Photography, as a creative practice, is quite unique. You know it’s unique because, as they say, and as is true, a picture is worth a thousand words. Perhaps no other creative medium possesses the power that photography does to relate so much to a viewer with a single work. Have you ever perused an old family album and experienced the act of one, single glance of a photo making all of the memories rush back, crisp and clear? I’m sure that you, like most, must have. And, this is my point. Photography, perhaps more than any other medium, has the ability to perform this special charm on the mind and memory — photography, unlike any other creative medium, has the ability to affect the human spirit in exactly the way it does.
The thing about photographs is that when words become unclear, the visual imagery of a photograph seldom fails. They rarely disappoint. They provide instant information. They capture a scene and from that scene a whole situation could be deciphered, translated and interpreted, almost instantly, just by just a mere look. Indeed, little things — very minute details that would have otherwise been long forgotten — are brought back to the forefront of the mind and memory by photography. Truly, photography is more than just a medium for factual communication of events, or even ideas. It can be, and often is, a powerful aid.
Since time immemorial, one fundamental aspect of describing every situation of mankind has been through the creation of visual imagery — long before we had complex language, we were scrawling imagery on cave walls in an attempt to relate valuable information and understanding to our fellow man, and even to ourselves. And, photography, as both an art and a technology, provides us with the most powerful way of creating such imagery in its most true to life form — in its most precise form requiring the least amount of nuanced interpretation. Its creations are the most accessible of any visual medium.
Even if this is not fully understood and readily articulable by the average person, it has nonetheless been realized, as human beings, in industrialized cultures at least, have grasped the art of photography with both barrels so that it continues to be a regular function in the lives of most. Today, people carry cameras whenever they travel — pretty much wherever they go — and they take and share their own photos constantly. As humanity and industrialized societies have developed over the last couple of centuries, the increasing development of the average person to engage in photography, and to more and more easily share and propagate their resulting images has been a constant.
To have a passion for photography is a wonderful thing. To possess a passion for photography is to possess a passion for an ability to connect with your fellow human-beings. It is, truly, a noble passion — a valuable and envious endeavor. To all out there who feel that drive and ambition to make photographs, I say you should celebrate the blessing you’ve found in yourself — and celebrate it vigorously! Imagine, for a moment, what life would be like right now — I mean really try to imagine it — if the technology to create photographs did not, and had not ever, existed, or had no one ever possessed the drive to create photographs. And, once imagined, realize that the immeasurable lessening to humanity that would be the result is, in some, perhaps small, but nonetheless very much real part, negated by your passion and drive for photography.
The truth be told, most of us have learned our history from photographs — where we came from, what we, and the world, we looked like in days and fashions past — our knowledge of these things are all most easily, most readily, and most efficiently granted to us through photography. Little would be as it is without the remarkable wonder of photographs and the work and effort of countless photographers who felt the need to create pictures.
To engage and indulge in photography truly can, and often does, give one a new sense of life, mission, purpose and even identity. As may be needless to say, we are immensely informed through photography. We are entertained through photography. We are shaped by photography. And, the photographer has a hand in all of that. You, as a photographer, will have a hand in all of that — be a facilitator of all of that.
For one example, Photo-Journalism does well to illustrate my point here — Through print and on-line media, photographs of important happenings are published in order to instantly explain, expand on, and provide background, context and focus regarding a given story in a clear and concise way. It is photography which provides such immensely valuable exposition — it is the photographer which provides that.
To everyone out there who has a passion for photography, I say to march on and pursue your passion with relentless resolve — chase after your dreams to become a great photographer — that dream, and all it will bring to the world should you realize it, is bigger than you are. To do photography is to contribute positively to humanity. Each photograph you take delivers to the world something which it has been a lacking — a document of one magical portion of its existence — a captured memory of the universe doing what it does and being what it is. So, if you feel drawn to photography, then do that! Be that! It’s noble — it’s important. Both it, and you, are incredibly valuable.