is photography supposed to be reality ?

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

is a photograph supposed to be reality ?

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

    14 vote(s)
    19.4%
  2. no

    58 vote(s)
    80.6%
  1. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council Council
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    Infamy is in the eye of the beholder :smile: To many people, the ability of attorneys to parse words is little short of the devil's work... I know it's a necessity of the job.
     
  2. MattKing

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    We often have discussions here on APUG/Photrio about what it means to make art, or be an artist.
    I've seen analysis of the meaning of words that I swear reaches the status of art.
    I think that part of what affects my perception of these things is my understanding of how very challenging it is to draft language in a way that is both incredibly precise, and sufficiently flexible to capture what it is intended to capture even when circumstances evolve.
    Personally. I have a fascination with the challenges of legal drafting.
    And my earlier background with the study of physics leads me to a fascination with the intersection of reality, the perception of reality, and the true complexity of the universe we live in.
    So these threads that centre around arguments about words and reality are intriguing.
    The following is of course a graphic and not a photograph, but what would you say is the reality here:
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2018
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    jnantz

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    matt, i think you found the holy grail ... :smile:
     
  4. TheFlyingCamera

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    What you have is a binary in that image. Both are and neither is, because they are interdependent upon each other to exist. Because of their totally abstract nature, if pressed, I would argue that neither is "real".
     
  5. Vaughn

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    But first you must answer these three questions...

    Matt: "...The following is of course a graphic and not a photograph, but what would you say is the reality here:"

    I perceive varying amount of light coming from inside my computer screen in a pattern of black and white (no grays) within a rectangle.
     
  6. jtk

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    How is a photograph different from an animation?
    Cinema Modeoff
    The Mill and The Cross (2011) Movie Trailer HD
    The Mill and the Cross is a 2011 drama film directed by Lech Majewski and starring Rutger Hauer, Charlotte Rampling and Michael York. It is inspired by Pieter Bruegel the Elder's 1564 painting The Way to Calvary, and based on Michael Francis Gibson's book The Mill and the Cross.
     
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    jnantz

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    exactly ! and its flat except when one squints then its 3D...
     
  8. scheimfluger_77

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    I like “No” a lot
     
  9. scheimfluger_77

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  10. scheimfluger_77

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    Yes but who has the Kool-Aid?
    :surprised:
     
  11. Vaughn

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    Pick your flavor!
     
  12. Arklatexian

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    Does this have to do with the old saying: "photographs don't lie but photographers do"? Photographs are 'supposed" to be whatever their makers intend for them to be. Popular thought, perhaps, once thought that photographs were reality but that seemed to have died with the advent of Digital and easier "post" processing, which the general public is certainly aware of....I don't think the general public cares anymore.... I hope I am wrong.....Regards!
     
  13. RalphLambrecht

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    only in documentary photography; otherwise,definitely not
     
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    jnantz

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    hmmm
    the photograph i posted previously in this thread was a documentary photograph of site that
    the local airport moved out of and the state/city owns and sold and is being redeveloped for another purpose ..
    it was a straight documentary photograph of the building, fence and tree. no lying was intended, or even thought about
    when i was taking the photograph. so i don't think my photograph and my question in this thread has anything to do
    with lying or omission or tricking anyone, or post processing or retouching &c. yes i could have done that, using new methods
    and my computer mouse and editing software in about 3 seconds, or taken a little longer and applied lead to the paper negative
    and printed out a positive photographic print ( i was trained decades ago how to retouch with graphite pencils ) but i didn't.
    as mentioned previously, the tree clearly exists in reality yet when i made the exposure the tree's trunk that probably
    weighed two or three thousand pounds went missing. it clearly exists, otherwise the leaves wouldn't exist and there would have
    been no way for water and nutrients to feed them, yet the camera and lens did not render it on the paper. not everything is a
    film vs digital, old ways are so much better than the crap people do now, or abstract photography stinks
    reality based images of concrete forms &c are better, but the sort of thing that makes one wonder what exactly happens
    when we make an exposure, and how cameras that are been used to make portraits of people and buildings and things
    selectivly decide what reality it wants to photograph. i have submitted things to the HABS project for nearly 30 years now
    and photographs like what i posted sometimes make me second guess what it is exactly that i am doing .....
    yes there are people who lie cheat deceive snow job and people have been lying with photography since it was invented in the 1830s
    .. but this isn't one of those times.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2018
  16. Chan Tran

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    Sometimes photographers lie but a camera can never capture reality regardless of whether the photographer want to or not.
     
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    jnantz

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    jnantz

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    yup cause im guessing reality doesn't exist :smile:
     
  19. Chan Tran

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    I don't know what you meant but when I started out I was naive to think that my photographs would look like real life. I tried and never could so I knew that it's simply impossible.
     
