A photograph can be either a positive or negative image. Most photos are created using a camera, which uses a lens to focus an object’s visible wavelengths (the light reflected or emitted from it) into a reproduction on a light-sensitive surface of what the human eye would see.
The word photograph was coined in 1839 by Sir John Herschel and is based on the Greek word ‘phos’, meaning ‘light’, and ‘graphê’, meaning ‘drawing’ – so ‘drawing with light.
Fifty years before photography was officially unleashed unto the world, in answering the question ‘What is Enlightenment?’ (1784), Immanuel Kant wrote: ‘Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-incurred immaturity. Kant was writing this at a time when a thousand years of Feudalism was ending, and he strived to define the emerging world order based on scientific method rather than religion, representative democracy rather than autocracy and market economy rather than bartering. Check out our extensive list of Wedding Photographers in Melbourne to help capture your special moments.
Enlightenment meant a clean break from the dark ages and a resounding turn towards reason, logic, and rationality. This rupture with the past and the launch of a new era of science, capitalism and democracy, was summarised by Kant in the motto ‘Sapere Aude!’ – ‘Have the courage to use your understanding!’ The invention of photography that flowed from this scientific revolution cemented the final break with saints and cherubs’ medieval iconography.
The reason photography was the most suitable visual form to reflect on the changing face of society, as it was reshaped by industrialisation, is that it is a product of the same industrial processes that replaced human and animal muscles with motors and pistons, accelerated movement to ultrasonic speeds and exchanged craftsmanship with mass-production.
Photography emerged from this melting pot of bodies, energies and machines as the visual figuration of a social order that made representation and subjectivity the cornerstone of its scientific, political and economic activities. According to the same logic, a photograph of a cat represents a real cat that maintains that paper money represents gold bullion (gold standard). A member of parliament represents her constituents, and H2O represents water.
However, in the 21st Century, this representational world order inaugurated by Newton’s laws of motion, Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason and parliamentary (representative) democracy, the “photographic camera” has already come to the end of its life. Even if some parts of this form of photography are still visible, they are in a state of advanced decay, maintaining a holding pattern while simultaneously being transformed by a new set of forces. The ‘Age of Information’ is characterised by the emergence of another kind of machine, one that replicates the activities and the processes not of the human body but the brain.
Just as during the previous ‘Industrial Age’, machines replaced physical labour not by copying animal locomotion (aeroplanes don’t flap their wings like birds) but by utilising different sources of energy (petroleum) and other processes (internal combustion), the new machines that we refer to as ‘computers’ do not operate within the categories of human reason, such as, for example, dialectics, subjectivity, or representation. Quantum physics did not obliterate Newton’s laws but showed that these laws apply only to a narrow segment of reality. Quantitative easing did not destroy paper money but annulled any possibility of money representing gold bullion or any tangible assets.
The Arab Spring did not obliterate representational democracy. Still, it exposed a connection between the democratic vote and fundamentalism, and computers did not erase reason and representation but augmented them with fuzzy logic, undecidability, artificial intelligence and the paradoxes of Turing machines.
In this new age of thinking machines, algorithmic processing, and vast computational speeds, a dramatic change is happening to the visual field. The industrial age was an age of universal visibility – as Foucault demonstrated by offering the examples of the school, the factory, the hospital and the barracks, which operated in the same visual order of perspectival hierarchy.
Photography had a clear-cut role in this optical regime, as Susan Sontag noticed: ‘cameras define reality in the two ways essential to the working of an advanced industrial society: as a spectacle (for the masses) and as an object of surveillance (for rulers)’.
The only thing that remained unrepresentable under the Western eye was, in Marx’s phrase, ‘the hidden abode of production’: the secret of profit-making remained classified. Even photography was unable to shine the disinfecting power of sunlight onto this secret because the process that produces capital is also the very process by which photography itself is made, for as we have seen, photography and capital operate through technology, mass delirium, reproduction and infinite exchange.
Suppose photography mainly concerns itself with representations of objects in space. In that case, it loses its relevance in a world in which speed, acceleration, distribution, and self-replication acquire a significance that overshadows spaces’ visual appearance.
The industrial age’s demise is the curtains for the spectacle of representation: visual surveillance is replaced with predictive policing, industrial processes replaced with trading algorithms, armies replaced with remote-controlled killer robots, and perspectival geometry replaced with the flat topology of the computer screen.
These changes do not mean that suddenly, what we see in front of our eyes does not matter, but that many more things that matter are outside our human field of view. The question is, what becomes of photography when the locus of power shifts from the optical nerve to the fibre-optic cable? What becomes of the public space when it is invisible but relentlessly morphed by global capital into privately-owned space with public access. When sovereignty, citizenship and autonomy find themselves under threat from multinational corporations and when.
