Every now and then, I love scrutinizing the etymology of terms and concepts that interest me. Somehow, it helps me understand things much better. We experience our first encounter with the world full of immense complex concepts through language. We understand the world and convey our thoughts with words. Perhaps that is why understanding the origins and the construction of these words makes the underlying meanings clearer.
The word “photography” was created from the Greek roots “phōtos”, “light” and “graphé”, “representation by means of lines” or “drawing” together meaning “drawing with light”.
The word camera, on the other hand, comes from Greek word “kamara”, “vaulted chamber”. The word was also used as a short form of Modern Latin “camera obscura” meaning “dark chamber”.
Think for a moment. Isn’t it fascinating?
When taking photographs, we essentially “draw with light from a dark room”. I’d say, we make photographs rather than take them. We, ourselves, are the dark rooms, our eyes being the tiny windows that capture the “light” of the external world, process it, and come up with the final “product”. This turns to be the product of our unique perspective and our surroundings processed by the dark uncertainty of our inner world. That’s a juxtaposition of the objective and the subjective.
Inspired by my etymological revelations and philosophical thoughts, I decided to literally draw with light. In the slideshow below, you can find my experimental long-exposure “light drawings”.