How Much More Real Can it Get Than a Hurricane?

As I sit down to respond to the article regarding Berenice Abbott’s take of photography, Hurricane Sandy is knocking on my windows, breezing by. I think of the many aspects of photography described by Ms Abbott, and her explanation of what she thinks photography is. “It is or should be a significant document, a penetrating statement, which can be described in a very simple term – selectivity.” Rather than something that you have to envision and then put on a canvas, photography puts what you can see into a vision or a point of view. This is what truly separates photography from other forms of art. Photography puts a message that an artist may have, and shows that message captured in an exact moment, validating the point of view.


Another thing that stood out to me in this piece was the mindset with which photographers needed. For example, she explains how the “eye is no better than the philosophy behind it”. These words really spoke to me, as they are not true just of photography, but of basic human nature. Without developing an opinion or arriving to a judgment based on something we observe, we are simply absorbing everything, and it is not truly allowing us to discover how we perceive certain things.


Photography has changed a great amount since it became a popular form of art. With new technologies available, emphasis is placed on certain aspects rather than others. For example, with the ascendance of digital photography, there can be more focus on the creativity and technique rather than the actual processing of the photos. Photographers will focus more on “selectivity”; using what they deem appropriate to their respective motives and points of view.


Berenice Abbott focuses a lot on the realism of photography and why it is so different from other forms of art. Reading this inspired me to go outside and show everyone the realism of this hurricane from my point of view.

Trees bending against their will



5 Terms:


1)    Slavish: (adj) Showing no attempt at originality, constructive interpretation, or development

2)    Aperture: (n) A space through which light passes in an optical or photographic instrument

3)    Pictorialism: (n) style in which the photographer has somehow manipulated what would otherwise be a straightforward photograph as a means of “creating” an image rather than simply recording it

4)    Moorings: (n) The ropes, chains, or anchors by which something is held in place

5)    Medium: (n) An agent or means of doing something

This entry was posted in Cultural Encounters. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply