Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Exercise: Realism

We are asked to read section pp 1-8 of the easy "Transparent Pictures: On the Nature of Photographic Realism" by Kendall L Walton, and write a reflective commentary of 200 words.

Walton’s paper got off to a really great start cutting to the chase that photography excels in realism when compared to other forms pictures. This is hardly surprising to anyone, ultimately it is an object’s reflected, or generated, light that is captured and it should be near perfect. Walton makes the observation that there is margin for error, in an incorrect exposure, shutter speed etc., but surely this is a skill that the practitioner and equipment develop. Walton also makes a very important observation in that a traditional artist can create images as realistic as any photograph and is limited only by material and skill.
I remember buying my first large format book by Crewdson, when I opened it I initially believed that the images were artists impressions. Here perhaps is a common example where photography has adapted to take the edge of realism; Walton did not explore this. He did however comment on its authenticity and applications of evidence such as the courtroom where the “camera does not lie”.

Walton spends time to discuss how close we are to the photograph holding it as memories set in time, recalling past relatives. Here the important distinction is that we see our past relatives in our mind-set and not literally. I often wonder though if past images install fake memories or embellish them where our memories are hazy or older? One of the best articles I have read so far….  [240 words]

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