What is Photography?


As You know Photography is not just taking pictures. It is more than that. Is it about proportion, composition, colors, rhythm, pattern ? And is it about some sort of mood, spirit, sentiment, recognition ?

Maybe nowadays, more than ever, there should be at least a sense of meaning, other than the pure image. There must be a personal or social significance to it. A photograph is not what it is, but something else. A medium to express oneself or to explain a situation, raise a question about (unjust) events.

So making a photo is hard work. Because the significance must be obvious. Or on the contrary. Is must be very subtle, maybe even the opposite at first sight.

Sometimes showing a real situation can be telling a hole story. As in the phrase, a picture says more than thousand words. The world is complicated and a picture can plant an image right in to your mind. And things become clear. Also a picture can be just a record of a reality. A special occasion or an everyday event.

In that case, is photography what it says in the picture? An image of our true reality, a literally quote of a status or an event? Is what we see than a piece of the world where we live in ? Is it the truth, in all its beauty (or horror) ?

Well, a photograph is never (completely) true. At first it’s always someone’s view. Someone is holding the camera, someone is pressing the button. And than selecting the best shot for the situation, others are denied. And in the digital world pictures are always manipulated, starting in the camera and later edited on a computer and processed on screens. You never see the real world. At most you see a recognizable representation of something you saw before.

Maybe Photography should be caring for itself. It should be an on form based abstract reflection on the medium itself. Yes it is a flattened image of something, an imprint of the light that has travelled through your lens. And yet it can trigger your brain. You can appreciate it, you can relate to it. As such.

So, maybe it is after all just taking pictures. Choosing the right one. Making him as best as you like. And presenting him to the world. Just to enjoy yourself. There is always someone who does too.

Jan Willem de Groot