Capturing the Human Experience

Why photography is the timeless medium of today

Outside of watching the Steve Barron obscurity Electric Dreams and searching for a vinyl copy of Linda Perhac’s Parallelograms, the last three years of my life has been occupied by a hobby-turned-dream job: photography.

Architecture, nature, the sky, themselves. Photographers find a niche while first starting out in the photographic world. In my experiences, I found a comfortable spot in the world of portraiture, which according to the Oxford English Dictionary is defined as “a painting, drawing, photograph, or engraving of a person, especially one depicting only the face or head and shoulders,” which for me is defined by long nights of sorting through hundreds on thousands of photos I have taken. This makes me glad to live in a time where one memory card can hold as many as 6,000 photos without ever having to change it, otherwise I’d be lugging around bags of film to the local Walgreens, they probably already recognize my face, thinking “Oh lord, theres the one with the film.” I wonder if they think of me as they’re buying more processing chemicals.

We’re about 10 years away from the 200th anniversary of the art of photography. The world’s first picture was taken in 1826, though the widely used format of 135 (35mm) film did not become standard until the late 1920’s, after it’s introduction alongside the Leica I by Oskar Barnack.

People have always wanted to capture the things important to them: families, the home, themselves, lovers, trips. As photography evolved from a science into an art, it grew in convenience as well. Outside of that, the appreciation of photography as an art has changed dramatically. Museums have sprung up all across the nation dedicated to photography. In Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Photography has held exhibitions by fine art photographers, classically trained artists as well as students from liberal arts school Columbia College Chicago.

In my adventures as a photographer, I have found that people are the most versatile subjects. They always have a story, and the photos of them make the viewer think “What does this person want to say? What is their biggest secret? What is their favourite food? Do they wear their socks to bed?” It creates a connection, tells a story and amazes the human eye, all in one large 1o” x 18” sheet of archive-quality photo paper.

Though a long day of shooting makes my neck and legs feel like they’re about to fade into oblivion, it comes with the triumph of the display and amazement of others of your work, and it is the feeling that has driven me and kept me in business for all these years. It is the best feeling in the world, though it’s tough work. I hope one day I can retreat to my abode and replace the word “work” with “passion.” It’s a long way from here, but I know that day will come.


You can find more of my work at www.ysrojas.wix.com/home.

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