Pho·tog·ra·phy the art or practice of taking and processing photographs.
“Drawing with light,” the technical derivation of the word photography. First coined (around 1820-1830) by the British scientist (Sir John Herschel). I'm gonna break this down for you: the term photography comes from the Greek word sphos, aka “light”, and graphê aka “drawing or writing," therefore creating the phrase "drawing with light".
We good here? Ok! Continuing...
By definition, "photography is the art, application and practice of creating durable images by recording light, either electronically by means of an image sensor, or chemically by means of a light-sensitive material such as photographic film." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photography (Thanks Wikipedia!)
So, now we know all the meaning, definitions, origin and terms behind the word photography, great! But, while this is the definition of photography, in this day and age of the 21st century, there is so much more to it than just pointing and shooting a camera. There is so much more that goes on behind the lens than we realize and what it takes to "make good pictures," (which is hard work ~ inside shoutout joke to my parents, lol).
Anyways, what I am trying to say is, the art of photography is beautiful and there is so much depth to it, I wanted to take the time this week to highlight the art of photo-making and taking! So let's begin now!
"It is more important to click with people than to click with the shutter." - Alfred Eisenstaedt
A little backstory on me: As I sit here and think about writing what I am about to tell you all I can only think how cliché this is going to sound, but here goes. I am not kidding when I say this, since I was a little girl I took a strong interest in taking photos. Sure it began as a simple and silly task I could do whether we were at holiday parties, on vacation, or just taking photos of the numerous pets I had at my house, I was snapping photos like a mad child. And keep in mind, I may be a "Gen-Z" child, but I was born in the 90's so I was not running around with a smartphone in my hand to take photos; we will touch on the smartphone photography later though. Anyways, when I got to high-school, you guessed it, I took photography! I know, shocking! I did it all four years and enjoyed every minute. I also took two years of photography in college as well. So yes, you could say, I have had my fair share of photo experience, and no, this does not make me some guru, but it is certainly a passion of mine. I digress, my point is, yes I have had tons of years in the making on photography and learning more and more about how to take photos, and the ins and outs of a camera, but there is still so much more behind the scenes that the average Joe doesn't realize/know about.
"For me, the camera is a sketchbook, an instrument of intuition and spontaneity." - Henri Cartier-Bresson
One of the interesting things about photography that no one really thinks about is since it began a couple hundred years ago, it has become more and more inexpensive, user friendly and popular, as in just about anyone can do it in today's world. Now, today's photos might not all be dimes, but it is incredible to think how far the process of taking photos has come since the early 19th century. Something that used to take hours on end to make ONE decent photo, now you can take hundreds in seconds on any smartphone. And yes, of course, it can get expensive, but any camera that is affordable is going to get the job done. It's not like were all out here trying to be the next Steve McCurry with some million dollar camera equipment, haha! My personal preference is Sony cameras, just because they have great functionality, are not super bulky, and are a great price.
"Don't shoot what it looks like. Shoot what it feels like." - David Alan Harvey
Photography is important to us, because it is a way of connecting us to our past or memories. That is what has always made me appreciate photography, because your camera can literally freeze a moment in time forever. It is truely amazing. AND! There are soooo many different types of photography: portrait, photojournalism, fashion, sport, still life, editorial, and architectural are the top 7 ones should know. Something else interesting about photography (that you should know if you plan to take photos on a higher level) is the techniques. Photography has so many rules and techniques to help one guide your lens when it comes to taking pictures. For example, fill the frame, don't cut off the limbs, making the most of lead lines, symmetry, diagonals, frame within frame, center dominant eye, patterns & repetition, DOF (depth of field), and everyone's favorite, the rule of thirds!
But what else about photography is important? What makes it so unique? If you know the rules and techniques, can't you make a photo worthwhile?
"It is more than that, young grasshopper." (Kwai Chang Caine)
It's not just a matter of walking outside your house and pointing a camera at some flowers and taking a picutre. Photography takes thought. Taking a photo takes planning and perception. What you are about to make through light on your camera is what other people will see, so make your shot count! What I am trying to say is, a photo is a way to show your perspective to the world. You are the only one standing in that spot on the mountain with that view.
How are you going to make people feel based on your image? What do you want to portray through your image? Photos allow people to see the world from different points of view and to admire the most different scenarios and situations captured in that "frozen moment".
Needless to say, behind taking a photograph requires effort and thought. (It ain't luck).
And that is what photographers like Annie Leibovitz, Ansel Adams, Robert Frank, Richard Avedon, and many many more have accomplished. Photography is much more than point and shoot. Some desirable qualities for making good photos are creativity/imagination, an eye for detail, patience, and passion!
I hope this provides a little insight on a deeper side of what it is like behind the camera and taking photos 101. If you ever have any questions or are in need of a photographer, you know where to look! (Hint: It is here and I am talking about myself).
We will be talking to a photographer in our upcoming Kaleidoscope podcast #4 so be sure to check it out and transform through knowledge!