Photography and Place

Greg Ruffing has some intelligent thoughts about how photography can shape the perception we develop about cities. Whatever we want to believe about cities, we can use high quality photographs to confirm our predetermined beliefs.

He says that you can take pictures of the same city, and offer wildly varying perspective on what that city is like. If you want to write a narrative on urban decay, photos of boarded up buildings and graffiti seem to be a popular bet.

(from Scallop Holden on Flickr)

On the other side, colorful photos of a vibrant streetscape can depict hopeful signs of urban renewal. A good photographer can portray a city however they want. We just need to be careful not to read too much into imagery. Seeing a city with your own eyes is the only true way to understand what type of place it is.