think you know what photography is; we all deal with thousands of photographs every
day. But there is much more in photography than just the visual part of it! It
had changed the world of art, it had changed and even created variety of the industries; and,
the most important thing, it had completely changed our “vision” and the way we perceive the world. To figure out
how to look at the images and get different layers of their meaning, we have to
follow quick and easy steps that will be listed in this article.
If you want
to get the whole story behind the modern invasion of the visual culture, thus
of photography, you absolutely have to watch these BBC documentary series “The
Genius of Photography”. It has 6 parts, with each one representing a certain
period in the development of photography. There is a
good narrative about the transition from the photographs being simply a medium
for the depiction of the surrounding world to the powerful art tool. Also, a lot
of really important personalities in the field of photography are mentioned in
this documentary. I would suggest looking them up.
some great books on the photography, which could reveal a lot.
Sontag’s “On Photography” is a collection of essays published in 1977. She studies
the influence of photography on the modern capitalist society, particularly in
America. The author carries on polemics with the origins of the humans’ strive
for images, voyeurism and catching the moment. This book was quite innovative,
because it had raised some essential questions which lead to the rethinking of the
visual heritage and role of photography in the modern culture.
Lucida” written by Roland Barthes is more personal and philosophic. It is
focused on the perception of the photographs based on Barthes own experience of
finding the best photo that describes his passed away mother. He invented the
concept of studium and punctum; where studium
stands for the cultural, political and linguistic meaning of the photo, and
punctum is describing deeply personal detail of the image that speaks directly
to you and therefore establishing the connection with the photo.
fou: Photography & Surrealism”, “Le Photographique” – any book by Rosalind Krauss on photography
would be also very informative (actually, not only on photography; check her
other works, you won’t regret it).
This is the
main rule of accepting Photography. Each image has its own code, its own
puzzle. Try to solve it! After the foresaid preparations you will be able to figure out
all of them. Just go deeper, explore the allusions and you will be accepted in
the complex and mysterious world of Photography. And you will be prepared for our next articles about some of the greats within this field of the visual art.