Read the section entitled ‘The Real and the Digital’ in Wells, Liz (2009) Photography: A Critical Introduction (4th Edition). Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 73-75.
Does Digital technology change how we see photograph as truth? Consider both sides of the argument.
I believe technology does change the way we see photography. With the invention of Photoshop, people can edit photographs to a high degree. In Photoshop you can remove or add objects, change colours, adjust the contrast, or even make the photograph look more appeasing to the eye. Today, it can be very difficult to know weather a photo is real or has been edited. For example, here are two photos of the Lagoon Nebula, one is red and the other is blue.
How do you tell which is real, you can’t unless you have prior knowledge of the Nebula and know which is real. In this instance the red is the real picture, and the blue was edited in Photoshop. Photoshop has changed the way photography is seen as it can change a picture quite convincingly and the viewer is none the wiser. This causes a distrust of photos; people could be constantly looking at them and not knowing whether what they are seeing is real. But historically, there has always been ‘editing’ or manipulation in photography. One such example is the Cottingley Fairies. The image was captured in 1917, and features a young girl with what appears to be fairies.
People were convinced that these were real fairies, and it wasn’t until the 1980s that the photographer admitted they had faked the images using images of fairies cut out of a book. Photographic composites were also popular, often being used to add people into a photograph, such as a family portrait. Whilst these manipulations are not as refined as Photoshop, it did still happen, so it is nothing new. But Photoshop has made image editing easy and accessible to everyone. It can turn a technically bad photograph into a good picture. The software is so refined that it can easily create a false image that people will think is real, and as such photographs are no longer admissible in courts of law.
Digital photography has also changed how we view photography. There are a wide variety of digital cameras on the market today, ranging from cheap compacts to expensive DSLRs. This has aloud photography to be accessible to everyone, not just photographers, and in a way it has ‘turned everyone into a photographer’. Digital photography allows you to be creative, whereas with film, it had its limitations. But nowadays photography is so available that you can even use your phone to take good pictures. Digital technology has aloud progression n the world of photography, but at what cost? It is good that photography is accessible to everyone, but it has changed the way people perceived photography, anyone who picks up a camera, be it a compact, a DSLR, or even an iPhone can call themselves a photographer.
Photography is no longer seen as an art form, it is so wide spread it could be seen as a necessity. As technology and photograph has progressed separately, there have also progressed together, for example having a computer is necessary to photography, this has changed people view of photography as it wasn’t long ago that you didn’t need a computer. It won’t be long before computers are as important to an image make-up as optics are.
Social media has had a huge effect on the view of photography. In 2010, instagram was created. Instagram is a photo-sharing app, which can be used on twitter, Facebook and other social media sites. Millions of photographs are upload daily, all taken on smartphones. People use instagram to share photos of their daily lives, from the food they eat to memorable events; it basically documents their life. But it has also allowed people to be creative and express their creativity through photography. Some see it as an art form, as people are noticing art in their lives.
The main problem is that technology is changing the way people see professional photography. There is a massive difference between a professional photographer and someone taking a picture on their iPhone, photographers are having to adapt to a new era of technology and photography.
Lodriguss, J. The Ethics of Digital Manipulation. [Online] Available from: http://www.astropix.com/HTML/J_DIGIT/ETHICS.HTM [Accessed: 24th November 2015].
Murphy, D. (2015) Instagram: How It’s Changing the World of Photography. Huffington Post. [Online] Available from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/diana-murphy/instagram-changing-percep_b_6727100.html [Accessed: 21st of November 2015].
Naughton, J. (2011) Digital Photograph’s Bright New World. [Online] Available from: http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2011/dec/04/digital-photography-latest-camera-technology [Accessed: 22nd of November 2015].
Theme. (2013) How Technology Changed Photography. [Online] Available from: http://www.the.me/how-technology-changed-photography/ [Accessed: 21st of November 2015].