Time: It’s Always Been About Time–Photography vs Nowography

Stopping time with the intention of creating a memory. Time travel back to that day 20, 50, 100 years ago.

I’ve got it! That’s what photography is. It’s all about time.

That picture-making process which is about time–that’s Photography. That’s simple. Photography is about making pictures now to revisit at some time later. To recall a moment with the aid of a picture. Time as the purpose of photography, not to share in the now, but in the then. Time makes photographs more valuable–the further we step away from a moment, the more the picture has resonance. It’s why we enjoy looking at city scenes from 50 years ago, to see what was, and how we’ve changed.

Device imaging to share now, without the benefit of time to allow us to forget and need to recall, but to see now in real-time, I’ve got a new term for that–Nowography. Meaning to share instantly. In real time. It isn’t about future revisiting but to see now. It doesn’t age. It doesn’t need to. It’s not for 50 years from now. It’s for this minute, now! There will be no viewing of them in 50 years.

Photography is the use of cameras to catch light, to make photographs–photographic prints in a tangible form–and to view them at some time after their making. Photography is about saving moments to revisit later. There is no “now” in photography. Its sharing involves gathering with others to view pictures in albums or frames, to share those moments later, sometime down the road, after the time in which they were made.

Photographs on display 70-100 years after their making, displayed in frames on a museum wall.

Nowography is the use of cameras to catch light and show where we are now, right now, via digital devices. It’s not about revisiting, there is no printing, there is no “later” in nowography. It’s about sending photos as the moment is unfolding without the need to revisit those moments.

Nowography: Images being made now to share instantly via online texts, IM, social media.

Photography is tangible.

Nowography is intangible.

Photography is slow to deliver.

Nowography is instant to deliver.

Photography is not nowography and nowography is not photography.

Just as drawing is not painting. Sculpting is not architecture. Poetry is not screenwriting.

Words matter.

Nowography: Noun
now·og·ra·phy/nowˈog ɡrəfē/
1. the art or practice of making and sharing images in real time via digital devices.

~ Kenneth Wajda

Both photography and nowography are valuable and equally valid forms of image sharing. But their intent, their purpose is not the same.

The Way We Were versus The Way We Are!

Photography was the predominant picture-making art form starting in 1839 but changed to nowography 14 years ago in 2007 with the introduction of the Apple iPhone and nowography is currently the most prevalent style of picture sharing today. Nowography isn’t about time. There’s no waiting. It’s not saving to look back on, to reflect. It’s, “Here I am now, see me here.” It’s sharing via text, IM, social media.

Photography is made for sharing later in a physical form. The pictures’ purpose is to show where we were and tell stories about the moments at some time in the future. It’s a “then” medium, it’s a way to revisit a moment in the past.

Nowography is made to share now. To give a glimpse into our current world. It’s temporal and immediate. It shares our present time with others now.

It’s about time.

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One thought on “Time: It’s Always Been About Time–Photography vs Nowography

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  1. Kenneth, Just found your site because of Jim Grey. I couldn’t agree more with your description of present day image making. I’m in the process of producing an exhibit covering 42 years in Dallas, Texas. It’s totally about remembering past times and I consider my photographic archive an alternate memory. I’ve never moved to the modern methods of image capture(for personal work) and I still shoot on film. My exhibit will be titled “Time lapse” and I will have numerous dyptics of locations then and now(1979 to present).

    I look forward to perusing your blog topics as I’m always interested in real photography insights.


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