Image reading and context

Every photograph is an act amid a complex structure of choices. These choices, which extend beyond the time of the photograph, influence the photograph before, during, and after its instant. Reading photographs in context is a participation in this complex,” (David Levi Strauss 2005, p 33).

Although we have faith in the assumed ‘reality’ of photographs because of their scientific origins (the products of optics and chemistry), Andy Grundberg contends that it is their meanings that are up for grabs, since these are determined “not so much by the camera as by the human being behind the machine and by the contexts in which the resulting images are seen” (1990, n.p.). Continue reading “Image reading and context”

The power of the frame

all art dramatizes things by putting them in an intensifying frame and thus giving them a sense of heightened reality or vividness” (Shusterman 2012, p 72)

Photography is about finding out what can happen in the frame. When you put four edges around some facts, you change those facts.’ (Winogrand, cited in Newman 2015) Continue reading “The power of the frame”

Image Simulations, Computer Manipulations: Some Considerations

In this article, Martha Rosler discusses the danger to truth posed by digitally manipulated images. She points out that image manipulation is as old as photography itself, and the first montage techniques came about as a result of the limitations of the medium (early orthochromatic film did not have a wide enough dynamic range to make good exposures of both sky and land in the same exposure). Such manipulations, Rosler claims, were “in the service of a truer truth, one closer to conceptual adequacy, not to mention experience” (2004, p 263). Continue reading “Image Simulations, Computer Manipulations: Some Considerations”

Indexical relationship as truth claim

In his pamphlet King Leopold’s Soliloquy, Mark Twain, assuming the voice of Leopold II of Belgium, bemoans the fact that the photograph serves as incontrovertible evidence of the atrocities that were committed in the Congo Free State, his personal colony: “the incorruptible kodak … The only witness I have encountered in my long experience that I couldn’t bribe” (Twain 1905, p 40). Continue reading “Indexical relationship as truth claim”