Jordyn GlennMrs. TilleryAP Lit Comp.18 November 2011 Photography There is nothing that embraces, nor records, human life more than a photograph. In thewords of Andy Warhol, “The best thing about a picture is that it never changes even when thepeople in it do.”(Brainy quotes). Daily, we see the world through a lens’ eyes, when tragedystrikes a portion of a country or a starving child’s bones reach out towards the camera. Theseimages drive the passions in life: to create these pictures of the world and to assist those who arein them. Photography, by the technical definition, is “the process or art of producing images ofobjects on sensitized surfaces by the chemical action of light or of other forms of radiant energy,as x-rays, gamma rays, or cosmic rays.”(Dictionary). As is the case quite often found withtechnical definitions, the meaning of the word does not truly come across the page of adictionary. Photography, cannot be explained with just words, it must be seen or viewed to beunderstood, as the catch phrase “A picture is worth a thousand words” accurately summarizes. Itis a way of expressing or capturing one’s emotions and feelings through a single photograph. Apicture can change the way the world looks at things. Photography allows people to capturemoments that others would have never been exposed to if it were not for a camera, includingdevastating events throughout the world from the past such as The Holocaust and all of theWorld Wars, to current events such as 9/11 and the tsunami that recently struck Japan. Withoutthe use of a camera, the world may have come to know of these events, but not truly understand
Glenn 2the magnitude of, or feel the emotions of those involved. Certain images that are seen have away of capturing the attention, touching hearts, or eliciting emotion from people. Those whoview these images will often be affected so strongly emotionally, that they will respond byvolunteering to help, as is the case of the Japan Tsunami, or to possibly go to war to stopinjustices across the ocean as in World War 2.“Through photographs, we preserve history - our childs first steps, a decaying landscape, or rareand endangered animals.” (Steve’s Digicams). A photograph is truth, it allows us to see theemotion of the person that is in front of the camera, the scenery, and the situation and troublesthat that one person is currently going through. Although a photograph is supposed to exposefact, it can also be deceiving because a photographer has the opportunity to portray the emotionbased on the angle or the way the photographer is taking the photo. Photography has not been around for long, and there is no exact date on when it was firstcreated, but the word photography was introduced in the year 1839 when the first everphotograph was taken. Before photography became known and popular, people had to usealternate ways to capture moments on film. “During the prior decades, a number of light-sensitive materials were tested to capture the image from the camera obscura, but the firstsuccessful permanent photograph is usually credited to Louis Daguerre.” (History ofPhotography). It all started when Daguerre captured the first image on a sheet of copper usingpositive image. Soon after the first photograph was taken, many other scientists found alternatetechniques to take pictures. Shortly after Daguerre’s positive image, Henry Fox Talbot decidedto use a different route for creating photography by using negative images to create positive
Glenn 3prints. Talbot’s photographs had to be taken by using long exposure which took a long time tocapture just one single image, so his pictures were only of scenic views such as landscapes andarchitecture. Daguerre had opened the door to a whole new world and with it, changed our worldforever. A few years later, artists had found a way to shorten the exposure time; so as a result,portraits become very popular and are still used to this day in different fields of photography.The necessity of a camera did not just become a popular need, it has been essential to the worldfor many decades now. Photography has come such a long way since the first photograph in 1839. The firstpermanent photograph that Daguerre took was an “…image of the countryside at his Le Gras,France, estate onto a chemical-coated pewter plate.” (National Geographic). This one singleinsignificant photograph was just the beginning for the rest to come. Shortly after the firstphotograph, the first portrait was taken. Then in 1847, Thomas Easterly was the first person tocapture lightening on camera. Also in 1847, Charles Betts took the first pictures of war duringthe Mexican-American War. A few years later in 1861, the first colored photograph was taken byJames Maxwell by passing the photograph through three different colored filters. Then in 1878,Eadward Muybridge was able to create instantaneous photography which allowed him to capturethe first action shot. In 1926, the first underwater color photo was taken by Charles Martin inFlorida. Each and every new discovery of capturing a picture was benefited from the lastadvance in photography. All of these photographic discoveries that seem unimportant led to evenmore significant discoveries. All these findings have directed us to where we are today.
