Value of a Picture?

“Ingenuity uses whatever little there is at hand, to preserve experience, to re-create an area of “timelessness”, to insist upon the permanent. And so hundreds of millions of photographs, fragile images, often carried next to the heart or placed by the side of the bed, are used to refer to that which historical time has no right to destroy,” John Berger.

 

We are constantly bombarded by visual messages. It seems overwhelming to live in a culture where we have pictures on our phones and in our cars. We can plug into movies, music videos and the internet. We all stand before an endless ocean of new magazines, books, billboards and advertising all begging to be looked at. With this constant visual download happening in our lives, does it cheapen the value of a photograph? What is the value of a moment frozen in time? Is it only monetary or decorative in worth?

 

The cliché answer is that a picture is worth a thousand words. But a photograph is more then a description of a face or a place. Pictures hold the potential to connect us to feelings and can crystallize our thoughts about events and people. In the hands of an artist the language of pictures can cut through the visual haze we walk in daily. Photographs can arrest our senses and make us feel apart of something authentic and real. We might say that pictures help us reflect on who we are and connect us to who we want to be.

 

Photography records the gamut of feelings written on the human face, the beauty of the earth and skies that man has inherited, and the wealth and confusion man has created. It is a major force in explaining man to man, Edward Steichen.

 

Recently the true value of an image was made resoundingly clear when a client sent a message that her brother had just passed unexpectedly. Obviously, they where very upset and having a hard time coping with the sudden loss. But her next statement struck a nerve. She said, “One note of happiness is that the last time we were all together was at my wedding and that was such a wonderful time. We are all very thankful for the happy memories we have in the pictures.”

 

Never have the words of the famous photographer Ernst Haas seemed more important.With photography a new language has been created. Now for the first time it is possible to express reality by reality. We can look at an impression as long as we wish, we can delve into it and, so to speak, renew past experiences at will.”

 

When reflecting on the important memories of our lives we desire to see images of beauty, intimacy and emotion. For example, swaying spring flowers caressed by the sun, a soft breeze from his lips when he leans close, a sparkle in her eyes as she dances in her white dress, or a father’s tearful embrace. These are fleeting moments of truth lived before our eyes. We want to stop and linger in these moments and hold them for eternity.

 

So we photograph them!

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