is photography supposed to be reality ?

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by jnanian, Sep 30, 2018.

is a photograph supposed to be reality ?

This poll will close on Feb 15, 2046 at 7:14 PM.
  1. yes

    11 vote(s)
    17.2%
  2. no

    53 vote(s)
    82.8%
  1. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser
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    i guess the title says it all
    is a photograph or photography ( generally speaking i don't care of the format, or language ( digital or analog )
    supposed to be reality ?

    personally i don't think it is, even though its said to be a "mirror" more like a mirror that whoever being the camera
    controls the warp...
     
  2. slackercrurster

    slackercrurster Member
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    Didn't vote. The mere fact you have to ask answers the question...there are no rules...do as you like.
     
  3. Theo Sulphate

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    I voted "no". The entirety of reality cannot be perceived or recorded. There is just our often-biased perception of reality.
     
  4. Truzi

    Truzi Member

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    Some might say it's a combination of both.
    Others might say it's neither, and thus the question is superfluous.
    I see no options for non-binary opinions in this poll.
     
  5. jim10219

    jim10219 Member
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    Nothing about photography is real. It’s a two dimensional representation of a small splice of time. The word is three dimensional and time is constantly moving. Think about what photography is, at its most basic. It’s a chemical or electrical reaction based on reflected and focused light during a small sliver of time. The same process happens when a chair becomes UV faded sitting on your back porch. But would call that chair’s UV damage a mirror of reality? With that in mind, if you overexpose or underexpose a photograph beyond recognition, How does that represent reality any less?

    It’s easy to be tricked into thinking it’s capturing reality. Our human brains are wired to make associations based on our experience. We have a tendency to attribute traits to things that they don’t possess. That’s why we see a photo and think it is of something. But in reality, it’s just chemically or electrically organized photons. It has no physical properties, behaviors, chemical reactions nor practical uses in common with the object being photographed (unless it’s a photograph of a photograph).

    On a more philosophical level, what even is reality? Is the reality a tree in the field? Because on the cellular level, it’s a diverse ecosystem. On the atomic level, it’s mostly empty space with a small amount of atoms. On the subatomic level, it’s loops of energy, vibrating in and out of existence. It is as much not there, as it is there. And on a galactic scale, it’s as insignificant as a dream. Whether or not the tree even exited at all isn’t worth considering. It would be like trying to figure out where all of the air particles in your lungs have traveled to.

    So how would a photograph mirror the reality of any of that?
     
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    jnanian

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    jim10219
    thanks !

    you know, there are so many posts about how digital doens't mimic reality
    or certain films color palats aren't genuine or HDR not being realistic
    and my perspective is exactly like yours and othes in this thread that
    nothing except the sliver of time is reality, and even that who knows ? its supposed to be
    real .. after all a camera is a mirror to reality film photographs are used for "evidence"
    i law proceedings, xrays, cat scans, MRIs are used to help doctors and they are all photographs
    well related to photographs because they are using a different light or magnets instead of light
    but people understand photography to be reality
    but a lot of the time they are unreal ... even survelience photographs made from robots ...
    sorry to others who responded thinking
    that there was no way to answer my question or poll ...
    not to get all metaphysical or philosophical but to be honest im not even sure what is reality ..
    i know what i see, hear and experience but even then sometimes i dont' even know,
    and i don't think if i had a camera ( digital, video or chemical based ) i don't think it would help ...

    thanks
    john
     
  7. Alan Edward Klein

    Alan Edward Klein Member

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    It depends.
     
  8. RPC

    RPC Member
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    I believe the makers of the media, film or digital, strive to get as close to real as possible.

    This is very important to some photographers, but to some it seems, not so.

    The photographers can then alter it anyway they choose, or not.
     
  9. Arklatexian

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    I could not vote either because, like most "yes or no" questions, the answer is more complicated than that. It depends upon what kind of photography you are talking about. Most biological photography demands reality. Most "pictorial" photography aborrs realism, asking for some sort of emotional impact to be good. Even Ansel did not make pictures to look exactly like the scene actually looked. He took what he felt about the subject. My answer to your question therefore will be: "well now maybe yes and maybe no"..........Regards!
     
  10. dpurdy

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    My cameras are real, and my prints are real, though I am not sure even reality is real.
     
  11. Eric Rose

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    My reality is not shared by anyone else. So is anything real? Absolutely not as it can not be absolutely defined.
     
  12. MattKing

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    Photographs are very real.
    But it is important to separate photographs from what they might depict.
    A photograph can aid in the depiction of reality, but cannot be interchangeable with the reality of what is depicted.
    Sometimes though, the two can get close - eerily so.
     
  13. faberryman

    faberryman Subscriber

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    Some is, some is not. I can’t believe this is even a question,
     
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    jnanian

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    its got nothing to do with rules .... lol

    i can't believe it is a question either but
    in the recent "HDR" thread it got me thinking
    is any of it reality ( in that thread i said none of it is )
    and wondered what people thought.
    over the years people have been adamant that photography
    is some sort of actual artifact of a time and place because
    at that instant light reflected to the film or paper or whatever
    and used that as an argument against digital because, well
    that moment in time is interpreted and reinterpred in a digital camera
    ( or something like that ) ... but all of it even with film and super sharp
    multi coated uber modern no distortion allowed lenses its an interpretation
    so is the only thing about photography that is based in some sort of reality
    the equipment ?
    maybe that's why there are so many gear threads .. they ( and maybe a physical print, slide
    plate, handheld tangible image ) are they are the only things that aren't open to interpretation
    even though they exist or were manipulated into creating some unreal scene or depiction or ...
    sorry, i have to go back to putting the x's on the mirrors and windows and reflective surface
    you know, to make sure i don't fall in ...
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2018
  16. RauschenOderKorn

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    In the end, reality is perception, and photography definitely is a form of peception - so I´d say yes! Photography is reality - but that does not rule out "alternative realities".
     
