On World Photography Day, we need to think about what the practice of photography actually is: an art or a science. Well, photography is as much an art as it is a science. The science that goes behind the lens to get the perfect shot, as well as the aesthetics that keep those photos etched forever. Visual thinking, as we know it, is the normal way of thinking for many – we may forget numbers, but we rarely forget visual ones. In this sense, photography, like any other form of visual art, magnifies human perception and allows us to experience emotions that move us, allowing us to see the world in a whole new light. As we celebrate World Photography Day today, we are not only celebrating the power of photography, but also recognizing its vital role in human life. This day is an ode to photographers and their importance in the evolution of photography to what we know today. The day also marks the global appreciation for photography, which has been democratized over the years and has become more mainstream for users, brands and the ecosystem.
As an art form, photography has evolved over the years and multiple museums and galleries display the brilliance captured by professional photographers. These exhibitions always have a story or sometimes even a social purpose. And that’s the beauty of photography as a medium: the 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 images to be present in order to be captured. This increases the human brain’s attention to environmental signals. A photographer is constantly looking to capture that one perfect shot – be it a “candid” or even a planned candidacy, which is all the rage among millennials these days. And there’s a lot that goes behind that perfect shot – from the subject to the background to the colors et al.
Talking about millennials brings me to an important factor that has led to the rapid growth of professional photography: social media. Photo sharing platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Tumblr have trickled down to become an integral part not only of our lives, but of the entire brand universe. Now more than ever, customers relate to brands through digital videos and photos. This has led many to adopt photography as a profession and, if not a profession, at least know camera equipment to produce quality content for their audience.
Whether it’s the trending #InstaReels or the boom in vlogging, it’s all been made possible by the advent of technology and its evolution. With the rise of digital photography that allows photographers to judge the quality of the image right after it’s taken, along with easier photo editing, a perfect photo is the end product almost every time.
Professional photography genres such as nature, fashion and weddings have always been more recognized, but newer avenues such as food photography, luxury photography, maternity photography and travel photography have become much more popular in the recent past. Hence, there are plenty of niches that one can explore based on their interest in taking up photography as a profession.
Photography may be a profession for many, but for a few it is a passion – a hobby that gives them comfort. Like painting or writing, a photographer is an artist and his/her art is like a breath of fresh air – not only for the photographer, but also for the public’s sanity and peace of mind.
It is remarkable that photography, also by amateurs, can tell beautiful stories. From the days 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 photos. On the journey to the nostalgic avenue, when we miss a loved one or a certain milestone in our lives, we have always found solace in photos. And we will in the days to come – because photography will flourish as an art, for what it has to offer us all.
C Sukumaran is the Director of Consumer System Products and Imaging Communication Business at Canon India.
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