The beauty of photography

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A tree at my home with the sunset

A tree at my home with the sunset

Article: Michael Chmielewski – Editor-in-Chief

I’ve solidified an addiction over the holiday break.

I probably would have never taken it up had I not started working at the Carillon, because it is here that I was exposed to the beauty, and art, of photography.

Never before had I really considered using photography as an expressive outlet. I’ve used language tropes and genres in almost all its forms, and I’ve also written and performed music as a solo act and also with a band.  These were acts that brought me great joy and pride in myself, and it also helped me understand who I really am.

Photography is all this and more. It is what I see, and through my camera, I can express it to others. I am still extremely green, and more so when compared with the Carillon’s awesome photographers, who I credit for getting me hooked on taking photos.

When I walk around now, or drive anywhere, I see something and think, “that would be an awesome photo,” and or “I wish I had my camera,” which inevitably will lead me to almost always carry my camera.

For me, art is to capture that something. Art is not making or constructing, but rather capturing and expressing a fleeting moment. These moments are rare, sudden, strong, fleeting, and I feel that I can never truly capture them. It is only the best artists that can. These are the Beethovens, the Nergals, the Van Goghs, and the Shakespeares of the world, amongst countless others. The representation of that moment is art. The act of art is translating that moment into a medium.

That, then, is the true beauty and art of photography. It literally captures. Even the etymology of the term represents this, with “photo” deriving from the Greek word for light, and “graph” for an instrument for recording, or something written: lightwriting.

Photos are also the most easily translatable form of art around the world. Many people will not, and frequently do not, care for huge canons of literature that others admire. The photo of human suffering, or a loving couple, will resonate across the world and delve into the viewer’s emotional core.

Since I took up this hobby (unfortunately much more expensive than writing), I’ve been veraciously looking up photos, and one particular photo filled me with such emotion, such anger, and a sense of true helplessness. The feeling in that moment was so strong that I can summon it now. It was the work of talented Turkish photojournalist Emin Özmen. It depicts fundamentalist thugs in Syria cutting the throat of a young man. The photo was taken seconds before the execution: there are hands all over, holding him down, and the hand holding the blade over the young man’s throat, with a little blood starting to trickle. Immediately, I put my self in the victim’s shoes, and can only imagine the unbearable helplessness.

This photo shook me to my core, but this one was particularly negative.

The photo I have chosen to run with this article is one I took at my home. It is a picture of a fruit tree in my orchard, with more trees, and the sunset, in the background. It represents many things for me, including the comfort of my home, the beauty of nature where I am so lucky to live, and my childhood, because I grew up helping to grow and look after these trees. They all grew up with me, and I dread the day when I leave them behind. Before that, I will make sure to take many good photos of them.

Image: Michael Chmielewski

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