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  • Writer's pictureMorgan Bachelor

Through the Lens of Photography

Iconic images are what drive the media. It is one of the basic building blocks of modern communications. Photography plays an essential role in shaping the media landscape and influencing advertising strategies in the US. From iconic images that define an era to carefully crafted photos to sell products, the lens of a camera can tell stories, drive change, and capture the hearts of everyone who sees them.

History of Photography

Photos have captured history itself throughout its time. For example, the first man on the moon, the iconic American flag raising aton of Mt. Suribachi, and capturing the Berlin Wall coming down. Since the camera was invented, photography was a way of stilling the movement of life itself to be shown to the world again.

So, what really is photography?

Photography is the visual communication and expression of something. The first photographic image was created by Joseph Niepce in 1826. Though the picture itself faded quickly, it still captured the first photo. The first permanent image was achieved by Louis Daguerre in 1837. Photography is a quickly evolving art that has constantly advanced. Moving pictures developed in the late 1800s, and the first mass-marketed camera followed in 1900.

Pictures Speak a Thousand Words

Like the photos above, pictures can show us a part of an event without saying anything. It tells a story like nothing else can without us being there in the present time seeing it with our own eyes. It can keep memories, share connections, and provide a new perspective on art.

Though there are many different types of photography, each picture contains the same elements — Symbolism, Documentation, Power, Connection, and Capture.

A single photo freezes a moment in time, serving a content record of history.

While looking at a photo, each individual person connects to it differently because of many things. The photographer could have taken the photo to capture a heartbreaking moment, yet each eye can see something different because of their own individual life stories. It works just like any other kind of art.

A painting can affect someone while having a completely different effect on someone else though the painter wanted a certain emotion to be felt.

Also known as the visual language, photography speaks volumes where words alone often fall short. From the heart-wrenching photos of the Great Depression of Dorothea Lange to the iconic imagery of the Civil Rights Movement, photographs can evoke powerful emotions and memories without words.

These visuals have the power to shape public opinion, drive social change, and spark important conversations.

In the media, photographs are used to encapsulate and convey complex stories within an instant. They surpass written and spoken barriers while connecting with people on a universal level, making them an invaluable tool for journalists and storytellers.

Photos that Sell

Not only is photography used for history and news, but it is also used for advertising. The first advertising photographs appeared around the 19th century. With the differences in advertising from past to present, they have the same goal, sell the product.

In the world of advertising, a well-crafted photo can be the difference between a successful campaign and a forgettable one. Images are central to branding, marketing, and sales strategies. They have the power to draw consumers in, convey the essence of the product or service, and generate emotional responses.

Whether a sleek automobile in a wilderness or a happy family enjoying a product, the right photograph can make consumers imagine themselves in that ideal scenario, compelling them to take action.

Photography allows advertisers to create a compelling narrative and establish a brand identity.

There are many different types of strategies to use to make a photograph ready for advertising. The biggest key is to identify and surround your advertisement with your target audience.

Personalizing the ad can make a difference if your product or service sells. Building a theme around your audience is what will make you money, they are the ones who buy!

From the Streets to the Headlines

Because of the media, photography has had a big transformation.

Platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat and even the news are going mainly online, this has given a new perspective on photography. Social media apps rely heavily on visuals, and users expect high-quality, engaging photographs. Brands and media outlets have adapted to this shift, using these platforms to showcase their products, share stories, and connect with their audience more personally.

Almost everything posted on the media is attached with a photo. Without photos in the media, there would be no story documentation. Anyone with a phone can take a snapshot of anything that is happening right in front of them, and it can become news faster than ever.

Photographs supplement the text and enhance points made in the text they are reading. Words need to be more accurate compared to pictures as well as overall immediate understanding. Readers can understand details from an event with a picture better than words within a story. Not only does photography in the media become a gift wrapped in clarity and completeness, but it also makes the story interesting.

There are many different types of pictures used in the media and news. The most common photos in journalism— News Events, General News, Features, Sports, and Personality.

Each one of these gives a different perspective on the media being shared and wraps up the story within one photo.

As we live through the digital age, social media platforms have become pivotal in reshaping how we interact and see the visual world. Every post, article, and story shared online relies on images to capture attention, and emotion, and tell stories.

Photography is an irreplaceable language that rises to tell an untellable story when the story itself falls short.

Before you read the next headlines of the news, look at the picture that is paired with the story.

Do you know what the story is just looking at the picture? Think about the emotions that the photo gives. How does it make you feel? Does that convey the story written with the picture?

Next time you look at an image, take a deep dive into the picture, see beyond what's in front of you and feel the emotions the picture is trying to radiate!

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