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Author Topic: What Pictures Mean to You?  (Read 9982 times)

distant.star

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What Pictures Mean to You?
« on: December 15, 2011, 04:24:51 PM »


Here's a question I'd ask everyone to think about and answer is you can.

What do pictures mean to you?

People fleeing their homes in fires, floods, etc. always manage to grab family pictures if they have time to get anything. "Leave the jewelry, get that picture of Matilda on the pony when she was a baby!"

Obviously, pictures are important to most of us. Yet, I think we take them for granted most of the time -- we look at them and don't consciously think much about how important they are.

Everybody is taking pictures today. Cheap point & shoots are everywhere, cell phones are in every pocket. Facebook has billions on it's servers -- there were 750 million uploaded to FB last New Year's weekend. Flickr is in the 7 billion image range on its servers.

So, please, take a minute and think about what pictures mean to you -- pictures you take, pictures other people take, pictures of family and friends, pictures of people and places near and far.

I'm going to write something about this, so you may be quoted.

Thanks.


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What Pictures Mean to You?
« on: December 15, 2011, 04:24:51 PM »

thepancakeman

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Re: What Pictures Mean to You?
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2011, 04:29:07 PM »
I think for me it's pretty simple: pictures = memories.  When memories start to fade, a picture can help refresh and remind.

willrobb

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Re: What Pictures Mean to You?
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2011, 05:52:55 PM »
For me photos are memories as well, records of my journey through life.

I'm 34 now, I took my first photos when I was 20 years old. In my third ear of university I decided to spend summer in Asia and traveled through Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Borneo for two months. Up until then I had nothing other than my memories of life events and those memories were getting fuzzy overtime and I wanted to document the "big" things in life and so I bought a canon point and shoot 35mm camera with some manual functions and I started documenting everything that has happened in my life since then.

It started off as a means to make my own memories last, now I'm lucky enough to help record the memories of others as well. Although up until now most of my professional photography has been editorial, these days I am more and more drawn to wedding/portraiture as I get a lot more satisfaction from giving someone a memory they will cherish rather than an image in a magazine that's briefly looked at and then forgotten.

So I guess pictures are about memories for me and memories for others.

Kernuak

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Re: What Pictures Mean to You?
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2011, 05:54:23 PM »
Earlier this year, I self published a book. It had been sitting around with a few chapters "missing" for quite a while. Two of those missing chapters became the first two in the book, based on my trip to Nepal in 1994. Without the photos I had taken during the trip, those chapters wouldn't have been possible, as my memory had faded, so I think memories are an important part of it. However, more recently, there has also been the challenge aspect, to take the best photo I can and try to do justice to the subject, to get as close as possible to the actual experience.
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gmrza

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Re: What Pictures Mean to You?
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2011, 07:28:26 PM »
My first thought is inevitably about family pictures.  I have built up an archive of family photographs that now dates back nearly a century.  My father has brought many of those to life through written accounts of the lives of the people involved.
for myself, I am grateful that my father so enthusiastically chronicled my childhood and adolescence with photos.  The Zeiss Ikon which he used to record my growth has now been passed on to me.  (It awaits an overhaul, as I would like to bring it back into occasional use.)  As for my children, they must be the most photographed generation yet.
Since I have owned a camera of my own, my photos have been my own chronicle of my life as I see it.
A passion for photography is also something that my wife and I share, and a binding force between us.
Aside from the sentimental and emotional value of images, photography represents a technical and artistic challenge to produce an image which represents a point of view or a story.  As a personal challenge, I feel this embodies the value of a lot of images - they tell a story, in fact many relate two stories - the story of what is represented, and the story of how it was recorded (how the photographer created the image).
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branden

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Re: What Pictures Mean to You?
« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2011, 07:35:42 PM »
To me personally, while I value the documentary aspects of photography, I know that truly that's not the reason I'm attracted to photography. After all, there are many other ways of documentation that I'm not interested in, such as video recording.

