Thursday, January 7, 2010

Image capturing - the new "instant literature"

What is happening with photography? Is image capturing and photography one and the same? My opinion is that while photography as a hobby still remains as one, the wider scope of image capturing has drowned out the world of photography in the mind of many people. I feel it is important to differentiate between these two. In the following, keep in mind that images and video are used interchangeably for the sake of discussion.

Firstly, let's consider what image capturing is. I propose that human communication has simply progressed from spoken to written, and now to visualized form. In visualized form, image capturing and image dissemination is fast maturing, thanks high speed broadband and smart phones. Of course, digicams still illuminate the way. Facebook and Youtube have become the new printing press, from which images and video clips are dispensed to the whole world. The ability to share images instantly is simply another form of communication; it is not photography in the pure sense of the word (i.e. "painting with light"). Image capturing for communication is what many, many people are now engaged in, even among many of those totting a camera everywhere. Perhaps one day, learning how to handle a digital image will be as important as learning how to read or write.

Secondly, consider what photography is. Photography to image capturing is like what poetry is to prose. Photography attempts to draw out the beauty of something seen. It is an art. It requires years of practice in honing the skills. While the public can generally tell a good photo from a bad one, a real photographer can truly appreciate the beauty of a masterpiece. A great photograph radiates beauty; whereas an ordinary image simply conveys visual information.

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