Glenn 4 People have a way of underestimating the importance of photography, but what the worlddoes not understand is that without it, people would lose not only close personal memoires, butalso significant things that have happened in history that has shaped the world. “Photography isabout telling stories and more importantly protecting memories.” (Photofocus). Photography isnot just used to capture memories, but also to illustrate art, document essential history, and tomarket advertising for companies. “First impressions are vital when it comes to your company,so making sure the photographs you use are both professional and engaging is of greatimportance.” (Kirk Connor). Using only words to try to sell something to someone does notallow them to get a very good visual image. Photography is all about giving a visual picture toour everyday lives and history. Pictures allow us to recall on important and beautiful times thathave occurred in life. Once the shutter button a camera has been pressed, it captures a moment intime that will now lat forever. Without photography, there would be no pictures, short historybooks, no family albums, and memories would be forgotten. The technology that has involved in photography is limitless, from the sheet of copperused for photography in the 1800’s to the high tech digital camera that exists now in 2011. Thetechnology has grown throughout the years. “It won’t be far fetched to say that digitalphotography has revolutionized photography and brought it mainstream into the hands ofcommon people.” (Varun Kashyap). The world went from barely being able to capture anythingon film, to having cell phones and computers that can take a picture within seconds, and thetechnology discoveries continue to grow daily. “You have the ability with a digital camera totake a picture and immediately look at the finished image, so it can then be sent it anywhere inthe world within minutes or make a print. That is something that was not even considered just a
Glenn 5few years ago.” (Digital Photography Technology). The current day technology has made itpossible for anyone to be able to take a photo, it is no longer a difficult task that only few can do.Although, photography has been grown to become easy, there are still very simple cameras forthose who are trying to learn how to become a photographer. “Principal camera, the simplestcamera type, is much used by casual amateurs.” (Encyclopedia Britannica). Photography’stechnology will only continue to grow at an incredible rate. Not only do professional photographers use photography, but also almost every careerhas something to do with photography, ranging from advertisers in a magazine to doctorsshowing their patients pictures of their broken bones. Each and every individual has at least oncein their lifetime been in a photograph or owned a camera. Photography is something thateveryone can relate to and be a part of, it is found throughout the world and used for manydifferent purposes. “Photography has an economic significance, especially in terms of theindustry that is associated with the products and services. In addition there are copyright issues,body image, psychology and evoking a wide range of emotional responses.” (R. Conan-Davies).Photography is not only used for personal reasons but it is a way of expressing ones self andkeeping history alive. Pictures are important in many different fields of interest, such as culturalreasons, society and personal reasons, and technological reasons. Photography is used forcultural styles for people such as artists who are expressing themselves or letting the world viewlife from their point of view. On the other hand, photography is used in society for personalreasons such as a family photo album. Finally, photography is used in technology advances forproducts such as computers and cameras. Photography is used throughout the world for manydifferent important purposes.
Glenn 6 Photography will never be just a temporary trend or phase; it is something that continuesto grow every single day. Photography is an art, a career, a way of expressing ones self, and itserves a purpose in everyone’s life. It is worldwide and can be found in any kind of culture onthe planet. The discovery of taking a photo has changed the way life will be forever, it has growninto a necessity in people’s lives. Photography started out as something small, no one thoughtthat it would grow into what it is today. All of the advances of picture taking have grown fromsomething small into a huge success and need in the world. Hopefully someday everyone willunderstand how important photography is and learn not to take it for vantage. Not only is itimportant for personal reasons such as a family photo album, but also because of the way it hasproduced so many new technological advances. Everyone in the world needs and wants picturesin their life, so photography is an essential element for all people. Not only is it a way of life, butalso a necessity. After all, when you hear of people running back into a home that has caught onfire, it is not their jewelry or their furnishings they are risking life & limb to save;….it is thefamily photo albums.