As with anything people care about, they can get pretty pedantic about the early history of photography. Was the artform invented by failed experimenter Thomas Wedgewood at the turn of the 19th century, or by Joseph Nicephore Niepce, with his grainy rooftop image captured in the late 1820s? What about Louis Daguerre, whose eponymous process was the first, in 1839, to make the permanent preservation of images from nature widely available?
The origins of photography as a mechanical art stretch back to the Middle Ages, with the invention of the camera obscura, but are part of the larger trend in human history to preserve moments in time.
The difference between your Instagram feed and the blown-paint handprints and vaulting animals of the prehistorically art-adorned Chauvet Cave in Southern France is a matter of technological sophistication: I suspect both to be rooted in the satisfaction of--even the need to--stake a claim on immortality, if even for a second.
Like our ancestors, we never tire of revisiting these representations because they put us outside of time--the world will never be the same as it was the moment the camera shutter closed, but in the image, it will never change. That's comforting at the deepest existential level.
Every year for the past 12, Boise Weekly has celebrated the art and power of photography with its Black-and-White Photo Contest, inviting the keen of eye to submit their best work for a juried examination, cash prize and publication. This week we present the winners, top picks and honorable mention selections starting on Page 13. Suffice to say, Wedgewood, Niepce and Daguerre would be proud.
Speaking of images (or the lack thereof), on Page 26 find a piece by staff writer Jessica Murri on Derek Rabelo, a young surfer who traveled from his native Brazil to take part in the Payette River Games. In itself, that's not newsworthy--upwards of 35,000 people descended on the river June 20-22--but Rabelo was born blind. Despite never having seen the curl of a wave, he has become a well regarded ocean surfer and subject of a documentary film.
And speaking of the Payette River, on Page 20 BW features a two-page calendar of events for summer happenings in the McCall area.
So go forth and experience--whether that be the grayscale of an artful image, a picture-perfect summer vacation or the feel of a kayak paddle in your hands.