Through The Lens - Part 1

Photography in the manual side of things is having a camera, with a lens attached, choosing some settings that suits your need of what you see through the viewfinder and pressing a button, then you have a copy of what you saw through the viewfinder. It’s as simple as that with the manual side  of the machine thats made up of things made by man and constructed together to make the device we call a camera, but how did someone work out that all theses things would make something that millions would use to capture a moment for themselves, or as part of their business and become established for there images? ‘Vision’.

Over centuries, people have had the vision to see pass the paintbrush, to figure out with many obstacles how to capture a scene and put it onto glass and then, to paper, to film and to digitally make an image thats based on 0’s and 1’s, which is the bases of computers that we know to today. All have had a vision of photography as the end product to make images. 

The image, is not defined by anything, its not singular, its not based around any form and can even reach outside our own planet, solar system and near into space itself. But it’s the vision of each of us on how we see things, its an individual thing based on how we think about something that makes sense to us firstly, which we then try to then get others to see same way we do. For the most part, the viewer sees lines, textures, colours, shadow and light, motion, things that they relate to, but its a snippet of the original scene that the photographer has controlled within the space that is limit by the lens and camera used in the first instance.

The thing is today, everyone can take a photo, and to them its a good image, if not then they can hit delete and retake, but the retake has to be better than what has just passed and deleted, and is the vision of what they see that has to be better. Vision is everything in an image.

The Selfie.

The word selfie hasn’t actually been around that long, it was first recorded back in 2001 when a group of Australians created a website and uploaded the first digital self portrait onto the internet, and then on the 13th of September 2002, the first recorded published use of the term “selfie” to describe a self portrait photograph occurred on the Australian Internet forum (ABC Online). The word selfie was crowned Oxford Dictionaries’ Word of the Year in 2013. 


This word, this idea of the image, has allowed companies to form or utilise the word and idea of the selfie, to have smartphones to have forward facing cameras to take selfies, social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Pinterest and LinkedIn just to name a few. The selfie is probably the most taken image around the whole world, and there are those that have made their fortune by selling the idea of how best to take a selfie, and actually uploading the selfies numerous amounts of times per a day, that makes them extremely influential in the social media platform. Some have even had exhibitions laid on to show off their work.

Some in the world of photography, would not call this photography, but then when photography first began there were those that thought photography had no place in the world of art or exhibitions around the world.

In less than 20yrs, there has been this explosion of images in the billions or more that has taken the world by storm in photography, and is seen as part of photography that is excepted as photography to many, yet the vision is of oneself or with a small group of other people expanded by the selfie stick, because of the maximum distance one can hold the device away from themselves to capture the image. Some have taken to push the boundaries of the selfie by way of a mirror, as bizarre as it may seem for one to photograph themselves taking a selfie, the new dawn of the selfie it may be.

The selfie is a moment in ones life, which can be spontaneous or critically made with thought of the background as way to show “I was here” moment. A snapshot that put together with hundreds if not thousands, tells the story of ones life, day by day, hour by hour. A celebration for that person that documents in a way that photography was really never thought of to be used in this way.

The popularity of the selfie is not for everyone, as the younger generation are the ones from 2001 have grown up with the introduction of the self portrait image.

As I look back at my own history of images, it was my parents or other family members that had taken images of me as I grew up, with less and less as I got older, maybe because my parents were not into photography in such a big way unlike other people I know, which are of the same age as me. It seems a bit hit and miss to how much of your childhood is captured by others. I have just a couple of images of me as a baby, yet today I see my children taking photos of their children at least once a day if not more. There seems to be an importance to photograph our family and the moments that document their lives that they can look back on, in such fine detail, which can be of the morning, afternoon and evening of each day, from the day they were born. To me this is fascinating because its a form of photography that has no care about the how, where, light, shadow, depth of field, composition to the image, just that its taken in that moment to document a life as it grows and grows, to only look back on as a vision of that moment. Being the vision of oneself or as a member of something like a family or group.