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It would seem that there is nothing easier than answering the question: "What is photography?". It may even seem that, putting this question in the headline, I hide some kind of dirty trick. But, paradoxically, if we look at the matter in real terms, we will understand what most people mean by the term is not what it really is.
This is not surprising, if you think that most of the photos that people see represent at best beautiful landscapes and beautiful people, at worst - the beach of Turkey and pimply children with seals. It's not about the quality or artistic value of a picture, the problem lies deeper. Just a camera becomes a way to get a cast of reality, in order to demonstrate something to others; in the final analysis, a strong association arises in the minds of people, including those who try themselves in photo art, that photographing means documenting. In this sense, it does not matter who in front of the lens is a specially model posed in a languid pose or a beloved child smeared with chocolate; Whether the film in a film studio on a background of a cycramrama or in a drawing room is removed at light sovkovogo a chandelier under crystal; whether the photo will go straight into instagrams, or it will not be spared by thousands of photoshop filters. The main thing - reality is primary, it forces photographers to press the shutter release button. Total, if the cat in the photo causes emotion, and the girl-model attracts the audience of men's magazines, the picture was a success, right?

Not this way. Because photography is not the documentation of reality.

I have nothing against shots of seals and children from phones, these are also pictures, just the point is not this. But you are full of torment, I will answer the question put in the headline. So, attention, the right answer. A photo is an image taken with the camera. No more no less.

At first it seems to you that I'm clever, but in fact, just think about this definition. So, the defining element of the process is a device called a "camera". It refracts the rays of light with the help of an objective. The lens has a number of characteristics. Then the rays converge on the photosensitive element (this is a film, or a digital matrix). A photograph is obtained, which then appears from the film in the case of an analog photo, or is stored in the camera's memory and further processed in the case of a digital one. The most important thing is that at each and every one of these stages of image acquisition there are a huge number of variables. In other words, it is not enough to choose what you are shooting. It's important how and with what you shoot - it changes the picture and, ultimately, makes the photo a photograph. If seals and children just sit on the couch, this is not a photograph. If you took an iPhone and began to take pictures of them - this is a photograph.

For some reason, most people ignore this simple and obvious fact, they take a camera (sometimes giving a lot of fascinating possibilities) and take it off. Of course, the result of some is, but it's like putting a nude model in the studio, even if you can not draw. In any art, and photography is no exception, it is very important to know the instrument that you work with. First, hands are put on the piano, then scales are played, and then they try to play some minuet (I, too, amuse this word). That's why we have so many bad photographers: when they start shooting, they do not really understand what they are doing.

Surprisingly, this is true for all. People who do not take pictures on digital SLR cameras are indistinguishable in this sense from those who enthusiastically consider the strange lighted violet shots taken by Diana. The level of inadequacy on both sides is off scale. Some try to somehow turn their ankles off from girlfriends-models, and then, having stolen a photo in the editor and signing with a handwritten font, they write: "I accept orders for photographing"; others somehow press the shutter button and become touched that one frame covers the other, and amuse themselves with the idea that to take such a picture, and even on a film, and maybe also black and white - this is very not-so-like -all. And what is the viewer there? In the first case, he can not already see these crooked women; in the second - it does not convince the photographer's statement that it is "non-standard". The viewer is bored.

Any work of art is a message. There are a lot of stereotypes in the person's head, on which they need to draw, creating works. Thick dark clouds we describe with the word "gloomy", the bright colors of the summer meadow are "cheerful." Looking into the viewfinder, the photographer should know what he wants to tell his viewer, and how his camera, the device refracting the light, will tell about it. What's the difference, what's there in the frame? No more important than what is worth the exposure or what we are focused on. You can generally defocus everything, click and see what happens. At the junction of how phototechnics works and what reality gives, the photographer is looking for his shots, but primarily here is what he wants. (In brackets I note that for amateur and commercial photography, as a rule, the reality is primary, and for the artistic, it is often a method.)

Since everyone is used to the fact that photography should reflect reality, the viewer, of course, may not appreciate your efforts as a photographer (but it does not matter). He still blurted out: "What a beautiful sunset," instead of: "Listen, how interesting, is it you covered the diaphragm?". The audience's emotions are invaluable. However, it is much more interesting to be, when it is not clear what is depicted in the photo. Here the viewer looks and says: "What is this in general?" - it seems that the mission is failed. How to be? You are trying the second, fifth, one hundred and fifteenth time, until finally the audience utters something indistinctly approving, like: "Wow!", "What a beauty!", "How do you do it?". Again emotions.

The photographer clings to clich├ęs and stereotypes, plays with light and shadow, makes the light draw pictures, processes everything in the photo lab (for films) or in Photoshop (for the figure) just to make the photographer see what the photographer wanted to show and experienced, then emotions. It is normal that the viewer is not interested in the technical details of obtaining a photograph: it does not matter how you get the rabbit out of the hat, as long as the audience applauds; this distinguishes the photographer from a non-photographer. It's bad when someone who thinks of himself as a photographer thinks at the level of the viewer.