Philosophy of Photography and Art

Philosophy of Photography

In photography, most photographs are made in a brief moment, a split second where a particular event becomes unique, frozen within the continuum of time; a moment that would otherewide have been invisible to us. Photographs exhibit a paradigm shift between the present and the past whose key holds an unique meaning. The photograph is nebulous and mesmeric and has a quality that is deeper and more profound than just the object that it appears to be. Photography and Art tap into the very life force that drives us,- the confluence of chance, observation and memory; our journey into the other worldly and the mysterious in life. Photographs reflect our dreams, wishes, wants, and insecurities - a panopoly of memories and emotions, drives and intents. Profound experiences that enrich our lives, take on a spiritual quality and bring ephemeral moments of private meaning into being. Visual images serve as an abstract representation of the personal and collective unconscious, photography is all things to all people.

To take a singular photograph, for example, and to relate it to the 'real' event, there always appears to be a void present. The photograph is simply an illusion of ultimate reality, or the evidence of a lost presence from which it was constructed. The full reality of 'being' at the time of photographic making is never fully realised after the moment has passed. The photograph is but a 'thin trace reproduction ' which has left its mark on film, and is no more than a 'transparent envelope' of nature. A photograph arrests the flow of 'real time', so it continually presents us with an experience of the past. The photograph holds or preserves the moment, and presents us with a realization of time discontinuity. Photography has its own, unique authority existing through a combination of the elements it is composed of, whilst in the same instant, confirming a reflection of our own approaching mortality. There is a photographic paradox of death present in the photographic, visual image.

Photography and Society

Our world is saturated with visual images that function for a great diversity of purposes. On a personal level people like to collect photographs, display them in their homes and gregariously share them with others. They are important personal icons that we construct around ourselves which give us a sense of posession of the world around us and help define our place within it. Visual recognition in photographs may tell people of their place in the world, and give them an imaginary possession of it. Seeing tells people of their place within it by certifying experience with visual images. Photographs serve as a testament to the multitude of experiences we have lived and shared, both as individuals and collectively as a global people. History is embedded in them. What makes a good photograph is something very individual; our background, emotions, self identity, personal aesthetics, culture and language are all influential elements that embellish the detail of private meaning that becomes significant to the images we identify with. Photographs that take on personal meaning stimulate memories of relative, past events and emotions in our lives, times that otherwise may have faded away. The broader context of photographs that saturate society show us small slots of time and history that we never would have experienced, which is highly influential upon us.

Photography is used in the advertising industry to convey a sense of glamour envy in order to sell us things. It is extensively used in the fashion and glamour industries; editorial photography is used to illustrate articles in magazines; whilst pornography relies upon the photographic image for its own survival; photographs are informants of identity and are used for methods of social control. Photographs are polymorphic entities.


Philosophy of Art

The Artist as Creator - a Personal Philosophy of Art and Creative Practice.

Art and creativity in people's consciousness is all things to all people and a profound reflection of man's relationship with life. It facilitates an intimate process of communication with self and the world we build around us, reflecting a panopoly of memories and emotions, drives and intents. Art is a confluence of chance, observation and memory, shaping our process of self-individuation through change and renewal, learning and understanding. This ongoing stream of creative experience explores the mysterious, the sublime, the unexpected, the often obscure and otherworldly, bringing ephemeral moments of profound meaning into being. Art is a celebration of life.

Our engagement with art, culture and the constant flux of the world about us defines our sense of destiny and who we are as peoples living in different cultures, from small groups of people to whole societies. Culture is a social heirloom passed down the generations which imparts significance and meaning to our way of life and remains open to re-interpretation and manipulation, and is in a constant state of flux. Art and culture is an ever changing entity that shapes the world as we know it. It's a celebration of living in all its complexity and an intimate expression of the human condition.

Within our present milieu, where cultural values are becoming homogenised and losing their individualism and autheticity, art and creativity has the definite potential to fill the void that the capitalist dream leaves in its wake.