Friday, October 4, 2013

The Purpose of Photography

It has been a question in my mind for many many years:  What is purpose of photography?  To make money?  To make yourself an artist?  To make yourself look like a professional?  I have always been searching for the elusive answer.

Today, after I have reached the age Confucius said is the age of no doubts, I can confidently answer that question of 'What is the purpose of photography?'.

Photography is nothing but a pulse stretcher, described in a digital designer's terminology.  What does a pulse stretcher do?  If you a small pulse which will last from sub nano seconds, to a couple of nano seconds, a pulse stretcher will elongate that small pulse to make it last maybe tens of nano seconds or even micro seconds, which is almost like permanent in digital world.

You see a beautiful girl in the train, you don't know her at all, you may not see her again after today.  You secretly snap a photo of her in your phone.  Her beautiful image will then remain in your phone for days, months or even years.  But her photo will not be forever.  When your phone dies, or when you want to change your old phone to a new one, probably her photo will be gone with your phone too.

Your brief encounter is that small pulse, her photo lingering in your phone is that pulse stretcher, but then eventually the pulse will still go down and nothing is left behind.  It is just a way humans fooling themselves to think that they have made something transient into eternity.  

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