Photography should be more than just a technical endeavor.
My photography perspective on the world shifts
Photography, even when I do not have a camera with me
My perspective on the world shifts whenever I have a camera available to take pictures with. Since I first started giving presentations about photography, I’ve been aware of this fact. Being ‘the photographer‘ at a party is a great way to avoid having to chat to people you don’t want to be around, but it may also leave me with the sensation that I wasn’t present at gatherings that I did want to be at.
When I have a camera with me, it is difficult for me to be a part of an event unless the primary reason I am there is to take pictures. This is not to say that I do not look for pictures even when I do not have a camera with me; however, when I do have a camera with me, it makes it more difficult for me to concentrate on taking images. When I have a camera with me, I am a photographer, and when I am a photographer, I find it difficult to concentrate on other things. However, I am gaining knowledge and am starting to develop the ability to switch between the modes of ‘normal human’ and ‘photographer’ almost at will.
The presence of a camera might put a photographer at a remove from the subject of their shot.
When I was younger, I used to take pictures of the people I was with while walking backwards up the ridge of Striding Edge, which is known for its jagged and rocky terrain. The relief that the party felt when they realized that none of them had fallen victim to the 2,800-foot drop on either side of the exceedingly narrow pathway caused them to feel thrilled once they had crossed the treacherous terrain safely to the other side. Even though I had stopped what I was doing to take pictures of the amazing sight of a helicopter hovering below us, I had no idea what the commotion was all about.
Due to the fact that I had been observing the event through the viewfinder of my Fujifilm S3 Pro, I had not truly experienced the event at all. My only knowledge of the near-death experience consisted of the compositions, shutter speeds, AF points, and facial expressions of the persons who were actually present throughout the event and experiencing it first-hand.
When I think about the photographer who took this picture of the captives, I can’t help but think that he or she may have also been affected by the effect of distancing that a camera can produce when it is held up to the eye. When the photographer was confronted with a hall full of inmates jammed together on the floor with barely a breath’s space between them, it is quite astonishing that the photographer saw not the inhumanity of the situation but rather a clean recurring pattern of spheres, lines, angles, and tones. This is what the photographer saw.
Because the photographer’s inner compositional eye was so dominant, a viewpoint was sought out that would enable a visually compelling and powerful diagonal to be formed with a row of freshly shaven heads traveling from bottom left to top right, with dramatic tattooed inscriptions appearing every so often.
El Salvador prison photography
When the photographer was confronted with a hall full of inmates jammed together on the floor with barely a breath’s space between them, it is quite astonishing that the photographer saw not the inhumanity of the situation but rather a clean recurring pattern of spheres, lines, angles, and tones. This is what the photographer saw. Credit: Presidencia El Salvador/Getty Images
I would think that the chromatic contrast between the cool grey heads and the warmer yellow tones of the bodies, as well as the dynamic three-dimensional waves that peak at the heads and trough between the shoulders of neighboring offenders, were both more fascinating features that did not go overlooked.
Naturally, this kind of creative portrayal of the situation diverts the viewer’s attention away from the content and the subject matter that is being discussed. It is an excellent illustration of how photography can “get in the way” of the message; those neat diagonals divert our attention far too much from what we ought to be focusing on instead.
The photographer prioritized their own artistic endeavors over the predicament of the people depicted in the shot, and they convey this in a manner that is unambiguous and which urges the audience to do the same. Either the photographer was inappropriately distracted by the composition, or they truly did see the people in the picture as objects. This reveals either of these possibilities.
El Salvador photography
In 2022, the little nation in Central America continued to hold a commanding lead over the rest of the world in terms of the murder rate. Photo credit: Esaú González/Unsplash
The photograph was shot on the day when the first group of 2,000 inmates was transferred into El Salvador’s new Terrorist Confinement Centre’mega-prison’ in Tecoluca. The facility will eventually hold a total of 40,000 unwelcome guests.
At first, I had the impression that the composer was a concerned press photographer who was attempting, albeit in a somewhat awkward manner, to bring attention to the apparent lack of care paid to human rights in the prison. In point of fact, however, it was released by the Salvadoran government, which is plainly eager to wow the public not only with its assault on drug cartels but also with the perfect creative flair with which it is going about the work. In other words, the Salvadoran government wants to be taken seriously as an artistic force.
In a nation that continued to have an unchallengeable lead in the charts showing the world’s murder rate in 2022, this kind of depiction is more of a boast in the vein of “all my own work” than it is a call to action for humanitarian organizations.