Yes, that’s fine. But then, what do we photograph…?
After trying to clarify (more or less) “WHY Photograph”, the moment has come to move on to more practical considerations such as “WHAT”.
To simplify the topic we will rely on short articles that will (I hope) give us
a hand with the… challenge of picture taking, always, let’s say, in an ethical way. Because, at this point you will have understood; I am one of those convinced that it takes more than a painting manual to learn how to paint. Or an essay on car racing to become a rally pilot. And it is very difficult to fish for trout in the mountains only after reading a comprehensive guide to river fly-fishing.
If Photography is as we know it today, it is thanks to Photographers that were often, at the same time, scientists, inventors, chemists or at least good craftsmen with a proven or learned trade in a Maestro’s shop for, more or less, many years.
All of a sudden all of this does not seem to be needed anymore. Nouns such as focus and blur, diaphragm and field depth, panning and long
shot by now have lost all meaning. A decision made by the major brands of photographic devices that “…improve thanks to the increasing social feedback”. And today, whomever has anything to do with a photo camera will find himself using (???) a “mysterious black box that he will never
Therefore, we, unknowingly, go back approximately 170 years to the dawn of photography when the light that entered a hole was captured by a plate and it all practically happened spontaneously (heh heh). And the photographer, no longer the Painter, was considered nothing more than an operator. But such “naturalness” did nothing but intensify the mystery behind this procedure and man’s faith on his newly found power to dominate nature. With the use (help??) of machines.
Thus, forgoing, re-convinced by the progress to understanding why and therefore how, we fall back on our vain ambition dedicating ourselves, at least, to “WHAT to Photograph”. And who knows, perhaps along the way we will understand even Why :). We will, therefore, begin with the next article on “The Portrait and the Figure”, topics that are and have always been on top of the list in Photography. Followed by: Landscapes, Street Photography, Conceptual Photo, Photo Stories…in short, we will not
leave anything out. Count on it. PdP
Vilém Flusser – Towards a phylosophy of Photography / B. Mondadori