Photos have become part of our lives that we can find everywhere around us, but especially on the internet, where we spend a lot of time. We are so used to seeing images in every hour of our life, that we tend to overlook how incredibly important they are. Have you ever thought how dull and sad our life would be without photography? Well, this article is meant to remember you how lucky we are to have photography by highlighting 5 aspects of its importance.
Photography as an expression of art
First and foremost, photography is an art with full rights. A photo is a reflection of the artist’s – the photographer – own sensitivity, vision and imagination. One would claim that photography theoretically renders the reality as it is – beautiful, touching, violent, desolating, etc. – with no contribution on the part of the photographer. I would argue that, on the contrary, it takes creative implication and a good sense for aesthetics for a photo to be good, to receive the title of “art”.
Nowadays, anybody can take photos due to technology, but not any photo can be considered art. However, there have been talented people who have risen photography at an artistic level. The techniques they use, the perfect angles, their mastery when they play with lights and shadows, all of these combined with sensitivity and passion create incredible pieces of visual art. Just like picture or music, photography communicates states and feelings. For those who know how to behold, pictures have become food for the soul, that can heal, reveal secrets and instil emotions.
It thus has its well-deserved place among the other arts, bringing contributions to cultural diversity.
Photography is highly informative
Studies have shown that most of the information we receive daily comes through our eyes. Because they address our sense of vision, images are crucial inputs our eyes receive. Therefore, it is undoubtedly a rich source of information, one that is extremely accurate. Probably the most truthful visual representation of reality, photography is crucial in the process of human learning.
Through pictures, people can discover the many different elements of the world they live in, and, most importantly, they can get to know that part of the world they are not acquainted with. How would it be possible for us to know, in the absence of images, how a lion or an ostrich looks like if we have never seen one in reality? How could we know how beautiful is a city, without really going there?
By only using words, try describing a helicopter, a dolphin, or a pineapple to somebody who has never got in touch with these; then have them draw the thing and wait for the results! Or imagine how the encyclopaedias and the internet would be full of dictionary-like definitions of objects, animals, places and so on, instead of displaying explicit images of them. Our worldly perception of all these elements would be drastically altered. Photos, instead, can provide us with an accurate representation of what the world surrounding us looks like.
Photography preserves memories
Using photography, we can immortalize fragments of time and return to them whenever we want to. Whether we speak about special people we have met, significant moments we have lived or great events we have witnessed, there are thousands of memories we don’t want to lose. Whatever may be those things that we want to remember forever, photos are an excellent memories-keeper.
By capturing the most meaningful moments through photography, we will never lose track of our lives or ourselves. We can take a look back in time and re-experience all the feelings we had on a particular occasion, talk about them, laugh about them, or cry about them. This can be therapy, relief or simply an enjoyable way of spending our time. By making a throwback, we will realize how many (or few) changes we have gone through, how much (or little) we have matured, how different (or not) we were back then – a perfect invitation to introspection!
All the stories that photos tell will become immortal, throughout our lives and beyond: they will be bridges of communication between us and our younger selves and also between us and our successors.
Nonverbal communication on social media
Social media has become part of our lives and the main way of exchanging ideas and opinions, spreading news and trends and communicating with people from all around the world. The most popular among youngsters, Facebook and Instagram, abound all sorts of pictures that are nothing less than a means of nonverbal communication, the favourite of the 21st-century generations.
Taking into account the tendencies nowadays, it is understandable why people prefer to communicate primarily through photos on social media: it is time-saving, easily accessible and more friendly. It takes us less to post a photo than to write a text, and our friends also take less to receive the info communicated by an image than that of a written message.
We know that people spend only a few seconds per post on average because they get bored quickly. What takes too much time is usually left behind. And let’s be honest: we don’t always have time to read an interminable post, and we sometimes prefer an image because it is more concise, it takes less effort, more enjoyable and friendly! I’m sure you prefer to see photos of the places your friends have visited rather than reading or hearing stories about them, I know you like when jokes and anecdotes are accompanied by meaningful pictures, and you want to see nice images with food or clothes that are advertised on Instagram, instead of any written description.
Photography has documentary value
Photography is a valuable documentary source, which gives us access to past times. Through it, we can sneak a peek into history and compare the appearance of our present era with that of our parents’, grandparents’ and even elder generations’. The multiple periods in the history of our world have been displayed by photos over the years. Only these visual proofs of the past can provide us with a holistic and more detailed understanding of how humanity was back in the day, how they lived and what their reality looked like.
Scenes of important events in our history have been rendered through photography, based on which valuable historical documentation has been made. We can travel back in time, straight to the fronts of the two Wars or to concentration camps (like Auschwitz), which let us witness the struggles, horrors and hardships that people once experienced.
Using photos, the astonishing architecture of some cities that have vanished or drastically changed their façade could be restored. Pictures were essential, for example, in the process of a faithful reconstruction of many cities that were destroyed during World War II.