Monday, April 9, 2012

What is a Photograph?

Window at Le Gras by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce (worlds first photograph)
A photograph can be different for each individual person.  Some view them as tech-tile objects to be placed into an album - a memory of times past.  Some see them as pixels that are simply made to be punished.  Even others view them as evidence of something real.  Which one of these is correct?  All of them because photography can be different for each individual person. 

To me a photograph is simply two things.

1.  It is a moment captured in time.

  • The first permanent photograph was taken in 1826 by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce.  It was entitled "Window at Le Gras".  It was an eight hour exposure and the first image to record a moment in time.  It isn't much to look at but it revolutionized media.

2.  It is the photographer's (artists) interpretation of that captured moment.

  • Each photographer sees the world differently.  There are certain colors, angles, and perspectives that catch the eye of the photographer.  How he or she chooses to record an image is distinctly unique to that individual.

This is why it is vital to a photographer to discover how they see and what it is that drives them to produce images.  Once this is discovered their own unique style will begin to flourish.

What does a photograph mean to you?


  1. To me, it is 2 things: (1) a memory and (2) a vital document. But more importantly a photograph is NOT a piece of paper.

    Photographs are living, breathing, memories. When I look at a photograph that I've taken, I'm immediately taken back to that moment. I can often remember what was going through my head when I took it as well as all the other elements that was going on outside of the framed image. Whether it is a photograph of my kids, a deer in a field, or a water fall; it is not a still is something that triggers a memory and replays a real, live snipit for me.

    A photograph tells a story. From the fashions that we once wore (tight rolled pants with Sebago's & no socks), to how we once looked (for better or worse), all the way to the old dairy farm that is now a 200+ home subdivided neighborhood; a photograph is a living, breathing document.