Saturday, August 9, 2008

Photography defines the world

Alain Briot wrote an essay about the essential being of a photo: "a photograph is a two dimensional representation of reality and not reality itself because reality is far more complex, three-dimensional and perceived by us through five senses and not just one".

In a way, the essay gives a possible answer to the question I have been writing about here recently. Perhaps I need to define my question a bit differently to focus on the essential.

What I'm interested in is how photography as a medium affects the society. As we are living in an image-centric world, it seems that things, places, occasions and people shape themselves as to be photogenic, to be used by the medium of photography, and to benefit from this medium. Media personalities like Paris Hilton are examples of this, and also (I think) many events, new buildings etc., where the public gets to know things through photographs. Thus, the photo (and the photographer) is what defines the world.

In this context it is interesting that the sheer number of photos makes it more and more difficult for photographers to earn their living. Perhaps there is too much of a good thing.

Update: See Why your images are worthless for excellent analysis of the photography oversupply issue: "The result is that the value of pictures has plummeted and that the images that you and I produce are literally worthless when considered as a commodity. Selling images in the current market is like trying to sell sand in Sahara."

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