What is a photograph? What is it that we see?
To me, a photograph is a piece of art. Not in and of itself perhaps. But its artistic character is revealed in asking what a photograph actually is.
Does it portray reality?
In first instance, what we want from a camera is to produce copies of what we saw. We want a memory - or, more correctly, a reminder of that memory. Often we find that a photograph does not reproduce reality 100% authentically. A feeling is missing, a certain atmosphere, the colors were more powerful, the contrasts less vibrant etc. Other sensations are amiss.
A photograph, however, is about capturing a moment. A given instant in time. To me, there is no claim to portray reality. To me, photography is about a perspective. This perspective is necessarily an inherent one, it is mine. Therefore a photograph is a highly subjective matter. ANY photograph bears a perspective, sometimes an attitude, even an ideology.
To me, photography is about perception. What I see and what I want to show. What other people (do not) see and might avert their gaze from. Photographs can trigger emotions. A picture can be more effective than words. It is a moment of time, captured and torn out of its context. Yet it can tell a story, one can read a before and after from it. It is a physical process that caused time to freeze.
In using photography as a means to see and to show, to make a moment last and decide to pass it on - it becomes art.
Selective, biased; a perspective, a perception.