The Art of Seeing

We live in a world where we constantly use our perceptiveness and intuition to grasp and portray our feelings towards our environment. But it is equally important to use our senses of judgement to “see” from all ambivalent perspectives and viewpoints, through both the lens of a camera and the naked eye of a human alike. Photography is a powerful representation of the world that depicts attitude, feeling, and the aesthetic beauty that is uniquely induced within each individual. It also has had a significant impact on influencing public opinion, sometimes through controversial and manipulative methods, and can even be compared to painting to concretely define photography as an art.

To fully appreciate photography as a representation of the world, one must be connected to photographs in an emotional and passionate way.   Photographs possess symbolic content that can be discerned by aesthetic beauty, as well as emotion. This emotion impacts our judgement and perception of what we see and feel. Emotions transform and morph into photographs that captivate “a nick of geologic time,” as Momaday presents in his essay, “Shadow Catcher” (30).

To create appeal and have effective photographs, photographers sometimes have to shock or even mortify their audience. Usually, images that remain distinct are those that are the most compelling and the most horrifying, leaving important imprints in our minds.   A memorable photograph must have impact, a visual impression which provokes something within a person looking at a picture. It can be a feeling of vexation or a feeling of affection, evoking an emotional response that haunts us and causes us to ponder. Vietnam war pictures are a quintessence of reality that were seen by the whole world within days of being captured. Many of these images were disturbing and had a profound effect on peoples’ stances on war, moving the world tremendously (“Impact”).

The impact of photography through the years has been monumental in...