Kemai provides a general overview on what photography is all about.
What is photography? Is it merely the word ‘photo’ affixed with the word, ‘graphy‘? In general, photography is described as the process of capturing images. Photography is much more than photos themselves. It is one of those things you can call a way of life. That is because it is seen often in our daily lives. There are many types of photography out there, be it professional or amateur. The types of photography that we often see commercialized are those of wildlife, weddings portraits and also in the field of journalism. These types of photography influence our lives in many ways.
One of the ways photography is most closely related to us is in education. Imagine yourself learning history at school with a textbook full of words. Plus, with the teacher talking about things you do not know, and for some of us who do not bother to enquire further, the learning process would be jeopardized as we will feel very bored with the subject. The point here is that, photography makes education more fun and interesting. A kid learning geography without any visual material would be really bored with that subject. Research has also proven that with visual material, children are able to remember and understand things more.
Other than that, photography conveys the idea of a person. Words tell us things, and so do photographs! With the aid of photographs, a text is more understandable and people can easily understand a statement which is difficult to interpret. For example, a brochure filled with pictures about tourism gives the reader more information about attractive places rather than words. However, do not think that photography is more important than words are. Words play a significant role in our lives and are important as a means of communication. A picture which is rather abstract is hard to understand sometimes and has to be aided with text to help viewers understand it more.
Carrie Latet once said “A photograph is memory in the raw”. Photographs hold a thousand and one memories for a person. When one opens an album of pictures, it reminds the person of his or her past. Memories are precious, priceless things because the passage of time cannot be reversed. One of the types of photography personifying this strongly is wedding photography. In 20 or 30 years time we might say to ourselves, “I remember this moment when we were madly in love together”. Furthermore, the memories that we hold can be a tool to bond with others.
The current issues surrounding us in the world include war, poverty, and animal extinction. All of these are closely related to photojournalism. Without people taking photos on current issues, we would not know things that are happening outside our own homes. In Bahasa Melayu we call this “seperti katak di bawah tempurung” (like a frog underneath a coconut shell) which means not knowing what is around us. We become more exposed to what is going on around us with pictures and words. People understand the situation better when it comes to war and the public are able to understand other people’s pain. In fact, pictures can incite emotions such as anger, happiness and even sadness. With this, not only it is just helping to spread the word, but we also get to help spread the picture.
In a nutshell, photography plays a significant role in our daily lives and I encourage everyone to accept photography as a part of their lives. Whether you are a professional or not, photography has already influenced your life, as well as mine.
Kemai is ReMag’s photography columnist.