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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

So, what is a photograph?

Is it art? Is it a documentation of our history? Is it a twisted version of reality? What is a photograph to you? It's a question I constantly pose to people. I think a photograph can be many things; historical, emotional, fantasy, reality, art, not art... Photography plays many roles.
It can be a reminder of places we have visited... or a reminder of who we once were...
It can capture a fleeting moment that we would like to hold on to forever, even though what is recorded as a little digital file and uploaded to a computer or printed on paper never can honestly capture the temperature, wind speed, or the pitter-patter of our heart at the exact moment we "clicked" that image for posterity...
It can trigger a memory... of a time when a child carefully looked between the railing of a bridge calling to an animal she heard in the woods. It can open a flood gate of emotion by simply taking us back to a time and a place. Photographs are excellent time machines.
Photographs are portals into our memory banks. I can look into one and be sitting in the Portland, OR Saturday Market in April of 2010. Honestly, I could end up anywhere at any age by looking into a photograph. It's pretty amazing when I think about it.
The truth is that it is difficult to say what a photograph is, or isn't. To me, it's all about the feelings the viewer has when they are gazing into the image. That's the beauty and power of life, of art, and of photographs.

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