Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Photograph as Document

To document is to record. Documentary photography, therefore, can be defined as the practice of photography that is based on the idea that the photograph is a record.

As a record, the photograph gets its authority from, among others, what is called the pro-photographic event (the event was there; it happened) effect and I was there (the photographer) effect. Furthermore, it also gets its authority from the sense of authenticiy it derives from what is called the indexical effect of conjectures of cirumstance. A photograph, in other words, is a "meeting place" or rendesvous of things such as the subject matter, framing, light, characteristics of the lens, the chemical and/or digital processing, etc.

Summarized from Wells, Liz (ed.) (2004) Photography: A Critical Introduction (3rd Ed.), London: Routledge, pp. 17 - 18.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


Rainography is obviously a play of words. There is no such a word in the English language. And no dictionaries have had an entry of it yet. I made it up.

Combining the words rain and photography, the new word carries with it the meanings of the constituent words. Its meaning may therefore be construed as photography of the rain. In the study of linguistics, the blending (or combining) of words or morphemes like this is called portmanteau, a word which - etymologically - is derived from the French words "porter" (to carry) and "manteau" (mantle).

Speaking of verbal and morphological blending, let's also remember that a photograph may in itself be considered as a blending of various signs. Hence, it is a text. And like any other texts, it is a locus where a host of other previously existing texts interact with one another in the process of producing this new text (intertextuality). As a text, a photograph can also be read and interpretted.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Painting with Light

Photography after all is writing or painting with light. The camera is your brush, the digital sensor and/or the film are your canvas, and the light is your medium. Just like painting, what you want to do with them is up to you. Just as there are many painting syles, so there are photography.

Saturday, January 2, 2010


Here is what a dictionary says about 'explore':
(1) to investigate, study, or analyze;
(2) to travel over (new territory) for adventure or discovery;
(3) to examine especially for diagnostic purposes.

And when I said that this blog was going to explore and understand photography, those definitions were what I had in mind. I wanted to investigate it, study it, analyze it, and examine it. But more than that, I wanted to travel and discover the new photographic territories and have an adventure in and with it.

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