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9th July 2012, 01:44 PM
Sharing The Sustainable Photograph
By Benjamin Disney
First published on www.caydoo.com
“Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still” – Dorothea Lange
The earliest recorded permanent photograph dates back to 1826, when French inventor Joseph Nicéphore Niépce faithfully recreated a scene from a window looking out to the surrounding countryside. Ever since, humans have strived to capture for posterity not only the beauty of the natural world, but also how we interact with all of its environs, man-made or not. It provides us with a moment, a pause that can never be repeated. It places a finite boundary upon the infinite, framing the chaotic nature of life within.
“She glances at the photo, and the pilot light of memory flickers in her eyes” – Frank Deford
In truth, ever since its discovery, the photographic image has never been far from our imaginations. We can record pretty much anything we want, in minute detail, to view again and again until that image is permanently ingrained into our psyche. And that image can be shared with the entire world over and over. By saying the words “Tiananmen Square”, no doubt your mind automatically pictures an unknown man all alone with plastic bags standing his ground in front of four tanks, rather than the actual square itself. The image creates its very own context, to the point where it can often skew dramatically its subject matter.
“Look, I’m not an intellectual – I just take pictures” – Helmut Newton
Whilst photography early on was perceived to be the domain of professionals, as the 20th Century drew to a close, it became clear that the amateur had plenty to offer; in some ways, more so. With the advent of digital technology and the smartphone, people the world over now carry a camera in their pocket or handbag. There are well over 100 billion images on Facebook, with 4.5 million uploaded to Flickr each day. The power of the image has never been more poignant, more pivotal than right now.
“Photography records the gamut of feelings written on the human face, the beauty of the earth and skies that man has inherited, and the wealth and confusion man has created. It is a major force in explaining man to man.” – Edward Steichen
And what is happening right now is that we humans are using way too much of this precious planet we call home. We simply do not have the physical resources available to us to keep this going for much longer. Google famously uses its mapping satellites to illustrate deforestation and other such geographical phenomena to help scientists around the world show what is occurring to our world over time – an incredible use of the digital image. Professional wildlife photographers travel the length and breadth of the globe to highlight the plight of fauna and flora as we relentlessly pursue the almighty dollar. With people leading busier and busier lives, often the only way to stop them in their tracks is through the power of the image.
“There is only you and your camera. The limitations in your photography are in yourself, for what we see is what we are” – Ernst Haas
As an individual, it’s not that difficult to pick up your camera and snap something that’s going on around you. It’s especially easy to see plenty of things that are wrong and need to change, criticism being the quickest form of comment. What’s more difficult is identifying the positive that surrounds us. We all strive to live better lives; for our family and friends; and for the planet upon which we live. Through the photograph, we have the unique ability to show those around us, and more importantly future generations, just what we are doing today to make our lifestyles and our communities more like how we want them to be.
“I see something special and show it to the camera. The moment is held until someone sees it. Then it is theirs” – Sam Abell
And let’s face it… What’s the point of taking a photograph if you don’t share it with the world? Keeping it locked away in the proverbial cupboard just defeats its purpose. We all have a story to tell, and only through the frozen moment can we so effectively communicate a message without words. Language is no barrier to the photograph. So get snapping and sharing. Show us what’s going on in your community today!!
Do you think you can take a picture like that? London’s Picture of Sustainability is now accepting entries engaging Londoners and tourists alike to capture in one image “sustainability” within the UK capital. For more information on how to enter and what prizes you can win, please click here www.apictureofsustainability.com. Competition entry closes July 22nd, 2012.
Last edited by Clothilde; 9th July 2012 at 02:27 PM.