Thursday, December 17, 2009

photography and storytelling...

I am tired of hearing all the time the good old saying..."a good photograph has to tell a story" or the even older "a picture speaks more than a thousand words". my question is why?

in the good old days photography was limited to a few genres. portraiture, photojournalism, family photographs (births, deaths, holidays…), commercial etc. i agree all these need to tell a compelling story to catch the eye of the viewer. henri cartier-bresson’s photographs or raghu rai's famous photograph of a dead half buried baby in the Bhopal gas tragedy both told a story as well as spoke much more than a thousand words.

but today, photography has moved on. it transcends the old perspective of photography as just a medium to catch a moment in time. yes it does capture a moment in time but does it have to tell a story? my contention is that a new genre of photography is emerging into the limelight (it has existed for quite some time now) – photography as creative art form. here the photographer uses the camera like a tool as much like a painter uses his brush and canvas and creates an art form. as with all art forms, a creative photograph is supposed to evoke emotions not tell any stories. a hussain or a da vinci painting doesn’t say any stories nor does it speak more than a thousand words. yet it invokes strong emotions in the viewer. so why does a photograph have to be any different – just because photojournalists ruled the roost for so long? or is it because photography is still not considered an art form?
to me photography is an art form – an expression of my creative mind’s eye as I see my subject – in my case nature. i try and see beyond the obvious to document the unseen so to speak. It is to bring out the beauty of nature in a different perspective – the way my mind’s eye sees it.

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