Photographs might be the most immediate and threatening type of image humans have ever created
Photography can impact on us like few other things, whether a photo is created, or a natural shot. Many photographic images represent what we feel and think, and, so many of us get mad, sad and outright shocked by how some photographers create and take their photos.
People tend to add more political and social meaning to an object once it is photographed. Sharing a photo of a person in their national dress can be highly offensive to another.
A picture of a young man with a beard might allude to the days of Ned Kelly and that transcended idea of Kelly as a national hero. Or now, any man with a bushy beard might represent our idea of a free-willed outlaw hero.
Pictures can bring us to tears
The mere sight of someone crying can make us cry, whether we know that person or why they are crying. Photography helps us to express our feelings, and maybe, even bring out or create feelings that are hiding within.
Some images once seen cannot be un-seen. Photos stick in your mind longer than real life images do. Today, we are obsessed with taking and sharing photos. Almost every one of us has a camera and takes a range of photos every day. The most popular apps and websites are for sharing photos.
Can photos tell the truth?
If you have used or work with Photoshop, it can make you believe that no image out there is real. With a few clicks of a mouse, you can remove, alter, copy over or even change a person’s skin or eye colour.
It’s interesting that almost every photo app encourages you to alter your photos in some way. It’s like the app makers don’t believe that an unaltered image can show the truth.
Is that what we think? Do we have an image in our heads of the perfect photo? And, that we have to manipulate every image to attain that perfection?
Photos can change our view of the world
This is what the pictures in the 2017 National Photographic Portrait Prize are telling us. They help to broaden and change our view of the world. Portraits represent us and they create us. They are not just a mirrored image of us.
The strength of photographs is in what they are and are not telling us. And, we all have a strong view of what is the best type of image that represents us.