Photography, an essential tool for life

Associação Brasielira de Arte Rupestre - Divulgação

Associação Brasileira de Arte Rupestre

The origins of photography can be traced to the cave paintings. Cave paintings were used to tell stories, to record the history, to communicate. Cave paintings as a mean of communication evolved to its peak on different civilizations, such as Asian, Mediterraneans, and South Americans. The first breakaway came in the form of hieroglyphs, the first writing technique.

But the use of images to communicate persevered and evolved on its own, splitting in different styles, such as photography and cinema. Painting, writing, photography, cinema, and all other variations share the same origin, and despite their differences, they also share the same purpose: to communicate.

Communication, as whole, is made of three elements: the emissor, the message, and the receptor. Roland Barthes (1915-1980), French literary theorist, essayist, philosopher, critic, and semiotician; translated this definition to photography creating the following elements: The Operator, the Spectator, and the Spectrum. Also, the Studium, and the Punctum.

The operator is the photographer, the one that uses the equipment, the tool. The spectator is anyone who observes the photograph, the taken image. The spectrum is the subject of the photograph, the content of the image. But there are also two other elements about the photograph itself; the Studium, which is the study and interpretation of the image, and the Punctum, that is not always existent, but when it is, is that one element that makes the photograph distinguishable, remarkable.

In the last decade, with the technology advances and mostly, the popularization of smartphones with cameras, we witnessed the spark of a revolution. In 012, every two minutes there were new more images than the entirety of the images created during the XIX century. 400 billions of photographs created in 2012 alone.

Since our first years at school, we learn how to read and write, until a few years ago, the only relevant mean of communication.Through our school years we learn how to interpret what we read, and to properly write down our thoughts. Writing still is the main mean of communication, but it’s undeniable the emerging importance of the use of images to communicate.

Why not to properly teach our children how to create images that express their thoughts and how to properly interpret them?

Missing Amy

Missing Amy, London, 2013, Carlos Alexandre Pereira


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