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  1. #1
    davetravis's Avatar
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    Darkness Photographs???

    It seems that at every show I do, I get at least one fruitcake who wants to argue some abstract point with me about photography. I've pretty much talked it all, so too many to list here.
    But this one guy at my last show tried to convince me that if someone shoots an image of a completely dark room, I mean completely dark, like my color darkroom, that the resulting image should be considered a "photograph." He argured because the print would be all black, and since B&W is still around, that makes it a photograph.
    Is this guy wacko, or am I just being too traditional?
    DT

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by davetravis View Post
    Is this guy wacko, or am I just being too traditional?
    DT

    Technically and logically, he's in the right. In the real world, I'd go for the first of your diagnoses.

    Cheers,

    R.

  3. #3
    jstraw's Avatar
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    It would be a photograph...a boring photograph, but...

    In conceptual terms, given context, it could be interesting and thought provoking. A diptych: One image of room with a dim candle in the corner. A second image of the candle blown out.... It illustrates a conceptual question. If the one is a photograph, how can the other not be?

    People responded viscerally, sometimes violently when Ad Reinhardt showed his black canvases.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_Reinhardt

  4. #4
    Helen B's Avatar
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    Well, if you stick with the traditional dictionary definition of a photograph as being produced by the action of light or other radiation on a sensitised surface how could it be a photograph? No light, no photo.

    Best,
    Helen

  5. #5
    Travis Nunn's Avatar
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    If he's willing to buy it, I'd consider it a photograph.
    ____________________________________________
    Searching my way to perplexion

  6. #6
    Michel Hardy-Vallée's Avatar
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    *yawn*

    A piece of sensitive paper was exposed to light, that of the enlarger, so you have a photo-graph. Who said that there was a constraint on where the light must come from? A photogram is some kind of photograph. A print of a normal negative is a photograph of this negative, which in turn is a photograph of an actual scene.

    Ask your loony whether he considers the original blank negative to be a photograph at all, and you might have a debate.
    Using film since before it was hip.


    "One of the most singular characters of the hyposulphites, is the property their solutions possess of dissolving muriate of silver and retaining it in considerable quantity in permanent solution" — Sir John Frederick William Herschel, "On the Hyposulphurous Acid and its Compounds." The Edinburgh Philosophical Journal, Vol. 1 (8 Jan. 1819): 8-29. p. 11

    My APUG Portfolio

  7. #7
    David Brown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davetravis View Post
    ... this one guy at my last show tried to convince me that if someone shoots an image of a completely dark room, I mean completely dark, like my color darkroom, that the resulting image should be considered a "photograph."
    The answer to a proposal such as this is: "Yes, of course. It's already been done." And then roll your eyes and walk away.

    :rolleyes:

  8. #8
    Helen B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Brown View Post
    The answer to a proposal such as this is: "Yes, of course. It's already been done."...
    It certainly has. I did it in both Cibachrome and B&W in 1974, and I'm sure that many other people have done it. I guess the Cibachrome wouldn't count in this case because it never was exposed to any light. I did it after going to a badly lit show where the photographs were overwhelmed by the reflections from the surface, so I decided to do it properly for them and cut out the images altogether.

    Best,
    Helen

  9. #9
    JBrunner's Avatar
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    I have accomplished this, and images close to it many times. Not on purpose, of course. It would be hard to get the black just right. Is it a photograph? Yes. Most of the time it is a mistake. If it isn't and total non-exposure is the goal, one has to ask, whats the point? The real question involves trees crushing mimes in forests, and something else I don't remember.

  10. #10
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    Can I change that question into "can we see total darkness?"

    We certainly can't see "anything" in the total darkness, but do we see the "darkness" itself? We perceive darkness because we can't see anything in the darkness?

    Ever since I had been operated my eyes for retinal tear, I see some floaters and sometimes flashes inside my eyes even in the total darkness. These things I see, but can never be photographed.

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