A Sense of Things

I have been increasingly interested in photography as a means to convey a feeling or a mood rather than just presenting the world. Yes - the idea is not new, however, by its visual nature it is so easy to narrow medium of photography to just show pretty pictures of things or people. When we first start to learn to see (through the lens), we get fascinated by the beauty of the light. We want to catch it, shape it, direct it, wrap it, we start to notice it working in the environment. We arrange elements of the image into a harmonious 2-D composition. But after a while a question arises: is this all? I think the answer is: This is only the beginning.

Please do not get me wrong. Seeing the light and understanding the composition is of outmost importance. But those are only the tools that facilitate producing the image. And I am pretty sure that if one masters those tools, one can create a pleasing image. But that is a technician work. With some training and experience anyone can do it. It is after one transcends that level is where artistry begins.

Evoking a feeling through an image have been harnessed to perfection by advertising photography (think food photography or beauty products). It is also highly applicable to architectural photography. While beginner (may be technically proficient) photographer will try to just depict the building or a space, a skilled master will evoke the emotion of how it feels to LIVE in that building, how people are interacting with the space and how the building itself interacts with the environment. Again - it is not just about the pretty picture but about the connection.

Of course, the fine artists have discovered that truth a long time ago. Most acutely, at the beginning of 20th century when painting lost its utilitarian role of depicting the world due to the development of photography and reinvented itself first as impressionism then as cubism, surrealism, expressionism... It was clear that art has to present much more than the surface of things from now on. I believe photography has been on that same route. With everyone carrying a camera in their phone and digital images being shred in an instant across the world by literally billions of people, simply taking a nice picture is no longer photographer’s job. The goal is much greater, and yes, more difficult to obtain: Photographer must present more than meets the eye. How to do it? I am still looking for my own voice....

After class