Redefining the Image
I have learned that a photo can truly be anything. From the reflection in a puddle after a thunderstorm to what’s left behind of a footprint, anything can be an image if it is given enough reasoning behind it. Photography is essentially modeled after our own eyes, using light to transfer the world around us right into our hands (metaphorically of course). It is astounding to think about how many photographs have been taken throughout human history, both with a camera and without. Yet since the invention of the camera in 1839 proved to give us an entirely new medium to work with, and you do not need to be an artist or a master philosopher to produce your own photographs. According to John Szarkowki, a famed photographer during the 20th century, there are 5 categorical characteristics that are only found in photography:
The thing itself:
And the vantage point:
The thing itself is more about how photography can only show the truth and the “actual” — the photograph cannot lie. The detail means that it shows every part of what is happening inside of the frame, and carries within it the facts about the thing itself. The frame, however, shows that the photo cannot be continuous, but rather a very specific, selective moment in time and place. Time in photography shows us, inside this frame, the very second when it was captured, containing that moment and that moment only. Lastly, vantage point is from where the picture was captured, and each vantage point can give us a different meaning and view of that moment.
I thought about many ways I could create a photograph without a camera or a piece of paper, from muddy paw prints to reflections of puddles in the road to the marks of nature itself. Yet, I did not find these to be as intriguing as I would have liked. And, though it may sound cheesy, I found myself going back to my original idea of the eye itself. I am sure many a photography philosopher (if those do indeed exist) will have already come up with the idea that the eye is the original camera, and is what allows us to take a photo in the first place. The camera was even modeled after the eye! And I am sure trying to focus a camera without being able to see would be dreadfully difficult. So, I took a photo of my eye, yet it seemed quite bland. I began to think of how your eye is able to look at a photo of your eye, which is quite meta in itself, and thought it would be more interesting (and creepy I do admit) to continuously have the eye looking at itself:
And yes, that is my own eye. It is quite difficult to take a focused close-up photo of your eye I have found. And although it is creepy, I do think that it was the most intriguing representation I could use, as my photograph was already a part of me.