Photography is one of those activities that completely transcends all areas and walks of life. You can photograph sports, animals, people or simply the landscape and evoke a feeling from some or all who see your picture.
The use of photography is not always about seeing beauty or the transcendent while that is a primary use of the medium.
The fact that a picture can be used as evidence or as a witness to war and crime and destruction makes it something more than just a medium to express beauty or human emotion. The power of a photograph to express a feeling or an outrage is surpassed by nothing humans have yet to invent since the introduction of photography in the early parts of the century.
Even video, which is now, arguably, the more dominant medium does less to convey a particular image than a still photograph still has the ability to do.
Who can ever forget the image of the child victim of napalm running down the road outside of Saigon during the Vietnam war? Or the image from the same time frame of the Viet-Minh double agent being summarily executed by a South Vietnamese agent?
The emotions that these images evoked from the wider United States population helped to stimulate the antiwar movement in a way that news reports were unable to do.
Anyone who looks at an Ansel Adams picture of the mountains or landscape of the world or a wildlife picture from any of the talented photographers who make their living shooting such frames cannot help but be moved by them.
The following pages will help everyone to understand the history and importance of the medium that has literally changed the course of history in a way that no other ever has.