Impact of photography in society

“Everybody can take a snap shot but not everybody can make a photograph,” Collin Adonis, Photography Lecturer at Cape Peninsula University of Technology.

With the advent of digital camera phones, the expertise required to take a picture has shifted from trained professionals to literally anyone.

Pictures have become instant. Phones allow us to share pictures with friends, families, and strangers from around the world. Needless to say, Photoshop must be amongst the greatest inventions ever.

The impeccable features it offers for editing pictures is remarkable. Magazine cover models epitomize the impeccable results of this invention. The flawless skin and gorgeous chiselled facial features is the epitome of this result.

Despite the rising fear of disturbing or explicit images being easily accessible to children and society at large today, it is also a concern that people can be turned into objects that can be possessed by anyone. We are literally bombarded with images.

Nevertheless, it has brought with it a new method of capturing memories. It captures a smile, a tear and images of pain and suffering.

It may be a contemporary method of sharing a story. A documentary series of captured moments that tell a tale of a life lived.

It enables us to relive the moment and remember when we turn the pages with our curious fingers on that ancient newspaper, that dusty family album at home stashed somewhere on the racks, to that hanging portrait with gazing eyes on the wall.

I recall a day at home during the June vacation, sipping a warm cup of rooibos tea with my dearest grandmother as we basked on the heater on that cold winter’s day.

She showed me a picture of my great grandparents’ wedding day, that beautiful flowing white dress fitting elegantly on her petite waist. I observed the smiles of that day and that’s the beautiful thing about photography it not only captures memories but it also captures the emotion of the moment.

The feeling is contagious; the woman on the picture was smiling back with such an exuded confidence and an unapologetic femininity.

Imagine if we had no cameras to capture those times. Imagine magazines without pictures. How tedious and verbose newspapers would be without images? The nostalgic and emotive effect pictures add on a written piece play a role in an effective story. They prolong memories and history through captured form.

We honour the man behind it all who produced the very first photograph in his laboratory and introduced us to photography in 1825, Nicephore Niepce. Photography is an integral part of who we’ve become. We share, we capture and relive our moments by virtue of the shutter of that lens.

Odwa Shumi

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