The Point of Photography

Week 0

Even before the official start of the first module we were set to work and asked to select an image that had personal meaning or importance for photography. We were also asked to comment on responses made by at least two other course members. In the event I was inspired to comment on five (and I could have commented on all contributions!) as each inspired my thinking about the meaning of photography.

Haunting and atmospheric yet subject to change as the mist lifts and light changes you can imagine the image having a very different impact. That is what is appealing about photography to me. Capturing that moment so that it is not forgotten as in time it will be lost.

It’s noticing detail that you could easily walk past without seeing. For me that is something of the essence of photography. The interplay between the photographer and the equipment. It cannot be described just by the word composition as it is so much more and here a story is potentially embedded within the image.

An apparently simple image with a potentially complex meaning. Stimulating our imaginations to seek an explanation, wondering whether it is good or bad….is it an institution, storeroom, secret room….is there a room at all behind it?

The eye of the needle rather than sharp as a pin! I too share an inquisitiveness about tiny things that we do not ususally see and which need magnification to detect! Much of natures beauty and manmade objects artististic appeal lives in minute details that contribute to the whole image.

There is a harshness and potential for a fear of sharpness in this image which is enhanced by being in black and white. It also reminds me of sewing endeavours and trying (with at times frustration!) to thread the needle!


My personal response was:

1 Jun 20171 Jun at 18:49

This image is fresh, taken at first light this morning. I chose it for many reasons in order to address the first task here.

*it represents spontaneity, capturing and freezing a moment. I was holding a cuppa in my left hand and the barn owl flew past. Luckily the lens cap was off and I could take the shot just holding the camera in my right hand. I had no time to adjust settings nor both hands to do it with unless I wasted my tea!

*it is a departure from my concern about presenting a clear focussed image and may even be a move towards representation (as I think it is unmistakeably a barn owl) and dare I say, artistic endeavour. Although I passed Art O level I was not good at drawing, hence liking to capture images through photography.

*it demonstrates my interest in nature and the beauty of flora and fauna. To have such an encounter, especially unexpected is a heart stopping experience and I find myself holding my breath while taking images so as not to disrupt and potentially destroy the moment.

*it is in a way street photography of the natural world where the street is the landscape.

*it is also important as an image to me because of declining numbers and the protections it now has. To have witnessed its fly past was a priviledge and an encounter I was able to report to the Barn Owl Trust. With this action completed I brought the sighting into a national and potentially global context where animal and plant species are recognised for the protection they require from the developments/societies in the world that threaten to destroy them.

I was delighted with and encouraged by a comment I received, having uploaded a pixelated image, when the term “photographic impressionism” was used (Shmelev, S. 6-6-2017).


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