The Power of Still Photography

Not long ago, I was in a conversation that, at it's core, was about the dying nature of still photography in the age of vide0. It was an entertaining and spirited conversation to be sure...but also complete nonsense! Still photography, in recent years, has been somewhat pushed into the background by the popularity of video. While I understand this phenomenon, I remain committed to still photography as a primary source of preserving life's defining moments.

I love a great YouTube or Vimeo video as much as anyone. But there is a fundamental difference in how we experience life captured by video and life captured by still photography.

Video, by its very nature, implores us to continuously release our attachment to any particular moment in anticipation of what is to come next. Video tends to leave us with an overall impression of an experience rather than an attachment to any specific moment.

In contrast, still photography confronts us with a singular moment in time and begs us to dwell in that moment - to explore it's emotion, mood and environment. Still photography asks us to take time to appreciate the subjects and draw on our imagination and our experience to contemplate what they were experiencing at a specific moment in history.

Certainly, video can provide a compelling emotional experience. The difference of time, however, is what makes still photography inherently powerful. A video experience is spread over a period of time. The still photography experience is concentrated and unleashed in a single glance.

I am neither trying to sell you on still photography nor divert you away from video - both media preserve events we find compelling and important. In fact, I wholeheartedly believe in the heightened impact audio slideshows and blended multimedia presentations can have in presenting still photography.

In spite of all the fuss about still photography becoming irrelevant, I can say with complete certainty, that will never happen. Still imagery is too aligned with how we burn experiences into our memories and how we trigger our nostalgia.

Since man has existed, it has been our nature to punctuate and represent our existence with singular images - whether they be cave drawings, sculptures, paintings, sketches or still photographs. We are now, as we have always been, willing and happy captives of still imagery.

As always, thanks for taking time to consider my point of view. As a thank you, please enjoy this wonderful little video!