What does the photographer’s intervention do to distort the truth in an image?
The level of the photographers distortion of the image can greatly impact the truth of the image. However the purpose of the image can dictate the level of distortion the photographer inputs to the image.
The purpose of the image may not be to tell the truth (the truth: that which is true in accordance with fact or reality). The purpose could be a creative response, an exaggeration of fact or reality, which is not being used as a misrepresentation of fact or truth but a visual representation of fiction.
If the purpose of the image is to represent the truth of reality of a situation, then a photographers intervention could greatly distort the truth, the photographers falsification could have significant implications. Journalists photograph what is considered to be fact or reality and society expects to see the truth. If this was distorted then society’s perception of something could be far from truth, potentially affecting public opinion, influencing political votes or society’s attitude towards something or someone.
There at certain types of photographers or digital artists out there that try to fabricate celebrity images for financial gain, usually creating something scandalous or a more ugly side of the truth as our society is obsessed with celebrity culture and quite often a celebrity’s demise.
A photographer’s intervention may be only to enhance and tweak the aesthetics of the truth which is in front of them, to make it visually more appealing to the viewer, but not claiming to be a true reality but an enhanced better version of reality. Fashion or advertising photographers edit their images to show a better version of what they have captured. Skin re-touching, a nip and a tuck here and there to tidy up the image.
A photographer may not digitally alter an image at all, however the truth still may be distorted due to their intervention. The angle at which something is captured the crop of the image may not reveal the true context of which is being photographed.
A photographer may also fabricate an entire image, completely destroying the real truth, creating something false which they claim to be truth. This has been done so many times throughout history and is usually done for some sort of monetary gain or propaganda purposes. Photographs of UFO’s, ghosts and mysteries creatures from myth such as big foot and the loch ness monster have been circulating for so many years, most of which are proven to be fake. I think no if someone actually captured a genuine phenomena such as these they would accused of fakery straight away.
Does your intervention when taking a photograph dilute the ability for an image to reveal the truth?
Yes it can. I capture a variety of images, depending on what I am capturing determines my level of intervention. When I capture something which I regard to be truth such as photographing the boxing or social events such as weddings, I try to just document what is in front of me. I do not alter these images. However I notice when editing through my boxing images that the images I choose to publish may tell a different story to the overall truth. I do try show a reflection of the truth, I think it is wrong when to alter something you are claiming to be truth.
When I capture portraits or fashion then I do alter these images, which then may not reveal the exact truth but what I want the viewer to see or which is what the subject has asked me to create. I will only make minor adjustments, skin re-touching , slight tweaks to show a more prettier version of the reality. I have my own moral code which I stick too , that is if the subject has something on them such as a spot which is a temporary then ill remove it, however I would not automatically remove something which is a permanent feature to them such as a mole or scar unless the client specified.
If I am creating a piece of digital art then I am not trying to convey a truth so my level of intervention to manipulate an image to what I want it to be may be vast.
Are documentary images closer to telling the truth than advertising images?
Documentary images are closer to telling the truth than that of advertising images. Documentary images should be factual, real life, non factious images containing the truth. Advertising does have to follow a code of conduct, it should be an accurate description of the product or service however, they can be creative images which use manipulation to perhaps create a feeling or emotion or convey smell or taste relating to the product. And therefore the image may not be one which is true in the technical sense.
What parts interests you as an image maker? Is the topic one that interests you?
As a photographer/ digital artist I think it is fascinating that we have the ability to create amazing images which tell a story. To be thought provoking, plant a seed in someone’s mind and give them a creative thought. To raise awareness and promote potential change in society. To entertain or give someone that cherished memory.
I am not interested in faking the truth, claiming it to be truth, I think its wrong to create a perversion of an image to manipulate society’s beliefs or create propaganda. However creating something beautiful, enhancing the emotion of an image, creating an artistic image for the correct reason is something that interests me.
Do you know any good examples of unexplained phenomena, that may help you engage the brief?
a fact or situation that is observed to exist or happen, especially one whose cause or explanation is in question
the object of a person’s perception
a remarkable person or thing
Looking into unexplained phenomena leads to a whole list of phenomena which science can not explain including; ghosts, intuition, Deja vu, hyper perceptions, near death experiences, psychic powers and ESP, the body/ mind connection, UFO’s, mysteries creatures and time slips. Even Albert Einstein believed time was not as stable as we think. Scientists have disproved many of the individual cases of some of these phenomena over the years however mystery remains around all these phenomena’s.
Confusing these phenomena’s may be to read about, conflicting answers to the reality or unreality of these, whatever the truth may be, I feel that I can take from this to engage the brief, will be the use of lights, most of these phenomena are visual formations or perceptions from light, which evoke emotions a sense of calm, fear or overwhelming sense of enlightenment.
What approach will you take ?
I am not interested in faking a UFO sighting or mysteries creatures. I do like to photograph people, portraits or fashion interest me, I think that using lighting or long exposure techniques with lighting might be a good way to create a visually interesting image with a person, which would have been influenced by a sense of enlightenment created by a phenomena or emphasis on time.