As we look at the photographs that are shown to us, in print magazines, on websites or on the cell phone screens of our co-workers, we absorb a reality that is not ours. Rather than consuming photography, we are consumed by it.

Image taken with cameras, whether from point and shoots or sophisticated high-end DSLR, do not impact the reality they capture. Only the photographer does. It is not the camera that disrupts the scene, but the action of taking the picture that might affect the course of following events. Nevertheless, they continue their flow, mostly unaware that a scene was extracted from its timeline to be repeated ad infinitum elsewhere, at other times.

The receptor of the image, however, sees his timeline affected. The more powerful the image, the more the image can impact on the continuity of events of the spectator. They will maybe not proceed on doing what they had intended to do, solely based on a photograph they have seen. It could happen immediately, it can happen years from now. It will most certainly happen. Thus, while taking photograph can be more of a passive sport, as we escape the event to capture it, viewing images is, even if it doesn’t seem like it, an active one. The more images we see, the more our lives become affected by them. In the end, a lot of what we end up doing, or not, is in direct consequence of photographs that we have seen at one time or the other. Since, quite like we can not tune out the sounds around us, we almost cannot tune out the photography seen by us, it is important to understand that we are the ones being consumed and not the consumers.

Photo by roger.karlsson

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