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Front Porch

Front Porch It requires very special talent to make great photographs, and those who have it are among our finest artists. Harlem newsboy, photographed by Gordon Parks, 1943, courtesy of the Collections of the Library of Congress. What is it about photographs? They have been around since the 1830s but still seem far more novel than paintings or drawings. Photography equipment can be cheap and simple and takes no special talent to use, so everybody can take pictures. And we all do. Even so, it requires very special talent to make great photographs, and those who have it are among our finest artists. The most important thing about photographs may be that they seem to be an exact replica of reality, though of course they're not. Everything about a photograph is artificial and manipulated, from the camera and film (or computer chip) to the light, the focus, the angle, the framing, and the flat, fragile surface itself. The only things natural are usually hidden from the viewer--the eye and mind of the photographer and the hand that pushes the button. The naturalist illusions of photographs make them favorite vehicles of memory. By freezing a moment in time, they seem to http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Southern Cultures University of North Carolina Press

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
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Copyright © University of North Carolina Press
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1534-1488
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Abstract

It requires very special talent to make great photographs, and those who have it are among our finest artists. Harlem newsboy, photographed by Gordon Parks, 1943, courtesy of the Collections of the Library of Congress. What is it about photographs? They have been around since the 1830s but still seem far more novel than paintings or drawings. Photography equipment can be cheap and simple and takes no special talent to use, so everybody can take pictures. And we all do. Even so, it requires very special talent to make great photographs, and those who have it are among our finest artists. The most important thing about photographs may be that they seem to be an exact replica of reality, though of course they're not. Everything about a photograph is artificial and manipulated, from the camera and film (or computer chip) to the light, the focus, the angle, the framing, and the flat, fragile surface itself. The only things natural are usually hidden from the viewer--the eye and mind of the photographer and the hand that pushes the button. The naturalist illusions of photographs make them favorite vehicles of memory. By freezing a moment in time, they seem to

Journal

Southern CulturesUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: May 27, 2011

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