Thursday, September 18, 2008

photographic 'truthiness'

i want to put together a fun, conversational list of ways that the (traditional camera/analog film combo) camera 'lies' vs the way the camera tells the 'truth' for a documentary section of my intro to the photographic image class. here's what i've got so far:

ways the camera lies:
the frame
the lens, especially as you get farther away from the standard 50mm lens of 35mm photo-making
depth of field (we never see everything at once) or sometimes we never see as little focus as the camera is showing us
color, although you can make a realistic looking picture, we are always interpreting our negative
shutter speed creates effects we can't see
vantage point changing the relationship of things to each other
titles can lie
photo sequences can lie
b/w is a distortion
the problems of collapsing a 3d world to a 2d image (something may behind something else and we would never know due to this collapse)

ways the camera tells the truth:
something was indeed in front of the camera (mostly)...the 'trace'
a single point perspective that references the way we also see with (assuming single exposure)
we want to believe in things we see
lack of viewer visual literacy/criticalness

have something to add??????? i welcome any responses! then, copy/paste for your own class conversation starter...


Blogger Zacharias said...

only the last two of truth are really true, the picture i think is almost always a lie. though depending on the genre of photograph, if you have in fact talked to them about this thing called contemporary photo. what are you gonna talk about next week, i know the portrait and possibly some type of tableau vivant?

1:09 AM  
Blogger phc said...

A staged image that appears casual.

People lie. People don't lie. Maybe you could add a third section that deals directly with the human element - the camera operator.

I'm a fan of your work Jason. From a far. We have some friends in common - BU and KC.

Peter HC

8:57 PM  

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