Photography, the universal language

Diamond Head, Oahu, HI

        Now that phones have built-in cameras that are so easy to use it's become routine to take pictures of everything we like, at any time. This is a new phenomenon, a by product of advances in digital and computer technology.  Everyone is now a photographer, and the simple image software that comes with phones makes it easier than ever to create better photos. This was once an arcane specialty, requiring a familiarity with cameras, film, shutter speeds, darkrooms, and last but not least, an understanding of visual art. Basically, to be a photographer, you had to understand how cameras and film worked, but you also had to be a visual artist. Digital photography has changed all this, practically overnight. The mechanical and technological process of creating an image is now almost an afterthought. With the availability of phone cameras image making has become completely democratized. The implications are profound. What began, some 160 years ago, as a new way to produce a portrait or depict a landscape is now the universally accepted language by which we communicate and share information. It's the medium by which we tell one another who we are, what we're doing, what we like, where we are, and what we want. The new technology is also redefining all of this. Our very understanding of the world around us is now informed by manipulated images reflecting our own or adopted values. Photography used to be a way to document the world, and our lives. But as photographs increasingly become the way we relate to everything, and the way we stay connected, has this virtual universe enriched our world, or replaced it? 


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