Like paintings or other works of visual art, photographs can prompt questions, insights, and feelings. But, as it captures images of things that are real, photography has a particular power to show emotions, natural wonders, and effects of poverty, ecologic destruction, and other areas of concern.
Photography can reveal aspects of reality that are beyond what we normally can see – rare creatures and locations, images from space or under the seas, and things that can be seen only through microscopes and telescopes.
With images of events and people who are important in our lives, photographs can help us remember and connect. Some become personal icons, with favorite images of parents, children, friends, pets, and former homes. Collections of photos can be ways of exploring a sense of self, showing things we care about and how we would like to be seen.
Most people at times take photos, and the processes of watching, waiting, and anticipating can bring something like the “hunter’s trance” described by Carl von Essen.