The World Under Construction

Jun 9, 2019 / Photography / image meaning

man holding up poster of sky against background with sun
Holding Sky. Toned Cyanotype Print, 2011. Two print sizes. © Jonah Calinawan


One disadvantage of using a camera as the principal tool for creating art is that it is tied to the real world. Other art forms don’t suffer from this disadvantage. A painter can put anything on canvas. The same for a writer. Both could imagine things and put them down on canvas or paper. The thing that they are creating does not have to be physically in front of them. Not so with a photographer. Something has to be in front of the camera for it to be captured in a photograph.

So what do I do with my photographs?

I erase parts of it, draw things into it, and collage other photographs into it. I create a final image that never existed in front of the camera.

I do this because I realize this is what I’m really saying in my artwork:

If you don’t like where you’re going, then change it.

This a constant message in my work.

A Metaphor for Changing One’s Life

You don’t have to accept the world as it is—like what the camera gives to you. You can erase it, draw things into it, and extend it. I love the idea of a world under construction.

And I’m in the middle of constructing my world this year. I didn’t like where my life was headed, so I’m quitting my day job to devote time to my art, music, and writing. All around, there are people constructing the world to address greater things like climate change, social injustices, and economic inequality. I’m with them. I support them.

I don’t know why devoting time to art is important. I just feel that it important for me to focus on these. I hope that this will make sense at some point in the future.

If you don’t like where you are going, then change it.

About the Author

Jonah Calinawan

Hello! I’m Jonah Calinawan, and I create cyanotype art that makes you think and feeds the soul. I also blog about the quest for a meaningful life using art and positivity.

When not shooting photos or writing, I teach myself piano and recommend Josh Wright’s Propractice tutorials (affiliate link).

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