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Photography: Finding Beauty in the Ordinary Essay

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Updated: Apr 27th, 2022

Photography does indeed provide a platform for seeing the world differently. Since photography largely focuses on the beautiful, it is in constant need to define beauty. Close up photography has altered world perceptions on beauty by challenging conventional wisdom on the same. Objects that the naked eye sees can very easily become generic. Therefore, photographers need to challenge themselves by discovering new ways of seeing the ordinary and the close up is one such approach.

Susan Sontang explained that photographs set the standards for beauty. However, they differ from other forms of art like paintings because it they have an element of truth in them. Many individuals assume that if a photograph represents something, then the actual object should actually look like it. Therefore, the beauty that the photo represents is largely derived from the actual object.

Close ups reconcile this need to see beauty as truth. They create a new way of seeing that enables viewers to find beauty in what they would have categorized as ordinary. The camera, through the close-up technique, enables photographers to idealize daily life. They are able to bring out something that only the camera can generate. To this extent, Susan Sontang’s assertion that capturing a close up has changed the way people view the world is true.

It brought a new and refreshing way of looking at the world. The method isolated objects and thus transformed them into living things. In the practice photography for Praxis 3, some of the ideas came out quite clearly during the close ups. All the photographs involve plant parts; most were flowers while a few of them consisted of leaves.

The colors, textures, shapes and lines on the plant parts that compelled me to take the photographs would only be visible through the close up technique. When one looks at the images, it is clear that most of them are unique and refreshing. These elements would not have stood out if another technique other than close up was used. Many people find flowers beautiful, but the beauty epitomized in the Praxis 3 images was not conventional.

The isolation of one part made this fresh perspective possible. While Sontang acknowledges that the close-up is a reflection of truth, it is still subject to the photographer’s viewpoint. As such, it is an exploitation of one’s reality in order to fit into the photographer’s worldview. Photography, in whatever form, is a subjective habit that largely depends on the photographer’s focus.

The individual will manipulate geometry, angles, light and their camera parts in order to get the perfect look. Notions about beauty will determine how they find the right moment. Even the manner in which subjects interpret close up photos is dependent on their tastes. Most times, their opinions will not coincide with that of the photographer, so a label will give them an indication of what the object is.

Nonetheless, some congruence on the idea of beauty must arise between the photographer and his audience as the photographer lives in a society. During the Praxis 3 photography, some elements of distortion did arise during the photo-taking session. It was necessary to work on the focus of the camera so as to get just the right balance of geometry, texture and color.

I had to stand or lie on my stomach in order to get the perfect depiction of flower petals. These alterations were necessary in order to satisfy my standards of beauty. Therefore, the final product was a depiction of my truth. It was a unique way of viewing the world because it was my representation of nature.

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IvyPanda. "Photography: Finding Beauty in the Ordinary." April 27, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/heroism-of-vision/.

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IvyPanda. 2022. "Photography: Finding Beauty in the Ordinary." April 27, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/heroism-of-vision/.

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IvyPanda. (2022) 'Photography: Finding Beauty in the Ordinary'. 27 April.

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