I got a camera so many years ago and since I’ve taken and made a lot of photos. Some of them good, but many others awful. So I ask myself am I as a homo photograph misusing photography?
Photography is not rare anymore it’s just kind of there. It is a technology and at the same time art. With the century of phone cameras on the rise, we rarely slow down. Instead, we take even more pictures. This is simultaneously reasonable and absurd because while it makes sense to take a photograph if the cost is effectively zero, the fierce pace at which we do so begs the question: what the hell are we taking pictures of, and why
And as we’re taking an increasing staggering number of photos (the majority of which are, let's say, less than good), I'm asking why and of what? The next breakfast, the next cup of coffee or of an analog camera.
Of the whole spectrum of photography with documentation at one end and abstraction at the other where do I stand?
I take images in different forms. For my artsy part as probably best described as “things as they are, as they aren’t.” I find this part of making images interesting. It is as well an appropriate description of surrealism and a bit illogical — and thus for many - may be bullshit. It generally requires manipulation and a dash of creative invention. The first rule for me is to light any rulebook on fire I found on this matter.
The other images are often part of Facebook and Instagram, “pics it or it didn’t happen,” the new mantra of many. Especially the social media often shows, that in a way, cameras are liars. A statement both self-evident and for many pure blasphemies. Instagram and other social media allow us to cultivate a nonsensical image of ourselves, but it's not the photographs who lie, that's our doing because we ask them to.
Photography, on itself, should be objective, but it is wracked by the subjectivity of the artist/photographer as any other medium. Even the most “realistic” photographer will present his artist’s view and take on the reality he shows.
The subject matter suddenly spikes here: rich, poor, happy, sad, beautiful, ugly, alive, dead — all people can do it. The democratization of the art of photography arrived.
And as the camera has been democratized over the past century and a half, as it became cheaper and smaller and better it was effectively transformed from a rare tool for the rich to a household appliance. At the same time, the things that we chose to document are more and more profane. Three minutes on Instagram will confirm, the mass of irrelevant images that we hoist on each other.
Latest researches have begun to show , that the act of taking a photo infringes on our memory of the very moment that we sought to record. This is rather strange because it means that our impulse to capture, once enabled by a camera, helps us to forget what we’re trying to remember.
Travel has long been a chance to accumulate photographic evidence, but it’s increasingly an excuse to fly somewhere while others do the same. It’s especially odd because, by the time we show up to take a picture, we’ve already seen it dozens of times.
The glaring absurdity of documenting the world through photography has never been shown better than in Susan Sontag's writing "On Photography." Throughout several essays, she simply guts photography and the alarming pace with which we elevated it to the arbiter of beauty, and then to substitute for reality.
Culturally, the cause is clear: document, document, document. Obtain pixelated proof first and then, if there’s time, experience. There are only two answers: take fewer photos, or make better ones.
Taking fewer photos is easy. It only requires that you take one or two seconds to reflect before making a particular picture.
Given the digital camera’s ability to make an endless number of pictures, it seems like switching to film, which is expensive and considerably slower. Some think that is a good solution. But capturing things on film doesn’t really slow down the rate at which we expect to consume information these days, meaning that even though you’ve gone analog, you still reside in a digital world, which leads to a lot of developing and a lot of scanning just to show what you've done.
Given the paradox that we’ve already photographed everything on the planet yet no two photographs are the same, it seems that this all boils down to one question: can I make a good photo from what I’m looking at? Making is essential because it’s both removed from the aggressive act of taking a picture and it demands a bit of intention — and that’s the only thing that’s keeping us from being overrun by photographers who are immune to what they produce.
In effect, life is now the blur between two instances when we stop, take out our cameras, and try to prove I Was Here.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this. If you appreciate my stylistic inadequacies, you can follow me on Instagram at @kiribane