Is Photography a Life Experienced Second-Hand?

When I was younger, I regarded photography with ambivalence. I originally wanted to become a painter and paint like the American realist, Edward Hopper. The first paintings that I created during my years as an art student were not bad, but I soon realized that I was too impatient for oil painting. Photography became my medium of choice.

When I was on the island of Gomera in the Canary Islands, a young woman asked me if photography was a type of substitute life. I was impressed by this profound question and have thought about it often. Can the act of taking a photograph truly be as immediate an experience as our actual life? Or is the act of viewing those moments through the camera’s viewfinder ...

Get Photography as Meditation now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience books, live events, courses curated by job role, and more from O’Reilly and nearly 200 top publishers.