The art of …the photograph.
I don’t think I need to even utter a word about my obvious addiction to the art of photography. I am completely enthralled with not only the result, but certainly the process. My very first camera was a Kodak “Brownie”, if I am not mistaken, my Great Uncle Harve gave it to me. It was magical I was quite certain of that and the results were thrilling. I have had many cameras since then, each created their own treasures, each sustained memories, history and pure entertainment. I have thoroughly enjoyed black and white photography and took classes in both high school and college. An enlarger sits in my basement waiting for the darkroom I keep promising myself.
It’s fascinating my journey with photography. I remember when I first became a professional artist and the question was posed to me ” Do you think photography is REAL art?” I didn’t respond right away. I thought about it for a moment, wondering how I really felt about it. I admit my ignorance. While I had seen artistic photographs, I felt there were “too instant” to be real art. Still peer pressure seemed to win and I hesitantly agreed.
Through the years I have become more and more addicted to this (yes, oh yes it is!) fine art. Photographs tell a story in such a unique way. Fifteen people could take the same photograph and it would give you a unique view every single time. I have gotten to the point where I literally always have a camera with me. If I do not for some reason, I always regret it.
Cell phones! Once could say that everyone has a camera with them at all times (as according to an article on Ars Technica) 91% of America’s population uses a cell phone. (I am betting the 9% remaining are still in diapers) If you have a cell phone, you have a camera. Honestly? I think this is sort of sad. It seems the accessibility is sort of butchering the art of making a photograph. The instant gratification of recording a moment to post on facebook as opposed to the opportunity to think about angle, lighting, shutter speed and, well you get the idea.
There is something nearly ceremonial about taking a photograph, processing the film and then printing it. YOU are in control of the process, developing a photograph feels like Christmas to me. It’s a thrill to watch the image float to my eyes through the developing fluids. It’s exciting to get the timing just right, the exposure perfect- the angle of interest… it’s an art.
The other aspect- is very significant as well- some would say more so. Photographs are the record of our history. My Uncle Harve gave me a tremendous gift. Photographs put a face with a story, they reveal much about the content of life and give us a connection. Personally I DETEST having my picture taken, but honestly? I have tried to change that… because pictures, photographs give me the treasure of the past and the smile of the future. Simply said, if I did not have the photography below, my beautiful granddaughter might never know that my mother loved her as deeply as she did.
So get in front of the camera and behind it. JUST take pictures- however you need to- use your cell phone, a great camera, black and white film- whatever! Make photographs- make art- make connections. These are the real treasures, more than gold that will last a lifetime.