Photography Affords Immortality 

by | Mar 5, 2024 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

Photography Affords Immortality 

by | Mar 5, 2024 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

Photography Affords Immortality 

By Niema Chakkor 

Since the day photography emerged into the world, the concept of time and identity changed. Things that we relied upon remembering through fading memories became a physical presence that will be remembered through lifetimes.

In other words, photography gave a new concept to immortality.  

Here are the reasons why photography doesn’t only immortalize moments in time but is also timeless on its own merit: 

  • Documentation and identification  
  • Capturing a moment eternally 
  • Symbolism and meaningfulness 
  • Seeing things under new lights 

The title of immortality has always been associated with divine forces and legends. But humans created a new concept, immortality through writing, paintings, sculptures, and now we can’t deny adding photography to that list too.  

  • Documentation and Identification  

Before photography, the only way to document and identify our surroundings has been through writing and drawing.

Documenting events and facts through writing, faces, and sceneries through portraits.  

Back then, the only way to make an occurrence or a memory last was through writing long texts to describe it.

Texts that could be easily lost and mostly wouldn’t capture the essence of the moment as faithfully as a photograph. 

In order to identify a person that you’ve never met, you have to consult a portrait, which often looks different than the real person.

Portraits were the only way to identify people, even noble and royal families used to send portraits for matchmaking candidates. 

Although these two methods are a good way to document and identify, photography was better. 

When photography was invented the prospect of identity was deeply shaken. This is an illustration drawn a few months after the invention of the first camera.  

Chaos is ruling over this photo, everyone wants to have their pictures taken or to buy the new device.  

But what’s that most interesting in all this is how portrait painters were standing aside eying the chaos while holding their material, clearly realizing that their careers were forever taken by this new invention. 

And a photographer hanging from the balloon snapping pictures of the chaos beneath him. 

  • Capturing a Moment Eternally 

Photography makes memories unfading; a moment taken in a picture is as if it was frozen in time eternally. Whenever you feel like you want to relive it and see it again, all you have to do is look at the picture. 

Photography has not only captured moments making them into physical memories to go back to whenever we feel like it. It also immortalized them in time, capturing the essence of the moment forever. 

During the war, photographers around the world tried to portrait the events and catch as many moments of the chaos as possible. Some even made it their mission to follow along and document everything.  

Some say that’s photographers’ compulsion. Some assume that they wanted to show the world what was happening in that little corner through their lenses.  

Regardless of the reasons why they did it. Those photographers managed to document those moments in history, in a way that allowed us, a century, later to see what they were experiencing.  

Their photos made history, and history is immortal. 

  • Symbolism and Meaningfulness 

A photograph can be so meaningful without uttering a word. Amid a fast-paced life, the world moves around.

Whether they were seen or not, some moments come and go so quickly that the naked eyedoesn’t have the time to see and appreciate it for what it is. 

 Most people when asked what they would rescue from a burning house, most would say family pictures.

Not because of the physical value of those pictures, but because of the sentimental meaning they have. 

A photo goes beyond the measure of portraying a subject or marking a moment. It entails the feelings and symbolism that pictures hold. And that meaning and symbol remains as long as that picture exists. 

The photo doesn’t have to hold a sentimental or personal link to mean something. Let’s take as a simple example the famous picture of “The Starving Child and The Vulture”.

It doesn’t have a personal meaning to most of the world, yet the tragic photo raised so many mixed emotions from people around the world and left an impact that made it unforgettable. 

  • Seeing Things Under New Lights 

There are moments in life that pass us by without even noticing, and when we go back to looking at them in a photo, that is often taken mindlessly, we find new meanings and aspects and even notice new details. 

A horse mid-jump, the moment a drop of water falls into a puddle, or when a wave crashes against the sand. All those are things that we can see, but unless they’re caught in a photo we don’t really know what they’re like. 

When we say photography offers a new concept, it doesn’t concern just the details that pass by too fast for us to notice.

Sometimes, something as simple as a sunset or a flower, when we look back at their photos we start seeing new things we didn’t see before. Color changes, inclinations, and backgrounds… 

Is Photography an immortal art? 

By the way technology changes so fast, it’s normal to wonder if the time when photography becomes a lost art would come. 

Still, let’s look back into the past. Photography had all but replaced portraits, but the painting profession didn’t die. Instead, it became a highly sought and pricey profession. 

The same goes for photography. There’s no replacing the function of a camera, but with the growth of tech, perhaps a computer could take over the job of a photograph.

But no matter how machines advance, the flicker of the hand of a photograph at the moment the perfect opportunity presents itself can never be replaced. 

So on that account, Photography is an immortal art too… 

Sources: Picturecorrect, WMA, DigitalPhotoMentor 


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