This discussion veered off into Plato's cave and whether our senses reflect reality. I thought it was going to go in a different direction.
Perhaps the part that is not illusory, that matters, is that the photographer chose that moment and that place and that perspective to make the photograph. Presumably it meant something to him or her, and releasing the shutter was not a random unintentional accident. Maybe the meaning was subconscious or submerged or not recognized. I don't pretend that it will mean the same thing to the viewer, but it might trigger something, and I like to think even if it is not the same thing then it could be something meaningful in a similar or related way.
That might seem like wishful thinking, but I don't think it is... if two people smell the same rose or view the same scene they will experience different emotions and memories, but they are related in the way I mean.
That is the reality of the photograph itself being created, regardless of how "real" the subject is.
Originally Posted by Drew B.
they are a reflection of what was, maybe, but the reflection is just that, a reflection, not the actual thing.
it is filtered through a lens which distorts, omits or enhances reality depending on the type of lens and field of view
( its not hard to depict a mob of 6 people with a certain perspective and lens ) the chemical rays of light ( thanks maris ) react with materials and then the reflection on the paper is converted to something else. i am somewhat color blind so my color pallet is
not the same as someone else's ... black and white of a colorful scene alters reality again, not to mention
contrast enhancement, burning, dodging, bleaching, toning &c ... maybe a photograph is based on reality of what might have been
but it isn't any reality i have ever seen ...
although a friend of mine's father has no color vision, he only sees in black and white, so maybe black and white images
are closer to his reality ... but still they aren't real .
I beg to differ .
Photographe are a depiction, not a reflection, of a number of things.
Physical reality, temporal reality, photographer's perceptions, viewers' preconceptions, ambient light, etc.
“Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”
Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2
Originally Posted by momus
Only God is Truth.
+1. Interesting thread. Interestingly, with photography's cousin, film, there is an entire field-of-study dedicated to the philosophical nature of the medium in regards to the study of perception and reality. Although, amoung the myriad of theories out there, the consensus is that the very nature of the photographic medium can never truly capture reality, but merely reproduce a 'familiarity' of it; that is, what our combined understanding of the world around us is. In the words of William Earle, "If the public sees it [eg: a rose] as red and I see it as grey, its real property is red and I am color-blind." (Revolt Against Realism in the Films)
Originally Posted by jnanian
As photographers the camera allows us to intentionally manipulate these combined 'familiarities' to communicate subjectively: say if we anthropomorphize an object; 'a sad hammer,' a lonely house' and so on.
"The real work was thinking, just thinking." - Charles Chaplin
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So there is no such thing as a photograph? So Lincoln wasn't actually standing next to US Grant surrounded by subordinates? Am I reading too deeply into what you are saying?
Originally Posted by jnanian
Now back to the topic of illusion ...
Originally Posted by Alan Klein
"... still they aren't real" - jnanian
"Nothing we perceive with our senses is really, truthfully correct or real" - momus
Maybe you've noticed: language is insufficient to the cause.
The world -and my experience of it- not real? That which is, is.
How can it be otherwise?
But like water through the fingers, it often exceeds our grasp.
Yet, breathe awhile, and sit idly, maybe it'll sneak up on you!
Sometimes a picture is just a picture
- Freud (paraphrased)