On World Photography Day, we have to reflect on what the practice photography actually is — an art, or a science. Well, photography is as much an art as it is science. The science that goes behind the lens to capture the perfect shot as much as the aesthetics that make those shots remain etched for time immemorial. Visual thinking, as we know it, is the normal way of thinking for many – we might forget numbers, but we rarely forget visuals. Photography, in that sense, like any visual art form, magnifies human perception and enables us to experience emotions that move us, making us see the world in a whole new light. Today as we celebrate World Photography Day, we celebrate not just the power of photography but also recognise its vital role in human life. This day is an ode to photographers and their importance in the evolution of photography into what we know it as today. The day also marks global appreciation for photography which has been democratised over the years becoming more mainstream for users, brands, and the ecosystem.
As an art form, photography has evolved over the years, and multiple museums and galleries exhibit the brilliance captured by professional photographers. These exhibitions always have a story behind them or at times even a social cause. And that is the beauty of photography as a medium – its ability to evoke powerful human emotions and then initiate a call to action. Unlike paintings which can be based on fiction, photography requires real physical models, objects, or visuals to be present to be captured. This expands the human brain’s attentiveness to environmental cues. A photographer is constantly on the lookout to capture that one perfect shot – whether it’s a ‘candid’ or even a planned candid, which is quite a rage among millennials these days. And there is a lot that goes behind that perfect shot – from the subject to the background to the colours et al.
Talking about millennials brings me to an important factor that has led to the rapid growth of professional photography – social media. Photograph-sharing platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Tumblr have seeped their ways into becoming integral parts not only of our lives but also for the entire brand universe. Customers are now relating to brands more than ever through digital videos and photographs. This has led to the adoption of photography as a profession by many and if not a profession, then at least knowing camera equipment to produce quality content for their audience.
Whether it is the trending #InstaReels or the massive boom in vlogging, it has all been made possible because of the advent of technology and its evolution. With the emergence of digital photography that enables photographers to assess the quality of the image immediately after it’s been taken along with easier photo editing, a perfect picture is the end-product almost every time.
Professional photography genres such as wildlife, fashion, and weddings have always been more recognised but newer avenues such as food photography, luxury photography, maternity photography, and travel photography have gained much more popularity in the recent past. Hence, there are numerous niches that one can explore basis their interest when taking up photography as a profession.
Photography might be a profession for many, but for a few, it is a passion – a hobby that gives them solace. Like painting or writing, a photographer is an artist and his/ her art are like the breath of fresh air – bringing sanity and peace of mind for not only the photographer but also the audience.
Noteworthy is that photography, even by amateurs can tell great stories. From the time of physical photo albums to the digital photo albums, we cherish those memories and relive the moments documented on paper (or photo-sharing platforms) through photographs. On the trip to the nostalgic lane when we are missing a dear one or a particular milestone of our lives, we have always found solace in photographs. And we will, even in the times to come – because photography as an art will flourish, for what it offers to all of us.
C Sukumaran is the Director of Consumer System Products and Imaging Communication Business at Canon India.
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