10 Oct 2011

Question #4

Question 4. Why is photography important to us as individuals and collectively as a society?

Recently a reporter asked a group of tornado survivors what their most irreplaceable object has been. One after another said the same thing. The one thing they wanted to recover from their ruined homes was their snapshots. Their other material possessions eventually could be replaced. This reveals the crux of why people photograph: to save and commemorate a subject of personal importance. The image may be memory jog or an attempt to stop the ravages of nature and time. Regardless of motive, this act of commemoration and remembrance is the critical essence of both amateur and professional photographic practice.

What does this mean in terms of artistic practice at the beginning of a new century? There are more options than ever to pursue. Whether the images are found in the natural world, in a book, or on a screen, part of an imagemaker's job is to be actively engaged in the condition of "looking for something." How this act of looking is organized, its particular routines, uncertainties, astonishments, and quixotic complexities, is what makes photographers unique.

R. Hirsch & J. Valentino (2001)

Still, we laugh even when we forgot why. 2007. Sony DSC-W55.

曾经信心饱满地说,我会记得每一张照片的拍摄过程和内容。Hmmm…现在我倒忘了这张照片是我还是院儒拍的了。甚至忘了自己用过 Sony DSC-W55。可是当我看回这些照片,当时的情绪会油然而生。忘记了发生什么事、说什么笑话,但是仍然会觉得滑稽,然后不懂原因地笑。

那种纯粹由光引发的化学反应, 从数亿个脑神经中激发出那一丝回忆。

我说除了 Hirsch 和 Valentino 所说的 "actively...'looking for something'",摄影师有时需要 let your eyes open freely such that their are constantly accessible for the unexpected,才能及时捕捉亲友之间无常的神情举动。


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