intrusive photons

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by severian, Dec 3, 2005.

  1. severian

    severian Member

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    This one is weird. Really weird, but it's been on my mind so here goes. I have a photographer friend ( I assure you it is not me) who has spent a great deal of his life researching, studying and making "snapshots". His greatest interest is in the snapshots of his family members. Why? It is his contention that all photographs contain a piece of the thing photographed. A photon of light hits a subject(his grandfather lets say) and since light is both a wave and a particle the particle part of the light bounces off the subject and strikes the film embedding a part of his grandfather in the film emulsion.Don't laugh. It is his contention that anytime something is touched by something else a part of the touchee goes with the toucher. Now I enjoy reading the popular physics books,Kaku,Greenfield etc. but I don't believe that I've ever run into anything that verifies this theory, but I haven't seen anything that refutes it. Is the cliche true? Is part of a person or things very essence physically captured in a photograph?
    SHOUT OUT TO BLANSKY- You recently referemced Heisenbergs Uncertainty Priciple in a thread about, I think, art, concepts and commerce. What about this one?
    Jack B
     
  2. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    One man's snapshots are another's photojournalism.

    While I would argue that we make no changes to the photons that bounce off our exteriors, the fact that the footsteps of those photons on our film can evoke memories of, or insights into, the subjects in our minds is the essence of photography.
     
  3. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    Meh, it depends again how you define "true". It's analog for sure, in the sense that something material in reality has a material partial replica on the film, but one thing I know for sure is that photons do not carry souls, even if I don't believe there is such an empirical concept as soul. When the photon that was reflected off your grandpa crosses through the lens and hits the film, it triggers a light-sensitive crystal, but it does not "stay" there.
     
  4. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    The photons never actually "touch" anything. The photons interact with the object's atoms and are repelled by atomic forces.

    They can't take anything of the object with them because they never actually touch it...


    Probably....


    Cheers, Bob.
     
  5. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    This sounds like the conceptual artist who swept up dust from around great works of art and displayed the dust in a vial framed with a snapshot of the work. The theory was that the dust contained particles from the original work.
     
  6. 127

    127 Member

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    That sounds a LOT more plausible than photons "carrying" anything.

    Assuming his grandfather wasn't flourecent, then the photon that bounces off him is pretty much unchanged. It doesn't even change colour - it either bounces or it doesn't.

    There's certianly no physical track back. On the other hand I certainly don't have any problem with being attatched to an object that physically interacted with someone I want to remember, and a "real" print certainly meets that criterea.

    Who wouldn't want to play a guitar owned by Hendrix - it wouldn't make me a better player, but it would make me a happy player...

    Ian
     
  7. roteague

    roteague Member

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  8. severian

    severian Member

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    touching

    Bob,
    does anything actually ever touch anything else?
    Jack
     
  9. Will S

    Will S Member

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    Everything is interconnected, but I don't think it is quite in the way your friend imagines. That idea is more along the lines of astrology and reading of entrails.

    From a pure physics standpoint a photon exhibits characteristics of a wave in some instances and a particle in others, but it is still a photon. Actually, I think that everything is like that, but that the waves larger objects have are very, very small. Let me see: See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wave-particle_duality

    Best,

    Will
     
  10. Bob F.

    Bob F. Member

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    Only if you want a REALLY loud bang.... :wink: