Reflections on photography, thoughts, ideas, opinions and meditations on the art of photography and photographers, its poetic value, and deep literary and philosophical essence.
Photography is always poetic as it reminds us of past situations, emotions, feelings, anguish or disappointments distant in time and space; its strength is to revive in our memory a world that no longer exists and therefore necessarily melancholic and evocative, therefore it is similar to poetry which tries with words to obtain the same romantic effects on our sterile existence.
Carl William Brown
It is said that mourning, by its gradual labour, slowly erases pain; I could not, I cannot believe this; because for me, Time eliminates the emotion of loss (I do not weep), that is all. For the rest, everything has remained motionless. For what I have lost is not a Figure (the Mother), but a being; and not a being, but a quality (a soul): not the indispensable, but the irreplaceable.
The aim of every artist is to stop the movement, which is life, with artificial means, and keep it still but in such a way that a hundred years later, when a stranger looks at it, it moves again, because it is life.
A photograph does not simply capture a moment of reality, but becomes a communicative interaction between the past and the present that expresses the mood and deepest emotions of the person observing it.
Carl William Brown
Thus all photography seems guilty of surrealism, when it is indifferent and when it is compassionate, when it documents the past or ongoing becoming, when it paves the way for tourism, which then becomes destructive; when he is moralistic and when he is unconscious; when he accumulates random finds and when he documents the desperation of economic depression.
Recalling the past with the memories of one’s own memory in an attempt to make time flow backwards, bringing our loved ones back to life in one’s imagination, is a process, not without a certain pain, which helps us to approach the end of life more quickly. our days, at the end of our epochal duration.
Carl William Brown
We think that every mental processing is part of the Tagesrest, as Freud calls it: the day’s residues, composite images, the garbage of life. But Jung says that even our thoughts derive from pictures. So the task would be to bring them back to light, and the Red Book seems to do exactly that. Jung allows the figures to speak, to show themselves. He even encourages them to do so.
The ancestors. The dead. It is not a mere metaphor, an encrypted message to indicate the unconscious or something like that. When he speaks of the dead, Jung means the dead. And they are present in the images, they continue to live.
The photographer is above all a professional man, but even as an amateur he finds himself in an inevitably “existentialist” situation, that is, thrown into a part of the world, from which he in turn chooses and cuts out an even smaller part available in front of his lens. . He works in the given circumstances, but could employ his calling in any circumstance. We are all photographers and we all have our more or less temporary interests. And a professional or amateur of images is at the same time an artist, a craftsman, a designer, inclined, if he wants, to engage in the entire range of creativity, from the applied arts to the more abstract and conceptual ones.
The desire to photograph perhaps arises from this observation: seen from an overall perspective, from the point of view of meaning, the world is very disappointing. Observed in detail, and by surprise, it is always perfectly evident.
Recalling with memory the memories of our past life with loved ones, and above all with one’s mother, has the fundamental function of anesthetizing the pain of our present existence, that is, of trying to eradicate the tragic suffering of our current reality. It is a procedure that helps us deceive the linearity of time, making it more circular and affectionate, as well as more uncertain in its progression.
Carl William Brown
Photography, photo-graphy, means writing with light. Photography and cinema confer a kind of immortality, a pre-eminence to images and not to real life.
Herbert Marshall McLuhan
A capitalist society requires a culture based on images. It needs to furnish vast amounts of entertainment in order to stimulate buying and anesthetise the injuries of class, race, and sex. And it needs to gather unlimited amounts of information, the better to exploit natural resources, increase productivity, keep order, make war, give jobs to bureaucrats. The camera’s twin capacities, to subjectivise reality and to objectify it, ideally serve these needs as strengthen them. Cameras define reality in the two ways essential to the workings of an advanced industrial society: as a spectacle (for masses) and as an object of surveillance (for rulers). The production of images also furnishes a ruling ideology. Social change is replaced by a change in images. The freedom to consume a plurality of images and goods is equated with freedom itself. The narrowing of free political choice to free economic consumption requires the unlimited production and consumption of images.
Photography is a powerful means of expression. Used properly it is of great use for improvement and understanding. Used incorrectly it has caused and will cause many problems. The photographer is responsible for his work and the resulting effects. Photography for me is not simply an occupation. Carrying the camera I carry a torch.
W. Eugene Smith
Writing about photography is difficult, very difficult, if you haven’t done photography. To write about painting you don’t need to have painted, and the same about sculpture; but to write about surgery you need to have been a surgeon. And photography is a surgical operation, the camera is a scalpel, the darkroom is an operating room. Photography critics are like virgins who write guides on the most terminal erotic practices.
If these images can ever have a meaning for future generations, it will be this: I was there, I existed. I was young, I was happy and someone in this world loved me enough to take a photograph of me.
From the movie In One Hour Photo
The film of my camera has a reserved look and is all wrapped up on itself. He locks himself in a dark room for days because he is sensitive to light: he doesn’t want to risk exposing himself so as not to give a bad impression. He wants to remain objective.
The word “photograph” literally translated from Greek means “drawing with light”. Photography is in fact closely connected with light. The light that reflects on a scene creates an image, and constitutes an energy that in turn stimulates our synapses, our brain and our memory. The link between melancholic emotions and photographs representing past events is therefore profound and complex. This link can be explained through several psychological and emotional factors. In fact, photographs capture moments of our lives, often associated with strong emotions. The effect that photography generates is precisely that of finally making visible things and social environments that were previously, guiltily or not, ignored, and consequently “neglected”. This value aspect of photography can transform into vitality or sadness.
