Josh Walker replied 6th May '14:
The Language of Photography
In the digital world, all it takes is a little thought and an undertone of purpose for an image to speak to people as poetry.
There's no denying that any language, written or spoken, is beautiful. The manner in which it encapsulates thought or feeling, a human's internal struggle or their products of creativity so effortlessly. The potential it holds to stir people's imagination, emotion and determination from the deepest depths has always fascinated me.
When the question that asked how I relate to the language of photography placed itself in my inbox, I'd never really thought about it. However, as the days passed and the more I pondered the question, I started to see that as a 'language', it had more in common with the language I most commonly associate and use in my job with writing and speaking than one thinks.
Every day, we're bombarded with imagery. In magazines, newspapers, advertising, through our work and our online social lives. 60 million photographs are uploaded to Instagram daily and only last year, Facebook revealed that a staggering 350 million photos are uploaded to their social media network every 24 hours.
Through a mere two channels, almost half a billion images are uploaded to the internet daily. Take the countless websites, magazines, books and studios across the globe and it becomes rather easy to get overwhelmed. It also, and undeniably so, becomes rather easy to lose yourself.
With the birth of the digital age, it seems that as much opportunity as it gave, we seemed to lose just as much clarity of voice, of purpose, of deep-rooted thought. Where once, photography was seen only in printed publications, I could upload a photo of this very sentence for the world to see in a matter of seconds. Now, we're a part of an overflowing pool of imagery in which an awful of lot of it is in fact, pointless.
The same can be said for writing. As a fashion journalist, I have to read a lot of material. Through my university studies and being in industry, there's always a fine line and split opinion when it comes to the blogger. Like photography, before the internet catwalk reviews and fashion writings were published in printed material. Welcome the internet and soon enough, we had bloggers untrained in the art of the written word with as much influence and power as fashion editors. They were also, more often than not, sat right next to them on the front row. Now, everyone can be a blogger as much as anyone with an iPhone can be a photographer.
However, it's when you filter through the mundane, not to mention being rather patient that you'll stumble across something incredible. Something that speaks to you with depth and nestles itself within your tastes as something as poignant as the work of William Shakespeare. It could be a fashion designer's look book, in which the photographs add an entire level of depth to their aesthetic. It could be a collection of war-reportage, simultaneously highlighting the struggle and hope of the human race. Or it could be a photographer's series of images, capturing the stunning landscapes of Mother Nature.
So after 600 or so words, you're probably still a little unsure as to how exactly I relate to the language of photography. I guess the answer to that lies truly within my relationship with the written world. Photography, like language, is a great thing. It's a medium with a staggering amount of power that can change opinions and prompt discussion. Whilst tight within the grip of digital's grasp though, like writing, all it takes is just a little thought and an undertone of purpose for an image or a sentence to go a long way and speak to me as if a work of poetry.