black and white, this was so as the film could not record colour. It was much later that the colour film was made.
You may be able to recall an occasion from your childhood like your birthday party or a trip to some interesting place where you or your parents took pictures. On your return you must have given the film roll to a photo lab and then collected the printed pictures after a day. Have you ever wondered what is happening inside the lab? Here the film is taken out of its cartridge in complete darkness. As the film has a layer of light sensitive chemical on it, the film is given a wash with certain other chemicals. This helps in bringing out the picture on the film because the effects of all the chemicals are washed away and the image on the film is fixed and made visible to the eye. Now the image on the film is in the form of a negative, meaning the dark areas appear light and the light areas appear dark. Now light is thrown through the negative film on to a photographic paper that is sensitive to light in the same way as the film was sensitive to light. This paper is also given a chemical wash thus creating the final picture. So you see that from taking the picture to the final print there are many stages involved. Since the negative film acquires an image with the help of light, it is called an optical process.
Nowadays a new technology has arrived in photography and it is called digital photography. Some of you and your friends may possess a digital camera. The camera which you see inside some mobile phones is also a digital camera. Soon it seems that the film camera may stop being made as the digital camera is making photography cheap and easy to handle. There are two important factors that make digital photography very useful. One is that the picture taken can be seen on a screen behind the camera immediately and the second reason is that digital photography does not require any film. Therefore there is no need to go to the lab and wait to get the film processed. The camera records the image taken on a memory chip that is inside it. Once the chip is filled with the photos, these photos can be copied onto a computer to reuse the camera by making fresh space for taking more photographs. The ability of the camera to link itself to the computer makes it easy to print the picture and to send pictures to any part of the world through the internet. Not only this, the computer allows the photograph that has been taken to be improved and cleaned with the help of a number of software programs that are available. So you can see that the future of photography is going to be digital.
Let us list the differences between a film and digital camera.
Film camera
Digital camera
records image on a chemically sensitive film to make a picture
records the photo as a digital signal
that is stored on a chip.
a film has to be processed into an
optical negative
a digital image can be instantly seen
on the camera. No processing is
required and so there are no negatives.
a film camera is bigger and can
work without batteries
a digital camera is much smaller and
always need batteries
pictures from a film camera
to be printed in a lab.
photos from a digital camera can be
copied on a computer and printed as
pictures from a film camera have
to be physically sent and this can
take time.
photographs from a digital camera can
easily be sent through a computer by
The collodion process resulted to mass production and dissemination of photographic prints. The inception of these visual documents of personal and public history produced vast changes in perception of history, time and people. The concept of privacy was greatly altered as cameras were used to record most areas of human life. The ubiquitous presence of photographic machinery eventually changed the sense of what was suitable for observation. The photograph was considered undisputable proof of an event, experience, or state of being.
To fulfill the mounting and never-ending demand for more images, photographers spread out to every corner of the world, recording all the natural and manufactured phenomena they could find. By the last quarter of the 19th century most households had some respectable photographic collections. These were in three main forms: the family album, the scrapbooks containing large prints of views from various parts of the world; and boxes of stereoscope cards, which in combination with the popular stereo viewer created an effective illusion of three-dimensionality.
Ever since the first photo was developed in 1826, photography has stunned the whole world. There has always been a need and want to capture moments in time, images, however the education and equipment were not accessible to the masses. With the amount of money, time and effort needed to expose and produce an image properly, photography became and still remains a highly sought out profession. Photography has documented the past for our future, putting a name to a face, the pretty and ugly face of our history. Naturally, everyone wanted to capture their own history, wanting to snap a few frames of their own, which in turn pushed the development of personal cameras. With time, production and product costs were cut so most people could afford their own camera and with that, the playing field was evened out and every one became a "photographer". Now, professional photographers need to step up their game, they need to prove to the average "photographer" the worth of their profession.
Although, the tools and industry are forever changing, the idea is not, a perfect example would be our first images taken from the surface of the moon. We love photographs because they take our imagination to an image of reality.
The impact of photography on society, as one of the new media forms changes the structure of society. Further discomfort has been caused due to cameras and photography in regards to being insensitive. Photos of war and pornography always cause a disturbance. It is also feared that disturbing or explicit images are easily accessible to children and society at large today. It is a concern today that people can be turned into objects that can be symbolically possessed by anyone today.
Another impact of photography can be seen in is tourism, where photography has a very important role to play. Photographs play a crucial role in the promotion of tourism destinations, working through a range of media including brochures, television commercials, and picture postcards. Meanwhile the practice of photography is often held to be intimately related to the condition of being a tourist.
Photojournalism is another practice of Photography to create a visual representation of a newsworthy event with several dynamic photographs.
Photojournalists will usually take pictures of newsworthy events as they are happening, and these pictures are often supposed to make the viewer’s feel intense emotions. For example, photojournalists may take pictures of riots in process or disaster survivors.
Advertising and marketing is an important part of selling products and services. This is very essential in business as well as for local authorities, charities and educational establishments. Imagery performs many functions from catching a prospective customer’s eye, simplifying concepts, enhancing the appeal of a product or service, or just pulling together an idea. But it is often the part of an advertising campaign that is left to last, but strong photographs in advertising make the difference between being just “okay” to being very effective. Photographs play an important role in advertising and marketing because they tell a story. As the ancient Chinese proverb so rightly stated: “one picture is worth a thousand words”.
Photography play an important role in the documentation of history, by providing a record of actual events as they are happening in that moment of time.
Photos are a validation for memories; people with memory disabilities willable to look back and remember loved ones who have passed, reflecting back on memories with family and friends.
A real impact of photography is seen on the employment as photo reporters and editors, and in photographic agencies and libraries. Wedding photography and creative portfolio is also provided good business opportunities for the freelance professional photographer.
Photography became a great tool for scientific research, documented newly discovered species, a tool of document evidence of scientific field trips was able to capture the people of remote tribes. Photography later then led to the innovation of brain scanning and assessing human anatomy.
Cameras and photography have become a hobby and a passion for many people. Who enjoy capturing something to remember and creating something extraordinary out of the everyday. But most of all people love photography for the ability to retain information of the world around them.

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