Sadly, the answer has to be ‘not much has changed. As a recent visit to a graduate photography exhibition confirms, photography is still, above all else, the universal face of representation. To this day, photography’s carte-de-visite proudly proclaims that it can take any aspect of the world and present it to the eye as an image. Indeed, is there anything that cannot be shown in a photograph? The surface of a comet? Check. Someone’s pale ass reflected in the bathroom mirror? Check. A puddle of urine under a hospital bed in a shantytown? Check. Teenagers on the beach looking wistfully into the distance? Triple check!
But this is not all; identical images also press upon us from bus stops, magazines, mobile phones, notice boards, tablets and bags of cat food, to such an extent that it is often hard to know if you are looking at a gallery wall or the shop window of Primark. The astonishing diversity of subjects, events and situations that photography can attend to suggests at first sight that its scope is unlimited and its reach universal. And yet, these ostensibly Technicolor riches hide their dark secrets, perhaps best summarised by drawing an analogy to Henry Ford’s remark ‘you can have the Ford T in any colour as long as it’s black. In the context of photography, this means that you can have any photography you like, on any device, topic or subject, as long as it is a representation of something or other.
The problem is that in a post-Fordist society, the locus of political agency and cultural relevance has shifted from the object – as visually arresting as it might be – to the processes that (re)produce and distribute the thing. Methods, however, by their nature, are less visible and less representative than objects. For that reason, it seems to me that if photography mainly concerns itself with representations of objects in space, it is losing its relevance in a world in which speed, acceleration, distribution and self-replication acquire a significance that overshadows the visual appearance of areas.
In the 20th Century, photography existed on a printed page, mimicking in the perspectival organisation of its elements the hierarchical organisation of a centrally governed society, with its focal point located in the observer’s subjectivity. In the 21st Century, this arrangement is just as quaint as piecemeal production in the age of conveyor belt assembly. The photographic print disappeared everywhere apart from some galleries and nostalgic photography departments. In its place, there is now a bright screen that has one of its sides facing the human, bathing her in blue light, and its other side remotely plugged into an unimaginably large stream of data constantly worked and reworked by algorithms that are written and re-written by invisible and unknown puppet masters – our absolute rulers.
These algorithms pluck a few data packages out of this unending stream from time to time and give them a visual form that resembles what we used to call ‘a a photograph’. But this resemblance is superficial. The four horsemen of the photographic apocalypse: Index, Punctum, Document, and Representation can no more account for this process than a printed page can explain the operation of a computer screen. This is not to suggest that the algorithmic image is somehow immaterial or inhuman, but rather to propose that both materiality and humanity must be re-evaluated in the light of these bio-techno-political developments.
And yet, there is still an image, and the image can be of something or other, for example, a cat, a politician or a beheading, and this image can still be fascinating as we know many photos to be. But in a meta-critical sense – a sense beyond how we usually consider and criticise ideas – this fascination appears to be the defining quality of photography, precisely because the word ‘photography’ today names not another visual form of representation, but an immersive economy that offers an entirely new way to inhabit materiality and its relation to bodies, machines and brains. Johnny Golding christened this new materiality ‘Ana-materialism’. We can also call it ‘The Now’.
Within this absorbing ‘always on’ and ‘everywhere at the same time’ ana-materiality, the world does not come before the image, nor is it produced by the idea. Instead, photography is the visual figuration of a new layer of consciousness – in which new relationships to space and time, and therefore new categories of thought, play, art, and agency are emerging.
It would be hasty, therefore, to dismiss photography as a heritage practice from the industrial age. Above all else, as the visual incarnation of the algorithm, photography is shaping our world everywhere. From time to time, we can even glimpse this process’s workings in the images that it throws up. But just like the pebbles scattered by an ocean wave, these images are simply the by-products of a crushing force that acts according to a logic of its own. There is, however, no need to read too much into the shapes created by these pebbles, but instead consider that the urgent task is to learn how to surf this wave. As Gilles Deleuze said: ‘There is no need for fear or hope, only to look for new weapons’.
21st Century photography is this wave, characterised as a continuous process of reshaping visual forms out of data. It has little in common with prints in black frames – these coffins of photography. It will not be found in the ‘sixty inches from the floor to the centre of the image’ rule that still passes for curating in some circles, nor in the ‘eye level’ arrangement of images on walls that reinforces the rhetorical tropes of perspectival painting inherited from the Renaissance.
