The Photograph as Art and Design Part 1

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Before the invention of photography, the ability to capture an instant in time was only possible through the mind of an artist, and each artist delivered his own interpretation of that moment. When the photographic process was introduced to the world, it open a whole new realm to art, bringing together the elements of documentary. design. and expression.

Since the dawn of photography to present day, pictures have frozen moments of time preserving them for future generations.

Before the invention of photography, the ability to capture an instant in time was only possible through the mind of an artist, and each artist delivered his own interpretation of that moment. When the photographic process was introduced to the world, it open a whole new realm to art, bringing together the elements of documentary. design. and expression.

The difference between photography and a painting or a sketch is that somewhere, somehow, that photo existed in time, giving it a sense of realism.

This brings the art to a whole new level, combining characteristics of realism with several different areas of art and design. Not only can you set up a photograph to convey a certain message as a painting would. it must be done with real objects in a real place.

Though this can limit what the photographer can say, it gives the viewer a closer relationship to the final product. It is something that is achievable in real life.

While a painting of Starry Night by Vincent VanGogh can deliver a certain mood or feeling, the viewer can never fully experience what it would be like to be in the painting, they can only experience what it represents

Then there are also the photographs that serve as our memories. While each of us store away photos of the important events that make up our lives, we in turn preserve those memories, not only for ourselves later, but also for future generations. Many times the importance of the photographic process is not fully appreciated.

Much of our recent history is built upon photographs. How well can someone visualize the Civil War , say in contrast to the signing of the declaration of independence? From the famous photos of the Civil War, generations of people decades after it happened can still feel the tragedy people who fought suffered. With an event such as the signing of the Declaration of Independence, all we have is a single painting, with obviously posed subjects.

It’s hard to truly grasp the realism of the moment without a “living” photograph. In this way photographs preserve our way of life. Every characteristic from how people dress over the years to the way of life during certain time periods can be understood through photographs. For example there are debates as to the exact dress styles of the common man in medieval Europe, since the majority of paintings only depicted royalty.

Photographs were simple to take, and everyone from the richest of rich, to the poor urban dwellings of 18th century New York City were captured on film. In this way photography was not only utilized by the people who could afford it, but by anyone willing to learn the process.

Photographs convey something more than lust trends and historical events: they conveys emotion through the captured state of personal expression. Unlike modern day video, photography captures the frozen state of person, allowing the viewer to see and analyze an expression or mood.