Photography - Preserving the History of Tomorrow, Today

Taking pictures allows someone to document the world as they see it, to focus on the aspects, details and characters that convey a message otherwise only captured through individual perspective. To one person a bridge appears as a mode of transportation, as a way from point A to point B, while another perspective sees the geometry in its construction as a physical testimony to its purpose. The geometry of the bridge itself is moving forward, as were the people that built it, as are the people that move across it now. So as one person photographs a straight ahead view of traffic and people, another captures the rising frame and interlocking pathways that carry them.

This perspective, once captured, represents historical documentation of a moment. A moment viewed by perhaps hundreds of other people, but none with the same perspective, none with the same mental imaging, none with the same photograph. While taken through personal perspective, photographs are selected for literature, textbooks and media based on commercial bias. They come to represent a time and place, not as it was, but through a symbolic bias. Instead of an event defining a photograph, the photograph comes to define the event.

The photograph begins to serve a purpose, a bias. Any photographer paid for photographs serves this bias. Their subjective perspective is purchased to be used as an objective idea. The camera and photographer begin to create specialized gazes through which ideas, communities, locations and events are depicted and understood. This specialized lens controls the dictation of weddings, food, fashion and crime. Marketed by the media, this lens works to define and change socially accepted norms and trends. Photojournalism and editorial photography create an advertising lens that informs entire populations of what they should buy, wear and eat. Photographs now dictate what a population needs to live as well as what the individual person needs to be happy.

In today's society, this objectivity created by commercial photography is under scrutiny and being challenged. Multimedia devices such as cell phones, Kindles and iPod Touches are found at just about every event and situation. Their ability to record, upload and distribute photographs creates something to say. A history and perspective, whether from across the street at a local café or from the heart of a protest on the National Mall, gets written down, told and spread. These devices, through their numbers and abilities, work to reverse the cycle. A numberless population, once allowed access to one photograph, one standard and one perspective, is now creating numberless perspectives, sharing them and finding flaws in the standard.

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