About Photography

When a painter paints a picture, he is an outsider, looking at the world with amusement and curiosity. The moment is private, the painter looks at the world through the comings and goings of the world, at something that wasn’t at all apparent but which was always there.

In photography, a different social code protects both participants: the sitter and the photographer. The sitter, his spontaneity suspended and his best appearance displayed, invites scrutiny.

Photographers can supplement the fundamental attitudes of the human mind and body with the more extrinsic gestures of daily behavior. They can profit from the mobility of the snapshot camera, reaching into the world as an intruder and creating a disturbance. The photographer captures the spontaneity of life without leaving any trace of his presence.

Hence the detachment of the artist becomes more of a problem in the photographic media because photographers must immerse themselves bodily into situations which call for human solidarity: the photographer must be where the action is!

The photographic medium is immensely valuable for documentation, but it’s less suited to interpret or explain relevant aspects of what’s going to be shown. Illustrations are more useful if one desires to clarify spatial relation or tell what belongs apart or together because only drawings are able to translate into visual patterns what has been understood about the object.

Photographs cannot be self-explanatory. Their meaning depends on the total context of which they’re a part. It depends on the attitudes and motives of the persons depicted that may not be apparent from the photos, and it also depends on the values attributed by viewers to life, to death and to human beings in general. Consequently, when photography wishes to convey a message, it should try to place the symptoms it exposes into the proper context of cause and effect. This will always require the help of the written or spoken word.