Refugee camp run by the Baobab centre near the Tiburtina station in Rome.

Photography is a technical practice that allows man to experience reality and it also allows to express and feel sensations, concedes to have a lens through which to look at the world. It is unique in that it provides each of us to undertake a journey through time and space. The images allow us to relive moments in the past and let our imagination move in all possible environments. It brings together realities far removed from each other and allows us to communicate and relate to others.

The person interprets the reality that surrounds him in a constant way. It happens through an automatic process that develops in a natural and standardized way. This activity also happens when we see a picture. According to recent studies, the human eye is more interested in images than texts. Our mind can process information in much less time by photographs.

Each image has a strong potential for communication. A picture can convey to the observer a story, an emotion or a more or less decipherable feeling. The image represents the vehicle that links two things: the photographer’s idea and the observers’ experience. We tend to think that images reflect the pure reality of things. And that’s true but we can’t leave out a fundamental factor, which is the perception we have of them.

Why are we talking about perception of reality?

We refer to perception as a cognitive process through which the individual comes into contact with external reality and experiences it. We can also speak of an active and pro-active mental process where the sensations are included in a specific process. For example, images evoke our feelings, then they convey ideas, values, memories and lived experiences. With all these elements we are talking to our personal sphere in order to obtain a “personalized” reading of reality. You can read more about that on https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-power-prime/201908/perception-is-not-reality.

Photography can therefore be described as a medium through which a photographer can express a certain reality, with a certain intent and reading a certain message. But are we so sure that the final observer will be able to understand and feel the same sensations as the author? Probably not, but this is what makes each image a unique and unmistakable work of art. Despite the fact that there is an intrinsic message, each photograph can convey different variants of the message, different emotions that, as we have seen, develop according to the perception and decoding process implemented by the individual who observes it.

The world of today.

Today’s world is full of images. We live in the digital age and most of the content produced and shared are photographs. People used to see hundreds of photos a day. For this reason, it is increasingly difficult to create an original photo that captures attention for more than a few seconds.

Being a photographer nowadays means trying to communicate through photography a profound, original idea that stands out from the crowd. A good artist must help the viewer in his interpretative mission and at the same time must intrigue him and arouse in him emotions such as empathy, closeness and a sense of familiarity with the image in question.

In conclusion, we must remember that every man bases his process of interpreting reality on specific needs and known desires. Therefore by seeking an emotional bond with the observer, it will be easier to transmit the right message.

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