Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Wednesday Commentary: What's Real?

The terms real or natural looking are thrown around in the photographic community often, but what does that mean? I say that because the second you pick up a camera, whether it is digital or film, you are putting a barrier between yourself and reality. Cameras, no matter how good they are, cannot capture the world the way a human eye can. No camera can match the selective focus, dynamic range or the depth of focus the human eye can. With that in mind, lets throw the idea of capturing what's real out the window, for the time being.

The idea of a camera is to capture what your mind sees, not your eye. For that very reason the idea of capturing reality takes a back seat. You can capture what you see, but that doesn't make it real. All you offer with a photo is a glimpse of what your mind sees. That is in essence what makes photography a great way to share who you are as a person, opening the door of your world to others in a way that simple words cannot hope to describe. For that reason photography is an art form, just like a painting, or a sculpture. Thousands of people may see the same objects and people you do, but nobody sees the way you do.

So the question is what makes a photo real or natural looking? To capture something in a way that looks normal to the majority of the people who view it, or by sharing how you see something or someone? When you decide which side of the fence you fall onto, that will help to shape your image making process.