Year Round Festivals Series 29 – World Photography Day – Journey of Light and Shadow

World Photography Day is celebrated on 19 August every year. This year’s World Photography Day theme is Landscape, and the festival organisers encourage people to share their best photos on social media platforms. World Photography Day was created as a tribute to the history of photography in the world and to commemorate the many years that photographers have left their mark on humanity, encouraging the public to realise different photographic techniques, compositions and styles.

On 19 August 1839, the French government purchased the Daguerrean method, a photographic technique invented in 1837 by French scientists Louis Daguerre and Joseph Nicephore Niepce, and gave it to the world free of charge. The invention of the “Daguerreotype” shortened the development time of photographic images and was a milestone in the history of photography. To commemorate this day, World Photography Day is scheduled to be held on 19 August.

Photography records light and shadow, time and soul. The English word “photography” is derived from the Greek words “painting with light”.

A picture is worth a thousand words!

Photography is a combination of art, craft, science and history. A photograph can quickly evoke a response. This is why the art of photography is so fascinating to people. The art of photography has developed into different artistic genres: art photography, documentary photography, black and white photography, commercial photography, nature photography, aerial photography, architectural photography, people photography, travel photography, fashion photography, forensic photography, family photography or amateur photography, and so on. The most commercially viable is portrait photography.

Those who studied photography in the college must have read the book “On Photography” by Susan Sontag, the most striking American writer and critic in the West in recent times. In her sombre and sensitive words, we may be able to see the impact of photography on our emotions and mind:

To photograph people is to violate them, by seeing them as they never see themselves, by having knowledge of them that they can never have; it turns people into objects that can be symbolically possessed.

Photography can tell the “truth” that words cannot reach

In the mass media, photography is also widely used to present the facts in reports. The most prestigious competition in press photography, the World Press Photo of the Year, is an award that not only recognises visual and creative excellence, but also represents the world’s most important news events, situations or issues of the year. Every year when this award is announced, it attracts a lot of attention from photography enthusiasts and the public.

Can photography really capture the truth? This question is similar to the one we face when we are in an argument with someone and each of us has his or her own version of the story, only to realise that there is no such thing as ‘the truth’, only the opinions of each side.

Susan Sontag in On Photography also commented on this thought:

“In the real world, something is happening and no one knows what is going to happen. In the image-world, it has happened, and it will forever happen in that way.” 

Photography puts memories at your fingertips

Although photography is not a perfect tool, it has the power to tell a story, capture emotions and preserve our memories. Photography captures emotional moments, it records every detail, even the ones you’ve forgotten in your mind. Photography makes things and people that have already passed away visible and audible. Therefore, photography is indispensable for important moments in life, whether they are birthdays, festivals, or milestones in life.

World Photography Day also pays tribute to the masters of photography, whose reflections on photography help us to experience the art of photography more deeply:

“Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever… It remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.” – Aaron Siskind

“Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson

“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.” – Ansel Adams

“When you photograph people in color, you photograph their clothes. But when you photograph people in Black and white, you photograph their souls!” – Ted Grant

“The painter constructs, the photographer discloses.” ― Susan Sontag, On Photography

#Year-roundFestivalSeries #WorldPhotographyDay #Photography 


✍🏼 Write + Create 

◢ Elva Lai enjoys creating art, reading, travelling, hiking and making a cup of coffee in the morning. She received her education in Singapore, the United States, Germany and Hong Kong.

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