All photographs since the very first to the last one that will ever be made, by Master and Student alike share one thing in common….”MEMORY”.
The intent of the camera is memory. This is the foundation of photography that all images are made. No matter what your subject matter is or where it is you, when you press the shutter, capture a memory. This happens every time. Quite an amazing experience.
The camera records your choice of subject matter and displays it’s place in the here and now at that moment of time. The genius of photography is that it does this process more than other genre’s of a clearer rendition of what represents the truth, as we perceive it.
Therein lies the problem. I’ll assume that all readers here know about Susan Sontag’s “On Photography.” Of course the mandatory reading for any Human Being using a camera is “Camera Lucida” by Roland Barthes. If not, please read them now and we’ll wait it out until you get caught up…….
Here’s how I live it:
The elements of photography are as follows….
All 3 elements are tied into memory.
When we work, the eye seems to be the first in order to get the info to make an image.Well, not really…not all the time. The shooter that’s aware of all 3 elements knows that paying attention to all three, will lead to a better understanding of what we are looking for out there. When I say out there…anytime you have a camera and are ready to use it…that’s out there.
The eye usually responds to trigger mechanisms faster and first. It sends the signal that something is about to happen or that we can make something happen. If you raise the camera and it does anything at all besides show you the subject matter, it’s intruding on your vision and or process. The camera can suggest settings, framing, FOV etc but not when it’s raised to the work position. All those things should be addressed before the camera is at the eye.
I like a screen on the rear of the camera because it shows me what’s out there and in two dimensions. The screen floats easy in our three dimension reality. It moves in and out, up and down, side to side etc. All the time it’s sending the image on itself, framing until the eye says yes. CLICK.
Bear with me here…… We are in a 3 dimensional reality. Photographs are a 2 dimensional reality. So, using the screen is the best representation we can get while working with the camera. We can frame with 2 eyes if we are so blessed. We see the photograph on the screen as it will appear in 2 dimensions. This is a very magical experience and at age hitting 64, still excites me as if I’m just seeing it for the first time.
The eye works very fast with the finger to seek and record the image. The finger is a very important part of the process and must be addressed in a very serious manner. We’ll get into that later.
The thing about artist and if your reading this….you are an artist …. is that most assemble their images in many different ways. Like so:
The Family Album. The humble snapshot takes on many meanings for the family as the shooter records those moments that should not ever be forgotten. You may shoot the streets for as long as you like, publish your work, maybe sell it and create a name that follows you all over the world. You did it…your a pillar of the photographic community.
You make family snaps and unfortunately someone has passed. You reach for the photos you made of that person and what value can now be placed upon the snapshots of them? The lowly snapshot now takes on an entirely different roll. It becomes the lasting memory of that persons existence and the memories you shared with them.
The point it, always treat every image with the respect above what you think it deserves. There is a teaching method as old as the hills….it states that a shooter should see things as if seeing them for the first time.
I believe that a shooter should see things as if seeing them for the last time……
More later or tomorrow……don