Photography and Realism

March 29, 2016

Photography has been paired with the notion that it captures "reality". In fact , photographs are considered evidence of an event happening in a court of law. But does that limit the viewer's perception of that photo to "what really happened" or "what literally happened" in a moment in time?

I say no. And I'd like to prove my point by using a few of my photographs that are available on this website. Take this photograph for example:

 

BK/NYBK/NY

 

It doesn't look like a photograph at all ! To me it looks like a pen and color ink drawing. Does that make this photo not a photograph?

 

Or how about this photograph:

 

Lower East Side,  NYCLower East Side, NYC

 

Since when did I get the Superhero-like ability to melt concrete into crystalline musical note forms with my bare hands ( I wish )? But I can do it with some creativity and Photoshop.

 

Finally, on a sadder note, this photo , relating to the tragedy of 9/11 , carries within itself an emotional message.

 

Greenwich Village Facing SouthGreenwich Village Facing South

 

 

So  what is the value of all this "non-literal" , "painterly-type" of photography ?

 

By being somewhat "poetic and non-literal" the photographs take on a "metaphorical" value. And the message that a metaphor carries is one of depth of thought and sometimes (especially with the "9/11 related photo") it is one of carrying some kind of emotion or emotional insight about our human condition for us to think about.

 


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