As photographers, we make pictures and photographs of reality. But a difficult question to answer is:
Why make images?
And also, why are images important to society?
To start off, what is an image?
An image is an imitation or a likeness of reality. In Latin, the word is “imago“, which goes back to the concept of “to copy”.
So in some ways, when we make pictures, we are trying to show a visual representation of reality. We are also trying to imitate reality, and presenting it to others in a visual form.
Now in the early days of art, the goal was to make paintings as “lifelike” as possible. When photography came around, it totally destroyed this notion. Why? A camera could far better depict visual reality more accurately (and quicker) than even the most skilled painter.
Thus painting evolved in a good way. Cubism (Picasso), surrealism (Dali), and impressionism (Van Gogh, Monet) came about. It showed the power of painting to create abstractions of reality, or to better convey an emotion or feeling, or a sense of force and dynamism (futurism) in painting.
Thus, it’s of my belief that the best function of painting isn’t to merely imitate or copy reality; it’s to create your own hyper-reality and to share that with others.
What’s the purpose of photography?
Nowadays I think photography is best utilized for similar reasons; photography is best used as a tool to create images that convey your inner mind and soul. To create images that convey your own inner-feelings and your perspective of the world.
In other words, the good photographer is the subjective one; the one who revels in sharing their very personal world and vision with others.
Create your own reality
So essentially as an artist, you’re not bound by the rules of reality. Create and paint your own reality; this is your job and task.
And also, never compromise your own artistic vision. This is the true badge of honor for us as artist-philosophers.