'A knowledge of photography is just as important as the of the alphabet. The illiterate of the future will be ignorant of the use of camera and pen alike.' – Laszlo Moholy-Nagy 1923
I think we are in that future now...
Photography - the sum of the inventions developed through many centuries, changed forever the way people communicate, learn and remember. It became so ubiquitous that it is hard to imagine the world without it.
Soon after the probably biggest breakthrough - the invention of the daguerreotype and its publication in 1839, photographic images spread rapidly around the world and only couple of decades later became the most popular medium of global communication.
In contrast to traditional image making techniques like painting and drawing, photography is a much more democratic medium - it enables almost everyone to be an author of the visual image as it doesn’t require any special manual/artistic predispositions to perpetuate a moment in chosen space and time. Thanks to the incredible easiness of production processes, duplication and dissemination, photography addressed perfectly the desire to 'catch the moment', share it and remember.
It is hard to overstate the benefits of camera invention but as usually there is a price to pay for it.
Photography is one of the most common mediums of manipulation on both global and individual scale. And it’s not just because of the sophisticated and deliberate technical tricks. The selected fragment of the reality recorded under specific conditions of light and other circumstances may be honest but it doesn’t really mean it conveys the objective information about the reality. Additionally, lack of context very often leaves photographs open to interpretation causing misunderstandings or even tragedies.
Photography is being homogenised and trivialised by trends in popular social media platforms, mass production of stock photos promoting fake world of ever happy people and popular photo manipulation practices in commercial photography, all resulting in the diminishing credibility of photography.