The Definition of Photography

About: I've been doing photography since I was around 11 years old as well as graphic design and digital film. My favorite camera is my Nikon D3500 (with its 18-55mm and 70-300mm lens). My favorite style of photogr...

A vast majority of this world owns a camera. Whether it be a smartphone, film camera, or digital-SLR, the popularity of owning a camera is increasing dramatically in the 21st Century. In 2018, a total of around 6.6 million cameras were sold globally! In the past five years, I have been given at least three cameras. Each one was better than the previous. The expense of cameras is dramatically increasing as well. The most expensive digital camera, the Leica S, is currently selling for $154,688.There are many definitions to photography, though some are more technical than one might think. So what is a helpful definition of ‘photography’? How do cameras even take photos? And why do so many people enjoy this popular hobby?

According to the online dictionary, photography is ‘the art or practice of taking or processing photographs on sensitive surfaces by the chemical action of light or other forms of radiant energy (x-rays, gamma rays, and/or cosmic rays)’. Before digital cameras were invented, people used film cameras. Film cameras use strips of film that, when struck with light, forms a photo ー the film is later processed to create the final image. Nowadays, people use digital cameras for photography (either compact digital or DSLR). On any standard digital camera, there is a circular button called the ‘shutter’. When pressed down, the aperture opens up on the front end of the camera lens. Light leaks through that aperture and is captured electrically either by a charge-coupled device (CCD) or a CMOS image sensor. The final image data is stored onto a little memory card that acts like a flash drive. There is a much deeper meaning to photography, however than understanding the technical savvy of cameras.

As an experienced photographer, I would define photography as an art of freezing life for the purpose of creating memories of events that have changed our lives. Many people would agree that it is extremely important to capture what you love. The beauty and wonder of wildlife and the nature that surrounds us is especially intriguing to me. I enjoy this style of photography because it reminds me of why God created life. He created life because He loves us and wants us to enjoy these gifts. I have learned that nature has can affect your emotions, especially when photographing it.

There is a big difference between someone who simply takes pictures and a professional photographer. Or to put it as a common question that many people ask, “What is the difference between a professional photographer and someone who just likes taking photos?”. Professional photographers do more than just study their subjects and use expensive equipment to produce stunning photos. They have a deep passion for what they do. Years of hard practice and patience are how many photographers achieve the level of professionalism. Whether it be a blurry photo or one with not enough light, these great photographers reach their skill level by learning from their mistakes. Photographer Aaron Siskind explained that “photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving… it remembers little long after you have forgotten everything.” We all want to keep and cherish all of our happy memories. Whether it be that magical first family trip to Disney World or his and her romantic visit to France. Capturing those memories spark happiness when we see those pictures years afterward. Not all amazing photos have to be the ones taken at popular and expensive cities or even at the beautiful National Parks. Many photographers will take a photo, glance at it, and store it away. Months or even years later, when they pull it out from their files, they will be viewing the photo with a fresh pair of eyes and be able to explore new details. Unlike artists who begin with an empty white canvas, photographers are already onboard and are able to start with the finished piece. Why is this? The world around us is the finished piece of art. We are the ones who must decide when to take a photo of it and where. Simply put, we must take the photo. Taking the photo is the most important part. Without it, taking action, we will never be able to review those awesome memories.

People enjoy photography because it is a fun way to capture memories and hold them up close to our hearts forever. Photography is much more than mechanical engineering of wires and super expensive equipment. It is a memory card for our brains. What you capture on camera can be remembered forever. All your trips, friends, family members, and fun experiences can be put into memories as soon as you press the shutter. ‘Click!’

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