Imagine a world without photography, a world where you are unable to share important moments or preserve them. Photography allows us to convey our emotions and share our experiences with the world.
Photography has existed for over 100 years. It used to be an expensive hobby only for the highly skilled. However, with the introduction of smartphones and compact cameras, photography allowed the masses to instantly take photos and share their experiences and personal lives.
Social media and the internet also allowed easier sharing of photos with family and friends. Photographs have become an important part of our daily life and are even more important on special occasions where we want to record the moment. Images are much more than a simple record. Photography allows us to express the desire to share what we find beautiful and interesting with others. I believe photographs matter because they freeze moments of our lives which can grow with importance as we get older and want to share or remember experiences from when we were younger. Photographs allow us to mourn our dead relatives or pets or focus on the joys of their life and relive our memories of them.
When people are asked what possessions they would rescue from their burning house, one of the most frequent answers is the photograph album or a computer with their digital images. This shows how much we value our personal photos. This is because they show what is important to us and allow us to express our interests and feelings. Photography also allows us to express ourselves through an art form. We notice a beautiful landscape and we want to capture it. Each of us will have a different reason to do so but, essentially, we want to create something.
There is a common saying that pictures speak a million words. At school teachers use photos to help illustrate their point and some students with learning difficulties are able to understand photos easier than words. For people suffering from a mental health disorder such as depression or those on the autistic spectrum, photography can be a useful tool to help them demonstrate how they are feeling by photographing things that are important to them or reflect how they are feeling. For some people with severe learning difficulties using a limited set of photographs is the only way they are able to communicate their needs and wishes to others by pointing to the relevant photo. Photographs also allow people suffering from Alzheimer’s to understand who they were and can help them to identify their family.
Photographs also allow us to experience extraordinary places or events such as Taj Mahal or the Fall of the Berlin Wall without leaving our homes. We can also use photography as a window into other people’s lives. It can be used to show us the struggles of a slum dweller in Brazil or the harsh working conditions of a sweatshop worker in China. Photography can also be used to show the destruction caused by the London and Manchester terror attacks or the heroic actions of firefighters at the Grenfell Tower fire. These strong and sometimes brutal images show the harsh reality and loss caused by these events. Photos of heroic firefighters saving lives and battling the fire can give people hope and make people focus on the positives instead of the riots and protests about who was to blame. Photographs can grab our attention and speak directly to our emotions. For example this photo of 20 firefighters resting nearby, captures the firefighters exhaustion in these abnormal circumstances.
Photography is important to me because it allows me to express myself and relax. It also allows me to share what I like with other people and to document my life.
Photography is also an important tool in propaganda as images can be manipulated or photoshopped. the photographer can use different angles to mislead the viewer or to support his point of view. this can direct hate towards a group or influence peoples’ decisions.
Photography can also be invasive such as the paparazzi and tabloids providing constant updates on celebrities’ personal lives. How would you feel if people recorded your every move without your permission? The permanent record that photography creates can also provide a platform for bullying or make it hard to forget previous mistakes.
What is the future of photography? the growing popularity of virtual reality will allow us to truly immerse ourselves in a location or landscape, allowing us to feel as if we are really there experiencing it first-hand. In 3rd world countries the popularity of smartphones is also rising as well as the availability of internet, this will allow for people of all classes and ethnic groups to share their lives and experiences, making the world aware of and hopefully more understanding of their differences.
The ability to create photos and share them is accessible by almost everyone and hopefully in the future the whole world will be able to document their lives and share their experiences with others. Photography is such an important part of everyday life because it allows us to create, share and better understand the world around us.