The body, The Subject, The Photograph

A photograph has the potential to communicate many ideas as well as information that is either helpful or detrimental to the viewer and the photographer. Photographs have been employed for scientific research, criminal identification and profiling, advertisements, and sexual satisfaction.

The most interesting part of the chapter for me is photographing the dead. Having walked down this path recently, my thoughts immediately brought me to my own experience. The text in the chapter shares the idea that a photograph has the ability to stop time, “freeze the moment.” An image has the potential to preserve life and make it stand still. Well, at least it stands still in our mind.

Just a few weeks ago, I stood beside my mother and held her hand as she passed away. I looked down at our hands, took my cell phone out of my pocket, and took a photograph. Did I want time to stand still? Yes! A moment in time that can never be repeated has been captured in an image. A personal moment has been photographed. What about the moments or events that are photographed with no personal connection? Are the motives self-seeking? Has technology opened the floodgates and knocked over the gatekeeper? What is proper? What is respectable? Have we gone too far when photographing the dead?

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