They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, and looking at some of the amazing photos taken over the almost 200 years that photography has been known to man, it may sometimes seem that a picture can be worth ever so many more. Some show the full extent of human cruelty, such as the infamous photo of American soldiers torturing and abusing an Iraqi prisoner in Abu Ghraid prison. Some show the horrors of war and how it hurts the most vulnerable, such as the heartbreaking photo of a napalm scarred little girl running from her burning village in Vietnam. Some show age old truths, such as the last photo of the Titanic afloat that was taken just three short days before it sunk, which is the very embodiment of the adage that pride comes before fall.
Other pictures are endlessly inspiring, such as the iconic photo of African American athlete Jesse Owens defying Hitler by refusing to give a Nazi salute after winning several gold medals and proving the dictator’s Aryan supremacy theory was nothing but propaganda and myth. And some are just plain beautiful and uplifting, such as the countless photos of the joyful reunions of people with their husbands, wives, parents, children, and even pets. Since it was invented, photography has given us the incredible opportunity to capture a moment in time and keep it alive forever. And if that’s not worth celebrating, what is?
The History of Photo Month
Thousands of years ahead of technology, the Greek philosopher Aristotle was already contemplating what would much later be called the “pinhole camera”. The earliest surviving photo of nature was taken in 1827 by the French inventor Nicéphore Niépce. At that time, it took days of exposure for a photo to be ready. Today, 189 years later, we can see just how far photography has come. (Well, except for selfies. Those should probably not be considered progress, as far as humanity goes, anyway.) Photo Month was created to help us celebrate the invention of this incredible means of communication with previous and future generations, so let’s not let this day go to waste and make some memories!
How to Celebrate Photo Month
Photo Month would be best celebrated by digging up old photos we haven’t seen in years and marvelling at the times gone by and all of the incredible experiences we had, as well as taking lots of new photos to enjoy in the years to come. The little birthday party your significant other threw for you may not seem like a big deal today, nor may the walk you took with your toddler and your dog, but you’re sure to be looking back at both of those events very fondly in a while. We have access to such an incredible tool that lets us keep every memory alive forever that it would be downright wrong not to!
You could also consider taking a photography course. If you love nature, food, the human form, wildlife, or just about anything else, learning to photograph it properly will help you show its true beauty to others, and isn’t sharing something beautiful in itself? Photo Month is a time to appreciate all the things photography has done for humanity and continue that glorious tradition, so get out your camera and your photo albums and get celebrating!