Thoughts on Photography
Photography in its broadest definition has become important to everyone! It is such a dominant part of our culture and our lives. Creating and consuming images is constant. So how do we differentiate between the different kinds of photography? Are they all equal? Do we even understand the effect that images have on us? Visual literacy is a tricky subject. Especially when there’s barely enough time to understand it all.
I work as a tour guide. On a regular basis I come into contact with tourists taking selfies with major attractions in New York City. It would be difficult to not witness this everywhere in the city. I wonder what the actual value is of these photos? (I will refrain from being judgmental here even if it is annoying.) They are intended as souvenirs. The idea that you can choose to remember something by an image or an object. The strange thing is that souvenirs actually have a way of killing memories. They take on new meaning. We no longer have to remember it.
Perhaps the actual act of taking the photo is more important than the photo itself. That and the fleeting moment that it has a life on social media. We designate a moment which we have predetermined to be worthy of remembering.
Planned vs unplanned photos. My favorite photos that I’ve taken are not planned. They couldn’t have been planned. They are decided only at the moment that they are shot. Sometimes I like them. Others I don’t. It’s always starting from scratch. Starting over with a clean slate. When it comes to street photography you can’t decide beforehand what you’ll shoot. It’s life in motion. By it’s very nature it is unplanned.
From Issue 8 of the Shoot New York City Newsletter. You can subscribe here.