Photography is a Conversation
Written by: Tiffany Joyce
Those of you who follow us on our Facebook Page have heard about a bit of trouble we’ve been experiencing here on Beyond Megapixels. Unfortunately, there is a person out there who, with changing IP’s and e-mail addresses, has been leaving lewd, hateful, and very inappropriate comments all over the site. For those of you who happened to see them before I could delete them, you have my abject apologies. I think I’ve solved the problem, though unfortunately I had to make the comments moderated on the site.
This website is a place for everyone to learn about photography, and share their enthusiasm for the art. At this moment in time, I am providing content and administering the website on my own, as Steve is on a bit of a hiatus. Revenue, garnered through content-based ads and product links, is used to support this website and the contests and giveaways that we host. Whenever you click through ads or purchase linked products you help support this site – and we thank you!
Bluntly, I do this because I love it, not because it’s going to make me rich. I love the community that we’ve gathered here, on Facebook, Google+, and Flickr. The overwhelming majority of visitors are here because of a shared love of photography. We want to learn, share, and grow. I do hope this website helps you all to do just that. Unfortunately, rude commenters are an occupational hazard when you own a website or blog. They are a point of annoyance and frustration, but I’m not going to let them taint the overall enjoyment I experience in writing for this site and I hope you don’t let it affect your reading enjoyment!
Every day, photography’s role in our culture and our lives grows more pervasive. At the time of this writing, I have nearly 9,000 photos posted to Flickr. The photos have been viewed by people from all over the world. I also use my own photographs to illustrate techniques here on Beyond Megapixels. The site attracts 45,000 readers each month from the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, the Philippines, and more. I post photographs on my Facebook page and on my personal blog, and I maintain an on-line portfolio on 500px.com. Having photographs spread far and wide across the internet is fairly common among photographers, and for good reason. By sharing our photos with one another we can gain feedback on our abilities, and learn perspectives that may not have otherwise occurred to us. In a way, we are leaving our indelible mark on the world, posting a photographic presence that will last into perpetuity.
Susan Sontag wrote, “…photography is not practiced by most people as an art. It is mainly a social rite, a defense against anxiety, and a tool of power (On Photography, 1977).” I find this statement to be very astute. We do, of course, want our photographs to be attractive – worthy of framing and hanging on our walls. But the artistic perspective is almost secondary to the other reasons for taking a photograph. As a social rite, photography is impressed upon us as children to be an important and essential part of growing up. We are in photos long before we take photos – in our baby books, in our school pictures, in our yearbooks. It would be strange to not have a box full of our childhood photos gathering dust in a closet – the absence of which may even suggest parental neglect! As a defense against anxiety, photography provides us with a way to ensure we are remembered, and a way to recall the positive points in our lives when we need reassurance. It allows us to remember details we may otherwise forget, and capture moments we may otherwise miss. As a tool of power, photography has the ability to affect people’s opinions, actions, and reactions. It can be used to support and enlighten, and it can be used to hurt and upset. The information we communicate through a photograph imprints itself on the viewer’s mind in a more indelible way than reading a description of the exact same moment. It can be argued that choosing the right thing to photograph is just as important as choosing the right thing to say or write.
We are lead by our hearts and our enthusiasm when we create a photograph. We see with our own unique eyes, and we strive for our own definition of perfection. We compare our work with the work of others, and sometimes feel insignificant. A real change in my personal outlook occurred when I asked myself the question, “To whom do I wish to be significant?” I made the decision to be significant to myself and to the beliefs that I hold dear, rather than to the prolific nameless and faceless judges on the Internet. I photograph what I love, and I photograph how I feel. I take pictures to freeze a moment in time, to remember an occasion, and to chronicle our daily lives. I take my role as our family historian very seriously, and feel rewarded when they enjoy looking back on the moments I captured.
I take photographs because I love the feel of my camera in my hands. My perspective of the world through my lens helps to distill a moment into its essence and remove the distractions that may accompany it. I have amassed a body of work that I am truly proud of, regardless of who knows about it, who has seen it, or who “likes” or “dislikes” it. Above all, I feel that it is my great privilege to be a responsible and sympathetic participant in this worldwide conversation.
So, I want to thank the loyal friends and fans of Beyond Megapixels. I continue to enjoy this conversation we’ve been participating in each day, and I sincerely hope that you have benefit from our efforts.
Photo Credit: Tiffany Joyce
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