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MTAA-RR » news » twhid » truth in photos:

Sep 27, 2007

‘Truth’ in photos?

posted at 01:11 GMT by T.Whid in /news/twhid

I would like to write more about this, but time—work—blah.

Two articles in today’s NYT provide a strange contrast to one another. The first is filmmaker Errol Morris’ essay regarding a photo from 1855 by Roger Fenton. (I had never heard of Fenton before today and had never seen the photos discussed.) And the second is an editorial criticizing the idea that the dunes that inspired Edward Hopper should be protected from development simply because they were inspirations to the artist.

First, in the Morris article, I find it bizarre that there is even a debate as to the worth of a photo (or the talent of the photographer) if the photo was somehow staged:

[Songtag] mentions how one of the Fenton photographs was posed or staged. That we’re always disappointed when we learn that a photograph has been posed. Then she goes on to talk about the difference between fake paintings and fake photographs. Namely, a fake painting is a painting with faulty provenance — say, a painting that is purportedly by Vermeer, but turns out to be painted by somebody else. But according to Sontag, a fake photograph is a photograph that’s been posed.

OK, for the layman, sure, they’re disappointed. But experts? Artists? They shouldn’t be disappointed because almost all photos are a fiction to one degree or another. This seems like a very important thing to recognize in this day in age because when people don’t realize this very simple concept things like this happen.

The second article makes more sense. It’s obvious that the landscape has been filtered through the artist. How could it not be? He painted it. Why do people persist in seeing art photos any differently? permanent link to this post

MTAA-RR » news » twhid » truth in photos

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