In earlier posts the question of reality’s place in photography was considered and subsequently sidestepped by deferring to ‘I came, I saw, I snapped’.
After referring to a few more points of view, while revisiting some of my own pictures, there appeared to be a worthwhile purpose in investigating what is being achieved by my own efforts in respect to representing realism.
There could be a use here for numerous quotes from, and name-dropping of, philosophical thinkers, but it seems a consensus of opinion is that reality has more to do with perception than physical consistency. Photography adds further dimensions to the mix by determining an image is only relevant to the moment of its creation; coupled with the complication in which each viewer of the image has only their own experience to comprehend its significance. Therefore if a photograph is seen without its histogram can it ever be given a time and the ambient conditions, or if an unknown object, named or given a particular situation?
An example of trying to quantify a particular picture, giving a meaning, time and a place, is challenging even to the most erudite of viewers. Below is what can be seen as a possible landscape or perhaps, to those who have flown over a storm, clouds observed from above at 30000ft. In fact this picture was taken using a Canon SX30 set at a maximum 140x zoom looking into the streak of sunset shown in the second picture below; without a positive reference the cloud scene becomes whatever the viewer makes of it.
Another problem of deciding where to focus, or how to set a shot, can crop up in nearly all photographic situations particularly when in failing light as featured in the lower picture above. Use available light? Use flash to highlight the foreground figure? Zoom into a specific detail? More decisions. Any of the above would produce an image that could be seen as justified, but against what criteria should the choice be made?
At this point it is time to consider not only the cameraman’s personality, but the intellectual and artistic prowess of the viewer. All of which comes into the possible understanding of the image and whether the intent of the photographer can be discerned and appreciated; does it matter if that information remains obscure? Should the operator of the camera give title to their image to aid transferring ideas?
Whoever invented the digital camera has much to answer for, making my brain work like this. Right time now to go back to basics, who needs to know all these things anyhow?