And 21st Century photography has nothing in common with the post-colonial document’s hypocritical moralism, which relies on the same symbolic paradigm that made colonialism possible. In short, 21st Century Photography is not the representation of the world but explores the labour practices that shape this world through mass production, computation, self-replication and pattern recognition. Through it, we come to understand that the ‘real world is nothing more than so much information plucked out of chaos: the randomised and chaotic conflation of bits of matter, strands of DNA, subatomic particles and computer code.
In photography, one can see how these forces’ accidental meetings can produce temporary, meaningful assemblages that we call ‘images’. In the 21st Century, photography is not a stale sight for sore eyes, but the inquiry into what makes something an image. As such, photography is an essential task of art in the current time.
Types of Photography:
Non-digital photographs are produced using a two-step chemical process: light-sensitive film captures a negative image (colours and lights/darks are inverted). A positive image can be made by transferring the negative onto photographic paper (printing).
The advent of digital photography has led to the rise of digital prints. These prints are created from stored graphic formats such as JPEG, TIFF, and RAW. These can then be printed out using printers including inkjet printers, dye-sublimation printers, laser printers, and thermal printers. Inkjet prints are sometimes called ‘giclée’ prints.
Suppose you love photography and tend to stop and look at the beautiful scenery around you and freeze nature in one picture. In that case, you are a type of photographer interested in photography called landscape photography.
Aerial photography is that kind of photography where pictures are captures from a higher altitude such as planes, air balloons, parachutes and skyscrapers. These pictures provide a larger view of the subject and its background.
Sports / Action Photography
This genre of photography specialises in capturing a decisive moment in the event of sports. Sports photography is one of the complex types of photography. It requires practice along with the various equipment.
One of the oldest types of photography is portrait photography. It can range from shooting your family members to friends to pets. It is often called portraiture, and this type of photographer abounds.
This type of photography deals with taking shots of structures, houses and buildings from different angles. The primary purpose of architectural photography is to create a positive impact on potential real estate buyers.
Wedding Photography/Event Photography
It is said that a newcomer in professional photography begins his/her career by practising wedding or event photography. But that does not mean that this type of photographer does not require any skill. A person dealing in this type of photography has to be an expert in portraiture and excellent editing skills. The demand for wedding photography or event photography is more. Looking for the best Wedding Photographer in Melbourne? Check out our ultimate list here.
Fashion photography captures models in glamorous light display fashion items such as clothes, shoes and other accessories. This type of photography is conducted mainly for advertisements and fashion magazines.
Macro photography is that type of photography in which pictures are shot at a closer range to showcase the subject matter’s details. The interesting macro photography subjects are flowers, insects, textures of interwoven things such as sweaters, baskets etc.
Baby Photography/Family Photography
Baby/family photography is another popular type of photography. Baby/family photography is conducted when a family is blessed with a newborn. The different expressions of a baby and the family members are captured in this type of photography. The whole family comes together to freeze one moment in time in this type of photography.
The genre of photography that focuses on animals and their natural habitat is called wildlife photography. Wildlife photographers also capture animal behaviours in the wild. Mostly these pictures are caught to be printed in journals or exhibitions. Many people practice this type of photography. Apart from a good camera, several lenses, and a strong flashlight, it would be best if you had the patience to click the right picture.
What Is the Difference Between Photography and Photojournalism?
Photography is defined as the art or process of taking a picture with a camera. On the other hand, photojournalism is defined as using photographs to report news stories. But what is the actual difference between the two?
Photography and photojournalism have a square-rectangle relationship. Photojournalism is photography, but photography is not necessarily photojournalism.
Photography is a beautiful art form where the artist controls what the viewer sees. While a camera translates the image literally in front of it, photographers still can stage photos and manipulate the scene. Additionally, with photography, many artists use Photoshop or another photo editing system to alter the photo’s reality. With photography, there are no limits or regulations as to what you create. However, this is not true with photojournalism.
In photojournalism, the photographer needs to have more than just the eye for the photo. They must accurately portray an event or scene while still maintaining a fascinating composition. Besides, the photographer needs to be fast and fearless and be willing to push boundaries to get just the right shot.
The article has a list of qualities that photojournalists need to have to make it in their field. The tasks that they face are often dangerous and fast-paced. While some photographers put themselves in risky situations for the right shot, photojournalists constantly face the unknown, trying to capture an image that will accurately tell a story and convey a message of truth.
The art of photography is very diverse, but nothing could compare to the challenge of photojournalism.
Being a wedding photographer is an ongoing learning experience that can truly test your patience and creativity, especially when dealing with demanding clients who doubt your skills. With the tips above, you should keep being creative and artistic at all weddings while also building a more productive relationship with clients. Here at Brighton Savoy, we have compiled an exclusive list of Wedding Photo Locations in Melbourne to help you decide on your special day.