Photography...pros and cons

April 20, 2012

I got this interesting, er, view on another list to which I belong:

My friend Abhishek Hazra responded:

and on a related but different note, lesser seen variations of the iconic image:

Having posted that link, I’d like to post my view (of course.)

I still believe that anything in moderation is quite all right. I believe that over the years, the grain will be sifted from the chaff, much as the mediocre paintings have gone to oblivion and the good ones (sometimes) remain. And for every amateur photographer, there are, I assure you, the moments when one does not lift one’s digital equipment at all. but uses the best cameras in the world ( one has been provided with two of them!) though, admittedly, the memory card may be a little faulty.

Are we to believe that in earlier times, people who had cameras were not as addicted to photography, or other forms of documentation? Why, we live in an age that deifies documentation of the most literal kind, and vilifies other forms of documentation and perpetuation such as “karna parampara”. (I think the “karna parampara”, or aural tradition, is the reason why most of us can do a lot of mental arithmetic which is beyond the skills of a young supermarket assistant in a ‘developed’ country.) Why, then, bemoan the democratization of photography?

One must guard against perpetually looking through the lens….like all addictions should be guarded against. But we must also remember that it is from such lens-lookers that we might get the most amazing images that spread across the world…the eyes of that beautiful girl on National Geographic, recaptured again, years later; the young girl fleeing from the napalm bomb…Lennart Nielsen’s images of a foetus in the womb…Armstrong walking over the moon’s surface….Marilyn Monroe and her billowing skirts…

I grew up with LIFE magazine. Photographs have been a part of my education about the world, and beyond.Cannot do without them, even if I do not use a camera.

The homunculus uses 60% of its sensory inputs from the eyes. So visual documentation is predominantly important in our understanding of our world and lives.