by Ruben Buhagiar Published 01/10/2009
Life is Beautiful
A simple phrase. Now sit back and think about it. Life is Beautiful. What do you feel when you read and contemplate over this phrase. A romantic dinner? Listening to bird sounds by the riverside? Serenity? A quiet drive down your favourite lane with a gentle breeze caressing your face and listening to your favourite melody churning out of your on-board hi-fi?
A positive atmosphere.
Or a storm, tending to uproot everything around it. You are awestruck by its power; intrigued by its devastation. Intimidated even, but you know that it causes a reaction in you, wishing to re-establish order. As harsh as this environment is, this intrigue is what you'd want to depict.
A negative atmosphere, but one which maybe still provokes a positive reaction in you.
You feel urged to communicate this to others. Photography is but one type of communication, but it is a non-verbal communication medium. At its best, a photograph conveys a thought from one person, the photographer, to another, the viewer. In this aspect, photography is very similar to other art forms such as painting. Its power, however, is in that it can convey an atmosphere by demonstrating things we might have actually easily overlooked. Beyond that, there is an inherent realism to a photograph which bestows a pertinence to this art form that makes it stand apart from all other forms of art today. This is what draws people to photography, or snap shooting.
Welcome to the World of Mood, an insight into the inner thoughts of the people who project it, the true photographers.
What makes photography an art?
I will start with this statement: 'Even the most technically perfect print is meaningless without emotion'.
One should make a clear distinction between photography as a science and photography as an art. Photography is a tool (and a great tool at that) for recording a scene perfectly. If you are going to take a picture of your desk, then the camera can record the X, Y and Z axes perfectly (obviously if well set up to do so... the angle, the perspective, distortion control). Assuming all the visual parameters are correct, this can be a perfect image of the desk, and in most instances the lighting must be as uniform as possible for recording purposes - pretty much like the pictures you get in product catalogues.
But is it an inspiring photo? Does it instill an emotion in you, the viewer, whether good or bad? I do not think so.
But then these images are not meant to create emotion. They are just records, reproductions. They do their job perfectly. But we are interested in the art form. In timelessness.
So what makes a photograph a piece of art? It is the 4th dimension, the timed light, the atmosphere, the mood, the emotion...call it what you want. Obviously, it helps to know the way to correctly record the X, Y and Z axes, but like any good wine, it is the 4th dimension which leaves the lasting impression on the viewer, long after the latter has ceased to see the image in question.
And the 4th dimension is personal to the photographer. To achieve it, the photographer must relate himself to the scene he is photographing. He must tell a story. Simply by following the rules. Are there any really? From where did these originate really? Most rules are myths anyway, or items for helping others create arguments when the argument should be: 'Does this image work for you?' Rules may help you create a technically perfect image but if there is nothing you want to say, then that is, unfortunately just a snap shot.
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