Andre Cantelmo Photography
Live Feed-The Running Photo Dialog of Our Lives
Each day an endless stream of documentary photography is made available for us to consume. This stream increasingly includes video from our personal devices as well as what we refer to as snapshots. In fact it is difficult to walk about and not see someone photographing something. Average people document the ever changing family landscape, the growth of their children as well as beloved relatives and family excursions. At the end of the day, we turn on the nightly news and often see photographs or personal videos shot by someone witnessing a newsworthy event. We've come to accept this as a part of our time, this is what we do as a society. A large percentage of these photographs are made by people with little or no formal photographic training.
It was not that long ago, in historical terms that no photographic records were possible. We have artist's renderings of what some major personalities looked like. Often these renderings were influenced by either the artist point of view, the benefactor's money, or political considerations. In the Summer of 1826, Joseph Nicéphore Niépce was successful in producing what is now considered the first photograph. This set in motion a remarkable change the public would have with historical facts. We perceive the photograph or video as proof of reality. As a photographer I am very aware that what photographs do best is lie. Accomplished photographers know how to manage a composition with angle, light, perspective, and juxtaposition. We refer to our process as making photographs, not "taking" them. We have control over color saturation, contrast, texture, and can expand or contract the exposure zones our photographs display. In a world that runs parallel to that of creative photography the average snap shooter points and clicks. They document their running live dialog. The better photos get printed and saved. They do not need any knowledge of chemistry to get the photos they treasure. They are a treasure. We are all familiar with the aftermath of a major storm and the damage that is done. Often the first things people look for are family photographs. Some people even set up spontaneous clearing houses for finding the owners of lost photographs. What was once a moment in time snapped up by a camera, often with little planning, now has become a missing or lost family treasure.
People are unique in how they relate to their photo collection. My Mom was very organized. She created photo albums based upon categories. There were albums based on Dad's friends, Mom's friends, Dad's family, Mom's family, and on and on. I know of people who have their entire collection of snap shots loose in boxes. It runs the gamut when it comes to our snapshot collections. When I am asked by someone to restore an antique photograph of an ancestor, it makes me happy to know that a photograph is valued to the point that it will be restored, matted and framed. It will become a family heirloom. There are those, who are unenlightened as to the value of creative photography. They make the mistake of thinking that a professional quality photograph is made with the same spontaneous attitude they used for the great family snap-shot. Creative photographers spend a good deal of time working with all the details of their photographs. We use expensive software that takes time to master, to emphasize the story our work is conveying. Our society is flooded with visuals attempting to get our attention, and in the process it is easy for us to become a bit numb. Our visual expectations are being raised, it is difficult to impress us these days. Slow down and practice seeing, not just looking, you might be surprised.