Posted by: lbrooksd | October 9, 2010

Truth and Photography

I have been thinking about truth and photography, and the evolution of their relationship to one another.  In the Victorian age it seemed that the two were inextricable; that this new way of creating images from life was more exact and more reliable than anything else available in the time period.  Arthur Conan Doyle is a prime example here, when thinking about the blind faith bestowed upon photographic images and their representation of reality.

And yet – in our own time period, photography has become highly controversial.  Photoshop happened.  The reality of a photograph is just as subject to doubt as the reality of painting.  Just think of the Photo Booth computer program, where you can distort your own image to your heart’s content.  No longer is photography associated with truth in the same way.  A photograph proves nothing now, whereas then it proved everything.

Now that we have video and audio technology, the truth of a photograph pales in comparison.  We have upgraded our technology, and the reality of a still image seems single faceted when set against a moving, speaking video clip.  It makes me wonder what the next frontier of truth will be – what could possibly move us closer to a representation of reality than video technology?

In the end, all of these things are representations.  The truth of an image, of a sound, of a video, is subjective, no matter how refined the technology is.  Then again, every experience we have is filtered through our own perception – is there a difference?  Is the reality we experience just as removed from truth as an image?

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