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    jnantz

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    hi chan tran
    no i have no preconceived notions about my photographs looking or not looking like real life but
    i have had preconceived notions that if i photograph a building with a tree infront of it, or a field with a tree in the middle of it
    or a street with cars parked or person sitting infront of me and a camera that the camera would at least render the tree and building
    or tree in the field or parked cars or person sitting infront of me. i know with time based image making ( long exposures )
    what happens, things that movie don't appear sometimes, like moving cars on a street .. or someone walking infront of the camera
    but for a 2000 or 4000 pound object that can't movie, is rooted and secure in the ground to basically vanish .. seems like a totally different thing..
    it would be as if you were sitting infront of me in a chair and i had my camera set up and the lights on and asked you to "say cheese"
    and when i processed the negative half of your body was invisible ( and you weren't wearing a cloaking device/ cape of invisibility but regular clothes )...
    im always inspired by photography and learning how things do and don't work, it really helps me form my world view ... :smile:
    on a different note i took a portrait of someone years ago, and part of his hand was obscured by a shadow from my flash ...
    i've been asked many times if he had an accident and lost his fingers ... because of the shadow &c... if there was deep shade on the side of the building
    it would have been a no brainer " the negative didn't register the tree trunk because there was no light on it ... but ...there was no deep shade ... :smile:
     
  21. blockend

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    The camera doesn't lie, the operator lies. A surveillance camera in a supermarket foyer collects data on human activity. It has no opinions. A camera in human hands is very rarely objective. It might be framed to leave out a communications mast, or a flat sky has the contrast pepped up to balance the picture. Applied photography, surveillance, medical, astronomical is targeted at a particular reality. Creative photography has no base reality because human motivation overrides it. Photography is a negotiated reality, not an absolute one.
     
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    jnantz

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    hi blockend
    i know what you are saying .. basically the camera just records whats infront of it
    but i think there is something else going on to be honest. mr serling was telling me
    about that other dimension and i keep hearing barely audible golden earing and all that :wink:
     
  23. scheimfluger_77

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    That is an interesting observation, I do not think I have heard the reality/subjectivity idea stated this way. But it makes a lot of sense. Perhaps this is at the root of the like/hate phenomenon you find across different viewers.
     
  24. blockend

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    I remember the miner's strikes, where protesting miners were lined up against the police with batons and riot shields. The BBC came under attack for filming from behind the police, making the miners look like aggressors. Some photographers were among the miners facing the police, giving the opposite impression. Both photographic positions were true, but gave a completely different impression of events. Those photographs and films would have been edited to represent different realities. A policeman bleeding from a headwound or an unarmed man or woman being beaten by a uniformed officer, both could be typical of events, or snapshots that said nothing about the wider story. Yet one of those might remain iconic of the 1980s strikes for a century or more.

    Landscape photography is no less capable of telling lies about place than photojournalism is about a news story.
     
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    jnantz

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    hi blockend
    i understand what you are saying
    the camera doesn't choose the perspective and reality it presents and all that ..
    its like using a mirror to distort reality, a zoom lens to make a crowd of 3 people look like a mob scene &c
    or taking a photograph of a building with a tree obscuring the utility pole or hiding things
    the way the photograph is taken .. yup, ive used those tricks of the trade as needed
    but never has one of those tricks been used without me doing it.
    i mean if i had photographed the building and had the upper part of the tree floating above
    the structure from the back side of the building and said " hey the tree trunk is gone it vanished this camera is crazy ! "
    that would be selective point of view like you are talking about, but in this case it is the front of the building and ...
    i had though over the last couple of months going back and repeating the photograph to see if i had been standing
    on some magical spot &c but a couple of months ago they put a fence around the site and they tore down the buiding yesterday
    ( tree gone too :sad: )
    maybe after the fence is removed and the debris removed and the site is "safe" again i will slog my camera there again and see
    if anything else happens ...
    i have another trick up my sleeve too .. im able to fold an american 1$ bill to make the portrait disappear completely
    and turn him into a big white mushroom ... and i can make the m's on M&M candies float off the candy shell by soaking them in
    warm water ...
    i gotta use this magical camera more often, maybe if / when i make portraits with it again, it will magically photograph people 15 years younger and 40lbs thinner ..
     
  26. TheFlyingCamera

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    A photograph not being reality has nothing to do with telling lies or not telling lies - a photograph is an abstracted representation of what was in front of the camera for the duration of the exposure. You can make that abstracted representation an extremely precise simulacrum of the scene in front of the camera, but it is nonetheless a simulacrum. Photographs have their own language - depth-of-field, shutter speed, and color balance (or grayscale rendering) are all ways of describing the scene in front of the camera, but they are a quasi-linguistic method of description. Reality doesn't have depth-of-field. Reality doesn't have a shutter speed- we see the world in continuous motion, THROUGH time. The peel of an apple isn't pigmented mineral dyes - it's tannins and acids and chlorophyll. Human skin isn't gradations of black and silver.

    Any "lying" that happens is 100% the responsibility of the photographer - we accept any given photograph as truthful based upon our trust in the camera operator. It is acceptable within photojournalistic ethics to adjust color, contrast, and cropping - Any photograph is already an abstracted crop of the scene to begin with.
     
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