Photographs are powerful. It captures moments, moods and memories, it catalogues tones, tides and timbres of an era, it transmits feelings, ideas and events. Our lives, otherwise un-archived except in our memories become part of the collective repository of the human condition.
A single photograph can have massive effects on politics an era, capturing the zeitgeist of the time, pictures like the Joe Rosenthal 1945 picture of US soldiers raising the flag on Iwo Jima and another 1945 picture by Yevgeny Khadei of Soviet soldiers raising the flag over Berlin captured the victory of the Allies in World War II.
The Soviet Flag over Berlin, 1945 by Yevgeny Khadei
The US Flag over Iwo Jima, 1945 by Joe Rosenthal
While film and digital cameras differ in many ways (such as processing methods), they are essentially about capturing different amounts of light that are reflected onto a screen. That idea has spun many methods of photography and improvements in technology have increased the access that people have to the camera. The still image, has of course been supplanted by the moving image in popularity, but there is much to be said of the timeless quality of a still camera in freezing a frame and suspending an image in time.
Photographers are however not all equal. While smart phones have put the ability of photography in the hands of almost everyone these days (including yours truly) the ability to take great pictures is a skill and talent that needs to be nurtured and is blessed on only a few. One of those people is Lennart Nilsson.
The late Lennart Nilsson was a scientist and photographer famous for his photography of the human embyro as well as extreme close ups of insects and the like. Nilsson was a photographer first and scientist second. His passion was photography and science was his canvass. His early career was spent experimenting with photographic techniques to take pictures especially with groundbreaking ones on anatomy – including tiny blood vessels and the development of a child from sperm to baby.
In a way, these still photographs were a precursor to a whole field in modern biology that focusing on elucidating and imagine crystalline structures of all sorts of minute biological products (including protein channels) or other macro-photographs.
While his day job was that of taking science pictures, Nilsson took many other pictures too of day to day events of people and things, work that lives on at Galleri Kontrast, a free-entry, independent photograhy gallery that displays the work of artists.
Look at each capture, as they are, and the feelings they induce in you.
That, is the power of photography.
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