So often when you hear people describe photography in higher-sounding terms than "taking snapshots", you come across almost poetic ideas like "catching time", "recording moments" or "creating memories".
Technically speaking, of course, we're only recording light (and reflections of light) when we take a photograph. But the reasons why we take photos, lead to these somewhat more pretentious-sounding descriptions.
Because most of us, and at the very least those among us who don't do it to make a living, have some kind of emotional reason to take photos. ("Emotional," I can almost hear male readers of this blog think, "Please! I'm out, I'm not ready to get in touch with my inner woman just for a photography blog!")
But it's true, though, isn't it. Threads on the forum prove it. When people answer the question why they're into photography, a lot of hobby photographers invariably come up with replies like "I want to capture the beauty all around me", or words to that effect. Even those who give a more "male" answer, like "Because I can't paint", are essentially saying the same thing, aren't they.
Trouble is that you can't capture everything. And particularly those rather difficult things I mentioned - emotions - are hard to capture, and even more difficult to convey.
- How do you convey the joys of a summer holiday in a series of snaps?
- How do you give viewers the same feeling of awe that you had when you were photographing an imposing landscape?
- How do you show people how you feel about your subject when you take a portrait picture of a loved one or a friend?
You can try. And to a certain degree I think you can succeed. But no matter how successful you can be in doing so, you (the photographer) will always have more of a bond with your subject than those who view your image.
Some things are just impossible, or at the very least hard, to capture. And even if you succeed in capturing them, you'll find it hard to convey your feelings about them to the viewers.
And still we try, don't we...