Thoughts


WHY PHOTOGRAPHY MATTERS

Starting with Joseph Nicéphore Niépce who in 1826 or 1827 captured an image from an upstairs window at his estate in Burgundy using a technique known as heliography, the first photographers were looking for the innate and universal essence of the subject, not merely a representation of it. They sought something that embodied the soul of the image as experienced by the viewer and which moved them emotionally.

Late 19th century photography influenced Impressionism's interest in capturing a 'snapshot' of ordinary people doing everyday things, which was a complete break with traditional formalism and highly theatrical art. Many painters used photographs to enable them to create impressionist paintings, and learned a range of new techniques from the science of photography.

Paintings capture the beat of one person's heart, a highly individuated response to environment or experience, but is there any universality in the image, allowing the one to stand for all? No, a painting is in truth biographical, while a photograph is essentially archival and universal.

The photographer is called to interrogate old certainties by exploring new possibilities with a fresh, challenging light. The photograph is evidence and it must speak for itself.



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