Photography became prevalent when cameras became available to the public, starting from the late 1890s.
All thanks to advancements in technology, today we are clicking, saving, and sharing more photographs than ever.
Even though we click photographs so frequently, the need to record events with photography is still not taken seriously.
Therefore, the purpose of this article is to help you know why is photography important and create awareness about its roles.
Some people feel that photography takes away the joy of experiencing the moment.
While this might be true in some cases, one cannot undermine the role of photography in restoring these moments.
Apart from this casual use of photography, it is useful for creating cultural memory and archiving of prominent events.
A Picture Speaks A Thousand Words
Every single photograph is unique and selective and photography collections provide an abundance of the same.
A photography compilation might look insignificant at the time, but it becomes invaluable in the future.
The social, personal, and historical impacts of photographs are significant. The selective nature of each photograph speaks volumes of the truth that it can show.
Irrespective of the types of lenses, cameras, resolutions, etc., the details shown in a photograph can help you understand a context clearly.
With the growth in technology and the availability of cameras to almost everyone, photography has become easier.
However, it also means that the truth behind photographs is becoming questionable because people click photographs with passion but sometimes compromise with accountability.
Why Is Photography Important?
1. Data Source
When we talk about visual methodologies in research, then photography is an underused tool that has the potential to provide extensive data.
Photographs can be an informative resource for researchers because it captures static images of the subject. The images do not change with time and hence, are suitable for making appropriate comparisons.
Photographs are a good source of data because they capture information very concisely. They can inform us about people, objects, locations, etc., through a single frame itself.
Graphic details are easy to understand. Sometimes, certain details are difficult to write, but images tend to convey them appropriately.
At the same time, if you miss out on some details while recording the event, having a photograph can provide all details in a single frame.
However, photographs become a good source of data only when you see them in conjunction with evidence.
If the photograph is not taken with a documentary intent, it is difficult to extract significant details from it. On several occasions, photographs reflect the perception or bias of the photographer.
Such photographs are not ideal for research purposes because research requires neutral reporting of events without any bias.
2. Visual Language
You cannot undermine the role of photography as a visual language. Any other form of narration cannot match the powerful storytelling that a photograph can do.
A single image or a series of photographs is just like a beautifully written paragraph in a chapter. However, with an aesthetic implementation of the idea, learning happens faster than ever.
Learning the rules of grammar and syntax are essential to learn a language. However, visual language only requires perception to understand. Take the example of Geography.
While textbooks provide comprehensive details of the subject in various chapters, the concepts become clear when you visualize them on maps or diagrams.
Maps, diagrams, paintings, etc. convey details through visual language. Images like these dramatize a concept that makes it easier to grasp.
3. Entertainment Business
The role of photography in entertainment is the one that most of us relate with. Pictures that are amusing, funny, or explicit go viral on the internet every day.
While this represents the entertainment value of photography for the viewer, the photographer also seeks pleasure from photography.
Photography being a form of creative expression gives joy to the photographer.
The entertainment industry relies heavily on photography. A director of photography plays a prominent role in any project related to show business.
As photography is pivotal to hold the interest of the audience and get their attention, it has become an integral part of the entertainment business.
All marketing strategies rely on bridging the gap between the consumers and the producers. Using photography and imagery for marketing is a successful strategy.
It is because the visual appeal of a product helps in reliably disclosing its details. The consumer believes what he sees. Thus, by using exuberant photography, the producers can build trust among their buyers.
Moreover, marketing involves attracting more customers to view and buy products. Imagery is crucial to compel buyers for considering the product.
The interest and attraction that photographs create, cannot be matched by text-based communication.
5. Role In The Society
Photography plays an important role in society. Images cover all events occurring in society without missing out on details.
Photographs are, therefore, a very reliable source for the people to understand the society without being influenced by a writer or a presenter’s bias.
Good photography encourages awareness among people. Photographs capture the plight of the people in a society or the issues that we may overlook sometimes.
Skillful photography leaves a lasting impression of these societal events on our minds that force us to take cognizance of the situation and act accordingly.
You must have seen the infamous photograph of a three-year-old Syrian boy whose dead body was lying on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea.
The photograph made global headlines and was successful in drawing our attention to the Syrian refugee crisis.
Believe it or not, we live in a virtual world today where everything exists in photographs and images.
Even as it influences our lives greatly, we still ask, “Why is photography important?” It is very naive of us to ignore the necessity of good photography in our lives.
A picture speaks a thousand words. It is the skillful photography that makes it do so.
Be it the photographs taken from the high-quality cameras of 2020 or the minimalist cameras from the 1890s, the archival traits of the photographs justify their importance.
In all, even though the inconsistency in the truth behind photographs makes us question the role of photography, it does not take away anything from its eminence.