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  1. #11

    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Medium Format
    Was a Yashica mat 124g.

    For me, that relationship makes all the difference. The authenticity of film is a direct consequence of that relationship. And that relationship—that provenance—does not exist with an abstract digital image file. Sorry, it just physically doesn't. In fact, it physically can't.
    Interesting case, Where does the reproduce-ability of the photo lay under your view of things?
    "The Medium is the Message"

  2. #12
    Ken Nadvornick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Monroe, WA, USA
    Multi Format
    Just as you say. As reproductions. One can reproduce it as silver, as carbon, as ink, or scan it into an abstract image file to be later used to print it by any of these or other methods. But all of them are image reproductions from the original photograph.

    The photograph is the real world thing upon which the original image was rendered—in situ as Maris correctly notes—as a direct consequence of being in proximity to the original subject. Break that chain of provenance and the photograph then becomes only a reproduced image.

    There is a tendency today to confuse photographs and images. A photograph is the thing that rendered and preserved the original image of the subject at the original point in time. It was the thing the light from the subject originally transformed, and it preserves that transformation. It was in proximity to the subject at the point of the original rendering. It possesses an unbroken chain of provenance originating with that subject. You can hold it in your hands. It is authentic.

    The image rendered in the photograph can be—as often is—subsequently reproduced in volume. Sometimes faithfully. Sometimes not. And sometimes intentionally not. Images can be reproduced in books, magazines, newspapers, on your computer monitor, by your inkjet printer, or via a silver gelatin print. Any of these methods (except the monitor) can also serve to preserve the image. Or it can also be preserved by abstracting it into a digital image file.

    A digital image file is another distinct level of abstraction from the image. The file does not store the image. It stores a descripion of the image. An abstract pattern. The directions or recipe, if you will, of how to recreate the image on your computer for display on your monitor.

    The file consists of an arbitrarily long sequence of binary digits. 0s and 1s. But as we all know, 0s and 1s are themselves abstractions. They are not real. You cannot hold a 0 or a 1 (or a 2, 3, 4...) in your hands. They are abstract descriptors intended to refer to something real. Saying "give me 4 pencils" is a recipe for assembling a specific group of specific objects. It is not the objects themselves. The same way that a digital image file is not the photographic object itself.

    Last edited by Ken Nadvornick; 12-08-2012 at 10:26 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: Oops, missing word...
    "When making a portrait, my approach is quite the same as when I am portraying a rock. I do not wish to impose my personality upon the sitter, but, keeping myself open to receive reactions from his own special ego, record this with nothing added: except of course when I am working professionally, when money enters in,—then for a price, I become a liar..."

    — Edward Weston, Daybooks, Vol. II, February 2, 1932

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