No, for me, photography is entirely about artistic creation, and constantly bettering myself both in art itself and in technical mastery of the tools. To be honest, there probably is some gadget obsession mixed in. But the real fire driving all of my interest is simply that I enjoy the act of going out and doing stuff, getting the photos, reviewing and editing them once home, and then presenting them. It is a process which brings me Zen. My main audience for my photography is myself -- photos I make on hire I rarely treasure as much -- and I only strive to be better now than I was before.

Further, my own understanding of photography helps me appreciate the ubiquitous photography that surrounds us in modern society. From reviewing the archival photography that the Library of Congress hosts online, to watching movies in theaters, to the ambient photography ceaselessly performed by security and surveillance systems, I feel my understanding of them all deepen along with my interest in my own photography.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2011, 07:38:22 PM by branden »

Minnesota Nice

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Re: What Pictures Mean to You?
« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2011, 07:40:27 PM »
I'll give you two short and sweet reasons:

1.  I have bad memory (hardy har har)

2.  It's a way that I can express myself artistically.  My favorite medium of art.

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Re: What Pictures Mean to You?
« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2011, 07:40:27 PM »

thepancakeman

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Re: What Pictures Mean to You?
« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2011, 08:34:18 PM »
I know I already responded, but reading some of these other posts made me realize that I only answered half of the question.  Photos for me means memories, but photography means artistic expression.  And unlike many of my other "artistic expressions" such as woodworking, it's almost an instant gratification process:  push the button and presto: artistic expression! 

Well, to be honest, for me it's push the button, download to photoshop, play for awhile and then presto, but it's still a whole lot more instant than other pursuits.   ;)

JR

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Re: What Pictures Mean to You?
« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2011, 08:58:28 PM »
For me it represent not only memories, but emotions (the emotion at that moment in time) which allows me and my family to bring back those emotions by looking at the pictures.

Also, it is a way for me to express myself artistically...
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distant.star

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Re: What Pictures Mean to You?
« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2011, 10:33:56 PM »

Thanks, I'm enjoying what folks have to say.

I know a woman, Kathryn Rutherford, who does fine art restoration, and as much as anyone she has a powerful concept of visual art. Here's a quote from her Web site:

"A moment is an event that lasts all of a second while the memory remains embedded in our mind for a lifetime. A photograph records the event while a painting develops into a layering of memory and emotion that becomes a lasting treasure. Through art and photography a single moment reaches eternity."

Her Web log:

http://kathrynrutherfordfineartist.blogspot.com/

Albert Einstein (who is said to have disliked photographers) did like pictures. He said:

"A photograph never grows old. You and I change, people change all through the months and years but a photograph always remains the same. How nice to look at a photograph of mother or father taken many years ago. You see them as you remember them. But as people live on, they change completely. That is why I think a photograph can be kind."

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MazV-L

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Re: What Pictures Mean to You?
« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2011, 02:29:40 AM »
I think a picture should tell a story, much the same as a drawing or painting. The photo is the masterpiece, the camera and photo-editting programs the medium, and the Photographer the Artist.

gmrza

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Re: What Pictures Mean to You?
« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2011, 04:53:44 AM »

"A photograph never grows old. You and I change, people change all through the months and years but a photograph always remains the same. How nice to look at a photograph of mother or father taken many years ago. You see them as you remember them. But as people live on, they change completely. That is why I think a photograph can be kind."

You've touched a chord there.

In April, my wife did what most photographers know is a big risk to do - she agreed to shoot my cousin's wedding.  The risk paid off, and aside from some beautiful shots of the bride, we have as memories some wonderful photos of my uncle, who is now terminally ill with a glioblastoma.  The photos of him giving his speech at my cousin's wedding will be a memory with us for always.

Just a note: Please could I ask that nobody make any posts of sympathy regarding my uncle's condition - that is not appropriate in this forum.  What I am trying to illustrate is how lasting these images are in a life that, on a scale of eternity, is just fleeting.  Images cast a moment in time into eternity.  To some degree they make their subjects immortal.

Please keep the discussion at a meta level.
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Re: What Pictures Mean to You?
« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2011, 04:53:44 AM »