Sunday, December 28, 2008

Philosophy of Photography

In Neal Stephenson's Anathem, Stephenson has one character say,
Nothing is more important than that you see and love the beauty that is right in front of you, or else you will have no defense against the ugliness that will hem you in and come at you in so many ways.
I've been thinking about my photography recently and what I am trying to do as a photographer (besides entertain and improve myself). A central theme in my Project 365 is a focus on the everyday things that surround us, whether natural or man-made objects, and finding new ways to see them. I believe that too often people overlook the beauty that surrounds them because it is always there and because it is so easy to overlook. I like the idea of using photography to highlight that beauty.

It goes beyond beauty, though. I'm also interested in using my photography project as a means of paying attention to the details of life that surround me, of being present wherever I am, and of really noticing my surroundings instead of letting it all pass me by.

Stephenson's statement adds significantly to the approach to photography I've already outlined by also arguing that this attention to "the beauty that is right in front of you" can serve as a kind of protection from the ugly parts of life. I have long felt this about literature and music; it only makes sense that the same basic logic should apply to photography.

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