Capturing a World of Light through Digital Photography

by Breanna Alverson

girl holding camera and taking pictures

They say, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” but what about the words it can’t say? This is where logic ends and imagination begins, where photography crosses from a science and application into an art and unrivaled human force.

As an inexperienced photography lover who has grown and evolved alongside the birth and development of digital photography, my interest peaked when I found out about Grand Canyon’s Digital Photography I Class. I jumped on the opportunity and after taking the class for several weeks, I have certainly not regretted the decision. If I could sum up all that I have begun to understand about this art medium, I would say, “There is more to photography than meets the eye.”

In our world today, the number of photos taken each year is beyond the trillions and nearly unquantifiable. In consideration with Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Google, the number of photos being shared and viewed is insurmountable. Visual literacy is becoming increasingly important in our fast-paced world where a photo can say infinitely more than a well-scripted text in the spilt second it takes to scroll by or flip the page. So what are the images we are constantly surrounded by actually saying?

According to its barest Greek origins, photography means “light drawing.” Science tells us that a photo simply uses light-sensitive materials that react to light to burn an image of the world in view. I believe if you looked at some of the first photos we have on record, you would agree that they do not provide a very accurate image of reality. However, as time and technology have advanced, photos today, when compared with what we see in a given scope, are nearly identical representations of what the eye perceives. The key word here is nearly. Much like mirrors have evolved through time from rudimentary reflections on metals and water, to fine refractions on polished glass, even at their finest they still cannot completely capture reality. Words are still backward and the slightest impurities in the glass distort our picture of the image staring back at us. Likewise, though it has been advanced to near perfection, a camera cannot completely capture, bind and hold all of the realism in a moment on a 4×6 print.

Photography is still an art form and expression of what the photographer sees and wants his or her audience to see as well. There is a great deal of liberty in interpreting a photograph as we draw on personal experiences to fill our understanding of the image before us. Anyone who has looked back at an old album understands this concept. While some would see a small child holding a balloon smiling, only the subject or the photographer might know that the only reason the child was smiling was because the photographer made him laugh in that moment when in reality holding the balloon was actually a scary experience. In this way, enjoy the memories that we will forever have captured in light—the stills that we have translated into pixels—but remember the free moving reality of those moments and the life shared in them is what truly lasts.

Grand Canyon University is dedicated to helping students find their purpose and pursue their career goals. To learn more about the Photography Classes and other Fine Arts Majors visit our website or click on the Request More Information button at the top of this page.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.

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