180 years went by since Joseph N. Niépce took the first photograph. Today, we can only imagine what emotions accompanied people who saw the first photograph – first attempt to capture reality with such accuracy. With time and development of this medium, photography has become the field of creativity and art. The need for capturing the moment and registering human images turned into a wild urge of shooting everything. There was a major demand for portraiture that emerged from the middle classes during the Industrial Revolution. Photography replaced painting as the main medium for portraits, because it was just faster and more precise. Then Mr. Eastman presented his new box camera called “Kodak” (along with a very catchy slogan: “You press the button, we do the rest”) that made it available to anyone, who now could just portrait each other without a skilled photographer.
Photography has always been interested in details and extraordinary ability to stop time. It completely changed the way we perceive ourselves and the surrounding world; it gave us a new point of view, new reception of reality and most of all showed, that we all perceive this reality differently. (And in that case – what would be the definition of reality, if each of us have a different understanding of that?) The “photographic truth” is highly questionable concept, but we can’t deny the fact that it changed our perception and the way we look at so called “reality”.
The desire to create may be the result of a strong need to imitate reality, or on the contrary – the ambition to create something new and original. In XIX century, artists with their attachment to the traditional understanding of art were not happy about the invention of photography – they considered it a threat to painting that could suddenly lose its’ strong position, and that the art will no longer be art, because through the medium of photography, everyone – regardless of the talent or lack thereof – will be able to create it.
People have difficulties to reconcile with the fact that time passes and every moment of life is one of a kind and will not happen again. These days it’s much easier, because we all have photos of our childhood, family, friends and important events of our lives, so we can sort of go back to that moment of time looking at the photograph, that is like a code, trigger for our brain to look in our memory for the feelings we had at that time to attach it to the process of remembering. With just imagination, the projection of that image might not be as accurate, and so would the feelings we have during the process. So maybe that’s why people want to be photographed, because it gives them the assurance that if they pass, the projection of them will stay authentic?
Photography combines technology with art, uniqueness with universality, rational with irrational, conscious with unconscious … it’s able to overcome all duality. And this is definitely the attractive part of it, regardless of time and space.