Discuss the limitations of photographs in providing a “truthful” image of the “real” world.
For as long as photography has existed, there has always been the notion of can we really believe what we see in an image presented to us? This is ever more prevalent with the rise and popularity of digital photography and the various image manipulating software widely available today.
When looking at and assessing an image, there are many factors that one should take into account:
Why was the image produced?
- Who was the intended audience?
- Has the image been manipulated in anyway?
- Has the image been staged?
Different images will conjure up different feeling and emotions in different people, depending on their beliefs, lifestyle and life experiences. So an image saying one thing to one individual could be conveying a very different message to another. Everybody’s sense of reality is different.
Another consideration to make when analysing an image is “what was the photographers purpose for taking the image?”. Images are taken everyday for a wide variety of reasons:
It is widely considered that documentary photography and photojournalistic photography to be the most “real” photography and that fashion and advertising photography to be the most heavily edited and manipulated, this is in order to appeal to a certain audience and to sell products.
Example of Air Brushing an image – Can we always believe what we see?
This is why it is important to take these factors into account when considering the limitations of photographs in providing a “truthful” image of the “real” world.