Purposes of photography

In a previous post, I began an attempt to categorise the purposes for which we take photographs (as distinct from why we do what we do with them after they’ve been taken). As part of this process, I have been looking for web posts describing why people take photos. An example is the Photojojo forum page: Why do you take photos? Alongside this, I have done my own little survey via Twitter and Facebook, the results of which you can see on the purposes of photography project page.

The categories of purpose I would like to begin with are memorialcommunicativecreative and investigative. Based on the accounts gleaned from the Internet and my own research, I have attempted to outline the kinds of photos these purposes might produce and how these categories might overlap (since the taking of a photo can, and often does, have more than one purpose). Not all of the accounts fit neatly into my current categories, hence the addition of a temporary “other” category for types of photography that require more thought. Continue reading “Purposes of photography”

What the photo shows

The After

What you see and what the camera sees are not the same. “The After” by Rubén Chase (CC BY-SA 2.0)

What is captured when a photo is taken of a scene? This seems important in relation to a theory of mine about photographic “levelling and sharpening” of memory or, in other words, the idea that what is captured in a photo is privileged within memory at the expense of what is not.

Photographs are not the objective recordings of reality suggested by the adage “the camera never lies”. Their content is more limited and contrived than we generally acknowledge. Continue reading “What the photo shows”