Part 4, Project 1 (Photography – art or science?) – Exercise 1

Photography as a unique art form, in relation to time, print vs. digital

I think no other art form is able to capture reality so accurately and quickly as photography can. Like Talbot mentioned in The Pencil of Nature, photography excels in its ‘completeness of detail and correctness of perspective’; there is no room for error in terms of its detailed realism. Because of this, photography as a medium can be used in ways that perhaps drawing or painting, for example, cannot. Another important characteristic is its ability to capture spontaneous, fleeting or temporary moments and fixing them for us to observe permanently. Sometimes messages can be so much more powerful with a photograph than with other media because they can be easier to relate to and understand.

A photograph’s permanence is one of its strongest characteristics, but it’s not all there is to it; if an image is not permanently fixed and vanishes or changes for some reason, I would still consider it a photographic image so long as it is an image fixed on a light-sensitive surface. Because photography is mostly digital nowadays, most images are stored digitally and shared online. Digital storage is easier than printing, especially for storing family pictures and trips. I do think there is a great difference, however, between holding an image in your hands and watching it on a screen, starting with the fact that things such as size, quality and presentation have to be taken into consideration. To me, a printed photograph becomes special and urges me to observe and pay attention to it.

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