Photographs are fascinating, they tell a story – they talk of a journey through life, through places, through events. Photographs chronicle an experience.
It is human nature to use visual depictions to showcase life. We have been doing this through the ages – starting with drawing major events on the cave walls, to now using our phones to capture every moment of our lives. Through this timeline, one major invention changed the way we recorded our experiences visually. It is the camera. Once we learnt how to use the camera to bend light in a way that stamped a reflection of events and surroundings in true copy, we started to communicate in a new way; that is visually.
So now photography is the most powerful medium of visual communication. In fact today photographs touch our lives in many ways – they talk of a simple event, or evoke powerful emotions that even have world-changing impact.
Even as we continue to appreciate paintings and sculptures as representations of human creativity, we are slowly seeing that photography, and photographs connect with us at different levels – they are creative, and they depict life in true form. They capture a moment, which a painting or sculpture might not be able to do. While a sculpture or painting is about the artist’s imagination, a photograph actually freezes a moment in time – it shows real life may be as its happening or how the photographer perceives it.
So when does a photograph become a work of art? Technically, it is when a picture depicts beyond the regular life. A photographic work of art generally takes the ordinary and makes it extraordinary. It depends on how the photographer captures the light, the dark and the colours. In all this you find a photograph that speaks to you more than the others; and it may not even be of the people or things that matter. It may be of an object, or the play of light and shade on that object that seems to touch you. This is when that simple picture – monochrome or in saturated colours – transcends as a work of art.