As a photography enthusiast, I pay a lot of attention to the rhetorical effectiveness and artistic quality of a photo. Over many years, I have acquired a taste, opinion, and personal style concerning photography, so my eye for photos cannot be easily dismissed. Therefore, I decided to challenge myself and think outside of *my box. The night that this assignment was first presented to me, I sat down, grabbed a pad of sticky notes, and brainstormed “The Goal of a Photo” from what I believe to be the Photojournalist’s point of view. One little sticky note barely fit what I came up with, but it managed to with dignity. The following words and phrases are what I came up with:
The Goal of a (Journalistic) Photo
- to educate
- to create timelessness
- to be self explanatory
- to be thought provoking
- to capture quality
- to be informative
- to aid in discovery
- to be objective
- to be stirring
- to be culturally understanding
- to inspire action and change
- to tell a story
- to communicate a message
- to broaden perspectives
- to create a rhetorical situation
- to share the truth
My personal favorite, which led to a small epiphany about my understanding of photojournalism, was “to create timelessness.” I realized that timelessness is the goal of every serious photographer. But what is timelessness? Photographer Thomas Gardner says this: “Timeless? That’s just something which transcends period or era and is something that would have been enjoyed a thousand years ago or a thousand years hence” in response to this article on photo.net. He goes on to say, “What will “make” the image ‘timeless’ is that [a photo] will still have the same impact on the unsuspecting, a thousand years from now in the same manner that it would have had on similar unsuspecting if shown to those of a thousand years ago.” Gardner insists that a “timeless” photo is one that can stand the, excuse the cliche, “test of time,” and still be perceived by its viewers in the same way. Is that true? Or is timelessness relative to the viewer? Subject to change from person to person? Eugene Scherba (author of the timelessness article from earlier) states, “So here I make a statement: When people say “this is timeless,” they mean a specific style in mind.” I believe this is more valid than the thought that timelessness is one universal category.
So, what is timelessness to you?
Do you think it is the goal of a photographer?