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Communicating Compassion through Photography by Aritri Ghosh

Photography is the art and practice of creating images by recording light, either electronically by means of an image sensor, or chemically by means of a light-sensitive material such as photographic film. It is employed in many fields of science, manufacturing and business, as well as for art, film and video production, hobby, and mass communication.


The photograph is an accurate kind of record that has been taken from the real event. Photography is a form of visual communication; it communicates to viewers who are seeing the image, with hidden messages. Every message from the image brings education to the minds of the viewers. In the olden days when the camera was invented, photographs were taken on the basis of 'as is' and 'where is' basis. People were overwhelmed to have themselves pictured and were fascinated to keep moments in memories. In the world of photography, anyone would Imagine photography that involves the process to produce photographs and the photograph itself. But, very less people would think about how the photographers perceive the photograph to grasp the meaning for understanding.

In some developing countries, not many people were taught to appreciate the message in photograph as art of visual communication; unlike in developing countries where appreciating photographs have been taught in school about how to perceive the photograph. However, the understanding of a photograph depends on the person's knowledge, experience, surrounding, culture and emotional state at the current time he is seeing the photograph. The vast majority of the people do not consider photography as a communication art. Where from last few years it is only fast growing communicative tool to react or in the form of visual, and present actual reality through this medium. Where there are limited communicative social resources it’s available for artists and educators in general and specifically those who are using photography as tool for social communication and their values. This study is focused upon photography advocacy as it examined a variety of historical and contemporary artists and organizations that have used their photographic compositions to communicate powerful messages of justice, love, integrity and desired changes to the world. As past and present artists have used photographs to change the world.


Every photographer has their own perspective to look at things. They see things which other people don’t. Photographers tend to communicate emotion through composition, focal length, light, sharpness and focus. A photographer always wants the viewer to feel the emotion they were feeling. To be able to capture emotions are very hard to achieve. The photographer has be to able to compose, expose and focus at the right place and the right time.
• Communicating with Focus : A skilled photographer can use ‘Sharpness’ to communicate with the viewer. Sharpness is achieved with focus, aperture and post processing. This helps the photographer to focus on a particular subject/object and everything will be out of focus or blur. So the viewer’s attention will be wholly on the focused subject/object and it works as a communication.
• Communicating with Movement : Sometimes photographers play with shutter speed to communicate. Shutter speed determines the movement of the subject/object. When the shutter speed is high, it freezes the movement of the subject/object and with low shutter speed it catches the subject/object in the movement. The sense of movement or freezing of the subject adds to the communication of the photographic subject.  

The picture in the left has been clicked by Henri Cartier Bresson and the picture in the right has been clicked by Rui palha. In both these pictures they have reduced the shutter speed so that the subjects in the pictures are blurry because of been in motion.            
Continuous shooting : A photographer always has to be ready to take a shot. If he doesn’t pay attention then the moment’s gone. He won’t be able to capture it. So to capture emotions photographers tend to continuously shoot so they don’t miss the moments happening.

Light plays a big role in photography. Light has an extraordinary power to create emotions in photograph. Photography exists because of light. Without Light, pictures wouldn’t exist. Different qualities of light — brightness, contrast, direction, and so on — all carry their own emotions. A dark, backlit photo with high contrast sends a very different message from a bright, airy forest at sunrise. And in photography, your light should complement your subject.
• Dark light : Dark light conveys the best emotion-filled pictures. Dark light makes a subject/object look mysterious, ominous and refined. Many photographers capture dark light images for high end advertisements as it conveys emotions at the best possible way.
• Bright light : Bright light is the contrast of dark light. It conveys Joy and happy emotions. To convey a hopeful and optimistic emotion, bright light is the best way to go.
• High Contrast : Many good photos make use of high contrast — juxtaposing extremely bright and dark regions of the image right next to each other. If you have a dark mountain silhouetted in front of the sky, that’s contrast. If you have a bright pond against a dark shoreline, that’s contrast. contrast occurs when bright and dark elements are right next to each other. As far as emotions go, it’s no surprise that high-contrast images draw a lot of attention. They’re dramatic, loud and vibrant which stands out from a crowd.
• Low Contrast : Unlike High contrast,  Low-contrast images are more muted and subdued. They tend to occur when your light source is heavily diffused. low-contrast photos won’t stand out as much upon first glance. They don’t shout for attention. However, for a subtle and gentle look, they work quite well.
• Here are the pictures clicker by Ansel Adams. The picture in the left is of high contrast and in the right picture he has used low Contrast.

These were the main components of how photographers capture emotions in their pictures.

Photography is the easiest medium which helps people to communicate effectively. People click pictures when they see something beautiful or of a memory they want to cherish forever. Photography has its own individual ability to communicate small moments of life and turn it into a timeless expression. A person’s technique of clicking pictures tells a lot about that person. The photograph depends on artist’s mood through which the express the emotions such as Joy, sorrow, wonder, fear etc.

A photograph on the walls of a person’s office or home communicates a lot about what is important to him and what is his personality like. The events that are captured in the photograph often are of some people who themselves are gone but because of the technology, it is allowing people to still see what is gone. Because of photographs generations are experiencing history. Photography is a medium of preserving family and cultural histories. A photograph is a moment, so when the photograph is clicked, the moment is gone. It will never be the same again. So taking advantages of of opportunities to take photos allows for the remembrance of things they once were.
    
Many people don’t have the knowledge of how to properly use the camera as tools of photography for visual communication. Approaching photography with an artist’s view and taking a snapshot is totally different. Anybody could take a snapshot. But the moment of a camera is the eye of an artist, who sees and perceives the world by their own unique view, but many do not understand the importance. I believe that the purpose of a camera is to be able to enable an artists to see the world from a different perspective.


By-
Aritri Ghosh
Student
Amity University of Communication, Kolkata


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