Carl William Brown
Good photographers are rare and indefinable, but they always have one thing in common, that of going beyond themselves, of being more than they could be, of having this little “music” in short of being a little ‘ miraculous. After all, those who are called “great photographers” are none other than those to whom this lucky accident has happened a large number of times, because taking a good photo is always winning at a gamble. The risk of the meeting, of immediate understanding, of its instant transcription.
The camera is a kind of professor: it teaches me to understand the world, to see how things come together. He teaches me to remember the past because he makes me look back. I obey occasionally, but not always. It’s like a person.
Arno Rafael Minkkinen
Certain photographers and certain image lovers sometimes prefer ‘not to run the risk of revelation’: when they have all the freedom to take, to take a photograph, they choose not to take, as if they deliberately wanted to miss the opportunity. They are content to photograph with their eyes, to mentally record the image. Nothing more. They don’t want to go any further. It is a rejection of revelation.
In general, art is not born from happiness, but is born from a discomfort, from a need to communicate something to others, just as literature is often fueled by the desire to express an internal discomfort, perhaps by telling stories, which in the end are not nothing other than the depiction of our tragic existences.
Carl William Brown
When done well, photography is interesting. When done very well, it becomes irrational and even magical. It has nothing to do with the conscious will or desire of the photographer. When photography happens, it happens effortlessly, like a gift that should not be questioned or analyzed.
Photography is probably the most accessible and most rewarding of all art forms. It can record faces or events or tell a story. It can surprise, entertain and educate. It can capture and communicate emotions and document any detail quickly and precisely.
The greatest consequence of photography is that it gives us the sensation of being able to have the whole world in our head, as an anthology of images; in photographs the image is also an object, light, inexpensive, easy to carry around, to accumulate, to preserve.
Degas loved photography at a time when artists disdained it or did not want to admit to using it. He took excellent photographs and I jealously guard a print that he gave me. Near a large mirror you can see Mallarmé against the wall, Renoir on the sofa; in the mirror, like ghosts, Degas himself with his room and Madame Mallarmé with his daughter. The price of this masterpiece: nine gas lamps and a terrifying quarter of an hour of complete immobility.
Photographs transport distant places into our homes and the past into the present. We all have albums (or drawers, if we’re messy) full of photos of loved ones and of ourselves when we were younger. Photographs satisfy our desire for art, they let us know things we will never see up close. And they are our memory. Of the countless photographs that pass before our eyes, only a few, however, capture our attention and remain among our memories, indelible images that often accentuate our current unhappiness.
Photography always has artistic, communicative, semiological, poetic, psychological, philosophical and sociological values. The images that are captured, printed and published have meanings that probe reality very deeply, and arouse emotions and feelings of a very high nature in those who look at them, stimulating, depending on their involvement, the memory and memories that make us relive the past and thus shed a new light on the present; Unfortunately, however, not all those who produce them are aware of it, nor do they stop to think or reflect on the ethical and aesthetic value of what they have created.
Carl William Brown
We take pictures because we can’t accept that everything passes, we can’t accept that the repetition of a moment is an impossibility. We wage a monotonous war against our own impending deaths, against time that turns children into that other, lesser species: adults. We take pictures because we know we will forget. We will forget the week, the day, the hour. We will forget when we were happiest. We take pictures out of pride, a desire to have the best of ourselve preserved. We fear that we will die and others will not know we lived.”
You don’t make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.
All photographs are memento mori. To take a photograph is to participate in another person’s (or thing’s) mortality, vulnerability, mutability. Precisely by slicing out this moment and freezing it, all photographs testify to time’s relentless melt.
It is a cruel, ironical art, photography. The dragging of captured moments into the future; moments that should have been allowed to be evaporate into the past; should exist only in memories, glimpsed through the fog of events that came after. Photographs force us to see people before their future weighed them down…
Ultimately – or at the limit – in order to see a photograph well, it is best to look away or close your eyes. ‘The necessary condition for an image is sight,’Janouch told Kafka; and Kafka smiled and replied: ‘We photograph things in order to drive them out of our minds. My stories are a way of shutting my eyes.
Family photos depict smiling faces, births, weddings, holidays, children’s birthday parties. You take photographs of the happy moments of your life. Anyone leafing through a photo album would conclude that we lived a happy and peaceful existence, without tragedies. Nobody takes a photograph of something they want to forget.
From the movie One Hour Photo
The photograph represents a death certificate but, at the same time, a promise of resurrection; it is an impassive document, but, at the same time, a fountain of existential tears. Even more: it obeys time and strikes it down; it sanctions a loss and replaces it with an immortal simulacrum.
The artist is a collector of images who collects things with his eyes. The secret of photography is that the camera takes on the character and personality of the person holding it. The mind works through the machine.
One evening a friend of mine who enjoys photography, invited to dinner, showed some photos he had brought with him.
The landlady, looking at them, exclaimed: “Beautiful, he must have an excellent camera!”.
When it was time to leave, my friend turned to the landlady and said:
“Excellent dinner: you must have good quality pans!”.
You can lie with photographs. You can even tell the truth, although this is extremely difficult. The cliché has it that photography is a mirror of the world and I believe it needs to be reversed: the world is the mirror of the photographer.
First let’s define what a photograph is not. A photograph is not a painting, a poem, a symphony, a dance. It is not just a beautiful image, not a technical virtuosity and not even a simple quality print. It is or should be a significant document, a biting declaration, which can be described with a very simple term: selectivity.
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