Photography is named wrong

The word “Photography”, as many people know is from Greek roots basically meaning light writing or light painting[1] However I think the art should be called “Photoandrias[2]”  meaning “light sculpture”

When painting (or drawing, or even writing) an artist starts with a blank canvas (paper) and adds “stuff” until it becomes something. In other words, they start with nothing and add paint strokes or words until the total becomes more than the parts (hopefully).

In sculpture[3] the artist starts out with a large block and removes the parts that are not wanted in the final figure. These unwanted shavings, chips etc are then removed from the initial block, leaving the final artwork (yes I know that is a very gross simplification, for many meanings of gross…).

In photography we start with reality and remove parts that are not needed. we choose a point of view, angle of view (with lens selection) and even depth of view (with aperture and depth of field). What we are left with is an image that has distilled the elements we were attracted to in the first place and presents the essence of the art.



Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)

  1. depending on who you ask. Wikipedia seems to prefer light drawing
  2. I am not fluent in Greek, so if I mistranslated, please let me know. Sometimes Google can let you down…
  3. I am talking about subtractive types of sculpture of course, such as stone sculpture, or wood carving. I realize that using clay, or welding, or whatever can become a process of adding to a blank “canvas” as well, but let me continue…

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