Updated: Jun 18, 2020
“The photographer shoots according to his own perspective, but when he presents his work to a public, in its reading their perspective takes over and it all comes back into play.”- David Moriyama
A photograph, often considered no more than a replication of reality, is, in fact, a medium for the photographers and audience to create their reality by enveloping the picture in their interpretations and emotions.
Meaning and interpretation to a picture are added the moment a photographer decides to click only a certain aspect of the daily life, from a certain angle including only some of the many things within the given space. That moment in itself is a representation of what the photographer felt was special enough to capture. The meaning of that same picture varies of course, for the photographer and different viewers. From 1839 (when photography was first introduced by French inventor Joseph Nicéphore Niépce) to the proliferation of high-quality mobile phone cameras today, photography has always been a tool which helps us interpret the world around us.
Photography is much like art. It is not just the clicking but an amalgamation of subtle intricacies like deciding the best angle, the best lighting, how much to click and how much to hide. Even after clicking, the photographer may edit it, increasing the value and trying to match the picture with the meaning the s/he attached to it. Photography then is a combination of meanings and interpretations of the person who clicks the picture; an expression of the real world from a unique view.
Apart from helping a person express themselves, photography has many mental health benefits and any source of mental health benefit is important during a pandemic like the one we are facing. Don’t worry, you do not need a humongous camera to click for your phone is just enough. In a literature review in 2010, it was found that art and photography have many physical and psychological effects. Some positive effects on psychological health are reduction of the stress hormone called cortisol, enhancing self-worth and helping to bring positive experiences in focus. Photography allows one to go with the ‘flow’. This allows a person to get some headspace, move away from their life hassles or worries for a little amount of time where they are fully engaged in the art of clicking pictures. Flow often occurs when you are transfixed on a creative task. Time disappears, you forget yourself, and you become a part of something larger than yourself.
Claire Victoria wrote an article on how photography helps her boost her self-esteem, confidence, motivation, memory and decision making, and also helps her move away from her distresses and get some time for herself. In her words, “I have used my camera as a tool to take time out and de-stress for many years but without knowing. I now have come to realise that my camera is my lifeline and a tool to calm my mind and ground me in the moment.” Of course, the pandemic has brought some challenges to photographers’ world over with restricted movement and living in the same four walls day in and out.
The pandemic ,however, is another challenge for an artist, a photographer, to explore areas of creativity they haven’t done before. From many YouTube videos to articles, photographers all over the world have been keeping themselves engaged by coming up with newer ways to click different kinds of pictures during this time. Some of the tips given are shared here as well:
Use mirrors: Mirrors are not only great for an OOTD selfie but for many other reasons. Small mirrors, broken mirrors all of them can be used to click pictures from various angles to get a different perspective every time. Use a small mirror to place it against yourself or an object and voila, you’ll have some very beautiful photos!
2. Windows: Your windows are your best friends. Each window has a different style, different lighting and different curtains covering it.
Windows: Your windows are your best friends. Each window has a different style, different lighting and different curtains covering it.
Pets: Your pets are beautiful as is and clicking their pictures from any angle, at any place would make your picture soulful and extremely likeable.
Your balconies: Even news has recently called our balconies our best friends. Just wait for the perfect moment, like a flock of birds passing by or flowers from a tree falling everywhere and take your snap!
Lighting: Play with lighting, be it sunlight or your phone camera. There are many ways to use your phone’s flashlight to get some beautiful pictures in the dark. On top of that using some tap, applying colour on it and placing it on your camera, will give it a tinted effect and you will get pictures with a natural tint.
Never be afraid of editing, edit in many different ways using different colours. Some very basic apps include VSCO, Photoshop Express and Snapseed. Just snap something and add meaning to it using these apps. Remember like it was said at the beginning of the article, you do not need a huge camera to make yourself a photographer, your phone and some creativity is all you need. Happy clicking!
–By Tanya Chandra