Truth of an object.

Before I give an example of ‘truth’ I first need to understand what other photographers and theorist views are on this subject?

The term truth is used by Tom Gunning to describe the widespread belief that traditionally photographers accurately depicted reality.

Tom Gunning

In his theory he states that ‘the truth claim relies upon both the indexicality and visual accuracy of photographs’  the indexicality of the photograph depends on a physical relation between the object photographed and the final image. Because with many editing strategies, the image can look very different indeed.

For example, Causes of Death by John Hillard Circa (1970)  is a great example as it shows different story within each frame and this is all because of cropping into the image to create a new one, a new story, a new emotion. But which is the truthful one, as with any aspect of our lives the view we see is the view we read and understand, sadly this does not make it truthful. The image on the photographic negative derives from the transformation of light sensitive emulsion caused by light reflecting off the object photographed filtered through the lens and diaphragm. In a digital image, however, instead of light sensitive emulsion affected by the luminous object, the image is formed through data about light that is encoded in a matrix of numbers. But both methods can and have been edited to change the views perception.

Below is a list of theories behind the truth in photography, some such as Edward Steichen , believe that photographs can and always have been able to be manipulated and distort the truth others such as Gunnar Swanson say without the truth/object the photograph would not be.


Other theories on ‘truth’:

Leslie Mullen

Trick or Truth – Great examples of photography that had the perception change during the analogue era.

On notions of Truth in photography – Semiotics and the Stereograph –  ‘The photographic referent is not the same as the referent of other systems of representation. I call the ‘photographic referent’ not the optionally real thing to which an image or sign refers but the necessarily real thing which has been placed before the lens, without which there would be no photograph’

I believe in this image the is a lot of truth. The object is readable and understandable, with the use of lighting and setting and that was my choice and decision but if I were to change it I could change the entire concept of this still life photograph. For example;

I understand how many people can’t trust a photograph as editing has ruined the truth within our images which makes the viewer question all images they see. But as I said above the truth is in the eye of the beholder, it is my job to create the truth with the object and not the software. But as I have shown above a simple hair clip can be edited to look many different ways to give you different emotions from and out of the photograph with use of angles, light and colour.


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