What is Photography to You?


by Filbert Amory Uy

Photography has always had a dual nature to me. It is both science and art.

It is both simple and complex in that to a scientist or a technological enthusiast, it is simply a matter of optics at work focused by lenses and directed towards the sensor and memory card or film which is then stored to either be downloaded for processing or developed and enlarged with chemicals and apparatus and then printed using various printers or through chemical immersion and agitation and whatnot. And yet all these elements come together to simply make something we coin as art.

The reverse holds true. An artist will argue that various compositional styles and techniques must be considered in order to pre-visualize the final product. One must then choose whether to capture a moment or to alter events and elements to further enhance the aesthetic quality of the picture. Should an artificial light or strobe be used or will using ambient light create a better effect? Should elements be rearranged? It might be more pleasing to alter the depth of field or to allow a little motion blur to creep in to lend strength to the emotion the artist wants to communicate. And when the shutter button is finally released the work is yet to be finalized. This is done selectively through photo editing software to enhance or selectively crop images to create a greater impact – the degree of which is subjective to the artist. The final product is either a soft copy in the artist’s computer or a printed masterpiece that may or may not be appreciated by most but certainly holds a place in the artist’s heart. The technology is merely a means to this end.

At the end of the day, in any definition, I cannot describe photography without a dichotomy. Photography for me is both art and science or technology – I am emotionally connected with one while I am absolutely fascinated with the other. Photography is a balance between what I feel or desire to capture and what others think or feel when they view my images. Finally, photography is both a reward and responsibility – I feel pleasure in the mere act of making a photograph as it is a reward in itself, and yet it is a gift God has given me which I have a responsibility to hone and be excellent in.

For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. Matthew 25:29


(reprinted without permission, as this was Fil’s paper due in class today)

One response »

  1. photography for me is a means to prolong a blissful experience and take it home with me to be revisited time and again by looking at them and reliving the experience, knowing with satisfaction that “i witnessed that. i was there.”


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