Thoughts about photography

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We have been talking about photography in a module called Media Technology, and a couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about the same topic on my personal blog. I thought now that we are going through photography in this module it would make sense to put my thoughts about it up on here, too.  Basically, we talked about the meanings of photography, and the reasons why we take pictures (even in situations you maybe shouldn’t). I mean, if something out of ordinary happens, for example somebody gets in a fight, there will always be people taking a video instead of trying to calm the situation. The question we ask is why, why does this happen? Do we have an exceptional need to document everything to have a proof that the exact thing happened? Do we show the video clip of the fight to our mates to prove that we were there? I find the topic so interesting that I’m thinking about answering the essay question about it.

Another thing I found really interesting is the question do we take photographs, or do we make them? During the lecture I thought that professional photo shoots with models and make-up and dressing assistants is what you can call making a photograph because so much effort is put into a single photograph. Later on I had a vision of a photo I wanted for my blog in my mind, so I got my camera out and asked my mate to take a couple of shots. I had to change the idea a little bit because it was raining and I wanted to protect my camera rather than be holding the umbrella in the picture, but I thought the shots turned out pretty good anyway. When I got home I opened them on a photo editor and edited them the way I liked -adding light, contrast, sharpness and saturation, and took a look at the unedited photo. I realised the original was quite different to the edited one, and it hit me – I can also make photographs, not only take them. There is always an idea behind the photos I want to take, which is probably partly because I think of posting photos I take on my blog when I take them. I don’t think I would go taking photos and not think about editing them and putting them up for the world to see because through the five years of blogging it’s become a part of me.

It’s not all so simple though, and there are a lot of different cases out in the oh-so-big world of the internet. I don’t think editing photos is cheating, or tricking the audience. Some people, on the other hand, might say that enhancing images and removing spots or dark circles is alternating the reality. There’s a lot of talk about super-edited photos in magazines and how it affects the self-esteem of teenagers. The phenomenon is quite the same in the world of bloggers, who are often flawlessly beautiful and perceived as perfect role models. The fact is they only post the good few pictures, and you don’t often see the world famous bloggers posing without make-up in their trackies. Then again, on other social media forms, for example on Instagram you might see the most popular bloggers and celebrities show their bare faces or lazy day looks. Even though the internet is leading us into thinking that the most important thing is to look flawless, celebrities and bloggers every now and then write posts to prove they are not perfect and that they too have lazy make up free days. There is a certain reputation and image people try to keep up online. You’re more likely to see a post celebrating a successful application of winged eyeliner than mascara all over the eyelids. I am not quite sure where the phenomenon of wanting to seem perfect online comes from but I shall have to admit to doing it sometimes too. I’m especially careful if I’m posting a picture on Instagram, and a bit of editing always goes to the pictures I post. I wouldn’t say I take it too far though, and there are a lot of accounts on Instagram who only post pictures of cups of tea on white tables, and Victoria’s secret body sprays perfectly lined up.

The rest is free for a debate, I suppose. I don’t think I really have a clear opinion whether people should show their real life more, or just be aware of the things that might not be shown. I mean, everybody has days when they just can’t be asked, and there’s no need to post it on Instagram or on their blog. The angle, lighting and colours of the picture change the atmosphere quite as much as the editing done afterwards. I just wanted to put a couple of thoughts up and maybe provoke some conversation, or at least some thoughts. Next time you see a perfect picture of a bowl of porridge, there’s probably a load of washing up next to it on the kitchen table that’s just been cropped off. One often believes what is shown rather than thinks what is hidden but maybe we should open our eyes and realise that nobody is perfect.

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