Thoughts on Life, Art, Photography, Technology, Teaching and Travel…..
It’s hard to believe that I’ve been seriously making photographs since 1973. I began my photographic journey in 1973 when I was a junior at New York Institute of Technology on Long Island, New York. I was a Communication Arts major specializing in Television / Radio Broadcasting when I took a photography course my junior year. The first time I shot a roll of Black and White film and developed it, I was hooked. I knew, at that moment I would pursue some aspect of photography in my life. Once I got Dektol and D-76 in my blood, I began taking photographs and practicing my craft.
Here I am over thirty years after taking my first photographs for that college elective course and my passion and enthusiasm for photography has not waned and now I am the photography instructor and have been for almost 25 years since leaving the US Army as a photojournalist.
The medium of photography has undergone some incredible changes in my lifetime. It has only been a decade or so that digital technology has transformed the industry and the way we make and process our photographs.
The arts of painting, sculpture, drawing and ceramics have been with us for thousands of years. Photography on the other hand was invented approximately 175 years ago so it is still in its embryonic state compared to the other art mediums. I believe in its short span of existence as an art form it has constantly evolved and continues to reinvent itself. Even before the digital revolution in the mid-ninties photography went through a variety of technical and conceptual stages.
When you think about the History and Roots of Photography”> and its humble beginnings you just have to be amazed at how so many disparate events and people had to come together at a given point in time to take photography from a theoretical concept to a technical and practical reality.
Robert Leggat states on his History of Photography web site,
“There are two distinct scientific processes that combine to make photography possible. It is somewhat surprising that photography was not invented earlier than the 1830s, because these processes had been known for quite some time. It was not until the two distinct scientific processes had been put together that photography came into being.
The first of these processes was optical. The Camera Obscura (dark room) had been in existence for at least four hundred years. There is a drawing, dated 1519, of a Camera Obscura by Leonardo da Vinci; about this same period its use as an aid to drawing was being advocated.
The second process was chemical. For hundreds of years before photography was invented, people had been aware, for example, that some colours are bleached in the sun, but they had made little distinction between heat, air and light.”
From its initial conception in ancient time to present day photography has evolved, adapted, and reinvented itself in a variety of ways.
History of Photography Timeline
I think that is what I love about it. Even though the principles and compositional techniques of making creative, unique and dynamic photographs has not really changed over the years the technical process has continues to evolve as the technology becomes more technically sophisticated throughout the years. Its all about SEEING!.
Seeing, in the finest and broadest sense means using your senses, your intellect and your emotions. The photographer best expresses a theme or idea by using good composition (visual design) to support the subject matter being photographed. Good seeing begins with careful observation of what’s around you. Always strive to look at the world in a new way. As you photograph it’s important to continually change camera position, focus and depth of field.
This is when you will stop looking…and begin seeing…lines…shapes…textures…patterns…and colors you hadn’t thought possible. By avoiding preconceived ideas about how to shoot specific subject matter you’ll truly begin to explore reality in ways that you have never experienced before. So go pick up a camera and start photographing!