The Power of Photography

By SnapSquad - March 13, 2019

You are a photographer. Professional or amateur, if you are like me, you love seeing people, things of all kinds and the world through a pinhole that opens to a different dimension. The simple act of looking through a photo lens seems to operate an instant transformation through my head: I forget about almost everything that is physically around me and to any preoccupation inside my head. Nothing exists, for a while, except for what my eye is focussing upon. More often than not, I feel pure joy. That, to me is the first power of photography.


Image Source: Time

The first power? Yes, the first, as I find it hard to cap this amazing art with one hat: “The Power of Photography”. After all, the experience of this power will surely depend on its recipient: the photographer or the viewer or even the person being photographed. Power too, is a double-edged blade, and even if your camera cannot shoot deadly bullets (unless you work with James Bond?), not all pictures are meant to seize happiness and beauty. Not all pictures will bring joy to a family, to a romantic nature or animal lover or to a fashion fan, yet all good pictures will stir emotions.
Being moved, visually moved is in our DNA. “A picture is worth a thousand words”! This, of course, is nothing new. This too is how opinions are made to shift, love to turn into hatred, and sometimes vice versa. Look at what happened to the French monarchy in 1789, well before modern photography: drawn pamphlets featuring Queen Marie-Antoinette brought an ancient and sacred political system to the guillotine with what seems to have been the first fake news with Marie-Antoinette as the first victim of tabloids! 

Fast forward to our 21st century and since Steve Jobs gave us the iPhone, we all find ourselves suddenly empowered with the ability to take amazing pictures which we can share instantly with the whole world through social media! It is not just reporters that can take opinion swaying images, it can be any one of us now.

So what has changed since WW2 photographs were taken, since Marc Riboud’s picture of a 17-year-old anti-Vietnam War girl demonstrator facing a cordon of bayonets with a single chrysanthemum flower in her hand? What has changed is that we no longer need to wait for TIMES Magazine’s cover picture, photos come out and are posted everywhere on social media. Journalistic information parameters have been blown to dust and pictures are everywhere, by everyone; sometimes I feel we are being flooded!  Yet, whether good or bad, photo shots have acquired an unlimited power to sway millions of global viewers’ hearts for better or worse. More than ever, the power of photography is to break boundaries between us, people. It is an amazing tool to share and bring happiness, but it can also share information that can range from up-lifting to darn revolting. Not that I have any choice, but I think I am ok with all of this; the world needs to be informed, as long as we let photos tell the truth.

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