  17. guangong

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    Reality is too big a word to talk about in a thread. Photography is ... well, photography. Different from painting, drawing, sculpture, lithography, etching, etc. All are applied to a variety of uses to express some kind of reality.
    Even as a mirror, it’s a selective mirror. A mirror that reflects ourself. A selective reality because what is included as well as what is excluded in the viewfinder, angle of view, etc.
    Then there is manipulation of negative and print.
    Photography is another big word. As demonstrated by contributors to APUG photography is commercial, wedding, tourist, family, hobby, street, fine art and much more.
    The thought just occurred to me that the reason for so much talk about equipment, supplies and processes is because that is the common interest for so many with such divergent viewpoints.
    While the question might not be valid it stimulated a lot of interesting responses. Thanks for the question.
     
  18. faberryman

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    If you are interested in "whether any of this is real", then you are better off reading philosophical tracts on theory of the mind. You'll learn a lot more than from random, uninformed postings on an internet forum. You could start by reading the Wikipedia entry on "solipicism" to get your feet wet, and then moving on to Descartes' Meditations, which are surprisingly accessible. There is a lifetime of study to follow. As I said, for photography, some images are intended to reflect "reality", others not so much. This is hardly controversial.
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2018
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    jnanian

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    thanks !
    i'll look into the wiki entry on solipicism :smile:
    but to be honest, id rather read a random selection of people who operate a camera of some sort
    to read what they have to say about the perceived reality (their) cameras attempt to capture
    and if they believe that their straight print from their f8 and be there exposure is reality or
    a figment of their camera's imagination...
    IDK i remember reading "eye witness" accounts years ago about the "DC shooter"
    and wondered if they video footage. people believed the shooter was in a delivery truck of some sort ... and supposedly there were photographs showing
    a delivery truck at every incident ...
    cameras are supposed to be unobstructed non bias witnesses to the world around us but it seems we create our own realities from what we want to believe
     
  20. jim10219

    jim10219 Member
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    This thread reminds me of Magritte's "The Treachery of Images". "Ceci n'est pas une pipe" it says along the bottom. His argument was that though it may be called a pipe, it is not. It is a painting. It won't hold tobacco, therefore it is not a pipe.

    I was inspired by that painting many years ago and made this painting. I call it "The Treachery of Ideas".
    The%20Treachery%20of%20Ideas.jpg

    My French is pretty abhorrent, so I hope it says along the bottom "This is not a painting of a pipe". The argument being that it is a painting of a painting of a pipe. It's from the year I spent copying famous works and putting a small, humorous twist to them.

    In any case, outside of journalism, I don't think good photography is ever supposed to be "reality". It's supposed to lift you up, out of your reality, and bring you into an ideal. That's why when we take photos of famous locations, we tend to go out of our way to keep other tourists out of our shot. That's why we use soft lighting on female portraits and hard lighting on male portraits. That's why we use circular polarizers, IR film, shallow depths of field, fish eye lenses, and telephoto compression. We're trying to create an ideal above reality.
     
  21. Chan Tran

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    When I was a kid starting to take pictures I thought photography was reality. I soon learned that it's not possible.
     
  22. Alan Edward Klein

    Alan Edward Klein Member

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    The idea that photos cannot represent reality is not accurate. All kinds of criminals caught by camera in the act and used as a part of the evidence have sent them to prison. If these photo or videos had been edited and photoshopped, the judge would not have allowed them in as evidence. So there is a line. Many newspapers have standards as well. You may be able to adjust the exposure since cameras are limited in their ability to capture the full range, but you can't clone or remove or add objects.
     
  23. OP
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    jnanian

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    understood
    but can't a photograph of a situation be misrepresented (just like statistics)?

    like using a telephoto lens to make a 5 person group look like a mob
    or misjudging what is actually going on to be something that is not going on via prejudice / bias...

    it is like watching people sitting at a table at a café and inventing "backstories" for them
    not saying surveillance photographs that stop criminals aren't reality but
    sometimes there's other stuff going on ...

    its not difficult to create alternate facts to support photographs or video to create a reality that doesn't exist...
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2018
  24. Luckless

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    Shift the question to another field:
    "While hammering, are all nails supposed to be 16 penny framing nails?"

    Does this question seem sensible or logical? Are using other nails for other projects somehow less valid than using a hammer and nails to frame up a wall? Is a blacksmith's hammering on a piece of hot iron less valid than a carpenter's hammering nails home?
     
  25. faberryman

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    In proposing an alternate reality that doesn't exist, you are assuming there is a reality that does exist. Not everyone agrees what exactly that reality is, so you may get some blowback as to what you think yours is.
     
  26. jim10219

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    The judge has no way of knowing if a photo or video has been edited if the edit was done well, and no one admits to it.

    Besides, even if the photo or video wasn't edited, it can still serve as a false witness. Case in point:
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/30/us/kansas-doppelganger-richard-jones.html

    Also, do you remember that viral photo of the white dress? Or was it blue?
     
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