Photography is both an art and a science. Photography allows us to express our feeling and emotions, but to do so we need to master the scientific part of the medium. Unlike a painter, who is in direct contact with his subject and his canvas, a photographer is separated from his subject by the camera and from his “canvas” by computers and printers today and by darkroom equipment previously.
The scientific aspects of photography can be both overwhelming and fascinating, so much so that for some photographers photography comes to be just that: a scientific process that they attempt to master over their lifetime. However, to achieve mastery of the technical side of photography is to address only one of the two aspects of photography. The result is often technically excellent photographs that lack emotion and “seeing” qualities.
From equipment reviews, to image processing techniques, to tips on how to be a more efficient photographer, to stories about what works and what doesn’t, there is no shortage of material on the subject. Nothing wrong with that. In fact, I have contributed my share of articles on this subject and I will continue to do so. Again, the scientific aspect of photography is very important and learning as much as you can about it is certainly worth your time and efforts.
However, learning about the artistic aspect of photography is just as important. Unfortunately, there is a much lesser amount of information on photography as art. Far fewer essays are being written, far fewer discussions are taking place, and far less information, help and tips are available. It is as if photographers, for the most part, discovered how much they have to learn about photographic science and, overwhelmed and enchanted by equipment and technique, stopped there and looked no further. It may also be that some photographers, or photographic instructors, are uncomfortable writing about photography as art, or lack the practice and knowledge to do so.
Copyright 2011 by Reflections on Photography & Arts