Over the last few years I have been asked at gallery showings and by friends”Why photography?”and “Why do you think photography is so popular, especially as an art form?”.
Perhaps I can attempt to answer both questions at once.
My initial interest in photography began when I was 10 once I saw the prints of the photographs I was shooting of family members with a Kodak Brownie. At first it was the usual, capturing of moments and memories, that caught my attention. Eventually, once I started to get into various mediums of art I saw the camera as a way to create art in yet another medium. Soon I was shooting flowers in vases, shooting the skyscrapers laying on my back when I went with my father running errands downtown – anything I saw as interesting. Looking back, especially at shooting the buildings while laying on my back I can see where a lot of my love for the abstract photography comes from. Showing things as they are not normally perceived to be, different angles most do not see an object from, making people have to think to figure out what something is.
Macro photography, whether just close up to show part of an object or show a small object in full detail at a larger size is also something I enjoy as, again, I like to show things as they are not often seen. Yet I find I do not do as much of this as I should. I feel most do not take the time to notice the smaller details – the small things that complete the “big picture” which is why so many have trouble figuring out what some of my abstract photographs are of.
As for why I think photography is so popular and interesting to those who enjoy viewing it is perhaps that it gives people the ability,or better yet, the permission to stare-as long as they want- without feeling strange as we would if we were out amongst others just simply staring at something or someone, visually soaking in all the details. How often have we seen something in passing and wished we had the time to look at it in more detail? How often have we seen someone so interesting that we would love to be able to just look at them, their eyes, the deep wrinkles age has brought to their skin, the scars, but were raised with the thought that staring was rude. Humans are curious creatures and staring is not done out of rudeness but mostly just to take in more detail and information about what we are seeing. Taking visual notes, if you will. With a photograph you can stare as long as you like at that old man with the interesting features and deep wrinkles walking down the street, that section of the coast that you were driving by at 65 miles an hour without worrying about being judged for it.