“Can photography change the world?” Hosted in Digital Photographer magazine..

Digital Photographer issue 75 UK’s fastest growing photo magazine “Digital Photographer” (issue 75), raised the issue “Can Photography change the world?“.

 

I was honoured to have my views hosted at the specific magazine issue, on the historic role of Photography.

 

As I was explaining….

 

 

 

 

“I could write thousands of words for the significant role of photography in shaping the history of mankind… but then I think I cannot! 

It’s a medium of only 160-170 years in age yet it has achieved what no other means has achieved for thousands of years: 
– to inform but also to manipulate, 
– to educate but also to support political propaganda, 
– to record the “cheesy smiles” at people’s gatherings throughout time but also to record the true struggles of life at the streets, 
– to record reality but also to “fake” events. 

It’s all that and even more. Of course one could argue that every other medium which could capture a picture could do that, be it photography, cinematography or even a painting… 

But there are actually two things which truly make photography a unique medium changing the world….. 

The first is the power of the millisecond

The ignored and unimportant millisecond which goes unnoticed and is squeezed relentlessly in everyday life, suddenly exposes its power through photography. This “unimportant millisecond” gets in all of a sudden a meaning of its own, and proves that so many marvelous things are happening during this tiny slice of time.

A glimpse between two people, a move, an interaction between strangers, a gesture, things which go unnoticed but are part of our lives, things which never become the center of our interest are put in full exposure…. 

Thanks to photography, we suddenly understand there is probably an added dimension, squeezed and lost between the hectic struggle of everyday life. And what happens in this dimension could probably influence attitudes, people and history more than other things… 

That’s why Dorothea Langue said: 

“This benefit of seeing… 
can come only if you pause a while, 
extricate yourself from the maddening mob of quick impressions, 
ceaselessly battering our lives, 
and look thoughtfully at a quiet image… 
The viewer (photographer) must be willing to pause, 
to look again, to meditate…” 

The second and equally important thing, which truly makes photography a medium shaping the world, is its unique ability to depict the true soul of people

I wonder which other medium, other than photography, could capture this flick of time with the anxiety of the mother in a bombardment running for cover with her daughter, like this classic photo of Robert Capa: 

capa0181

…or this soul-capturing photo of Dorothea Langue: 

d_lang602

These two unique characteristics of photography, have undoubtably made photography one of the most peculiar yet most powerful forces of change, since the mid 1800’s… “

What do you think?

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