Essay on The Role of Photography

Essay on The Role of Photography

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Presently, photography has transformed into a social rite that is widely practiced by masses as a part of their daily lives. People preserve their memories on a photosensitive film through their lens (images) and convert them subsequently into the form of images (camera). They credit these images as they do believe that the pictures will exist in immortality even though the event has ended, whereas the aging brains will drain their memories away. These pictures remember every single little thing, long after they have forgotten everything. Agreeing with Susan Sontag's idea in her essay entitled “On Photography,” “The omnipresence of cameras persuasively suggests that time consists of interesting events, events worth photographing” (311), N. Scott Momaday, Babbette Hines, and Jim Nachtwey say that people depend on cameras to chronicle the priceless moments occurring in their lives. The question is, do all photographic images always portray the truth?

Both the photographer and the subject have the ability to interfere with the result of the photography. The photographers, being able to either direct the subject or decide not to include certain distasteful things in their photographs, have no higher sovereignty than the subjects who are free to select their own poses and arrangements. In Picture Perfect, Hines acknowledges that we choose our truth, “You can even pretend to be happier than you really are...” (247). In fact, her idea not only applies to photo-booth pictures but also to photography in general. We decide our own facial expressions, behaviors, and attitudes that conform to what we want to be seen when a camera is forced upon us; they don't have to depict our sincere feeling.
But this is not the end of the story, how...


... middle of paper ...


...ulate the result of their photograph according to what they want it to be seen: diminish the unwanted acne, brighten the face, and make certain parts look slimmer. Remove all of the undesired objects and enhance it with extra adornments. Perfectly done.
But at last, how about the truth of the photograph? Is it okay to make it concealed?
The answer is so simple that many may have thought about it: they don't care. They are immersed in their own thought of overvaluing the role of photographs; the truth of the photographs is abandoned unrevealed as they are overwhelmed by the new look they created. Photography becomes their vital mask, and they won't let anybody to unveil it; they are disguising the truth. Dumbfounded by other obscure usages of photography, people unconsciously violate the main function itself: to capture and record the truth of their lives. Ironic.

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