What does “Visual Culture” Signify to you?
A camera is a time machine. The split-second shutter in which several panes of glass capture a moment in time, perhaps saved by millions of combinations of numbers or thin strips of dyed paper. A precise mechanism in which clear images or accurate details can be lifted from their context in linear time to be shared limitlessly in which the synapses and neurons of the human brain never could. Photographs can interpret the past by viewing it within the setting of the present day, hypothetically working as a visual historian, to lift images from their context and furthermore express the stories of our ancestors as we see fit. Visual culture, therefore, is the framework in which one expresses these stories. Just as a camera can capture these moments, one’s experiences can be conveyed in such a way as to share one’s present.
The occurrences in which we come into contact with our exterior world are our chances to share our present with others, however within these shared moments, I quickly start becoming part of your past. But in that instant, I get to share your present. And you, you get to share mine. The seizure of these instances, whether they be the remarkably crafted latte in your local coffee shop or the exceptional use of negative space on a piece of street art, are personal experiences taken from their environment and further integrated into the minds of those whom you share these experiences with. Perhaps this simple yet remarkable interplay between the photograph of an experience and what you chose to do with it is the reason behind the emphasis placed on visual culture, and further, why so many chose to study it.