What's the Point?

Photography is different from any other type of art that I can think of. For years, I have urged writers, poets, and lyricist to know what they wanted to do before they began with the blank canvas on which they would express their ideas through art. I have argued vehemently that to do otherwise risked pouring long periods of time into what might end up being a vapid collection of letters, notes, or words. I have further extrapolated my belief that artists must necessarily begin with the end in mind to painting and sculpture, though my experience with those is casual at best.

But photography is different. Though it is possible to go looking for a picture that carries a particular message or makes a particular point, that is, in my experience, the exception to the rule. The canvas of a photographer is rarely blank to start with. Barring studio work or exacting "on location" set-ups, the photographer usually is finding meaning in what is already there.

More than once, I have snapped an image and it has evoked some feeling or other intangible response that I did not expect, and there are times that I fail to find words that reflect those feelings.

Nevertheless, I hold to the belief that photography is, at its finest, telling stories with light.

The name of the site is drawn from the word "photography" itself. Photo comes from the greek word φως, meaning light. Graphy comes from the greek word  γράφω, meaning write. Thus, the roots of photography lead to this meaning: writing with light.

Even a portrait has the power to suggest story and meaning. Embedded in the eyes and expression, in the posture and gestures, is subtle whispers of story. The lighting and the background harmonizes with the model to add hints and details. In sum, a great photograph—whether a portrait or a macro of dandelion seeds—is filled with the suggestion of story.

 It is the job of the photographer to, first, capture the image, and then to see beyond the pixels to where lies the meaning—and power—of the photograph. Once found, the photographer then uses darkroom or editing techniques to more clearly draw the story out.


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