Whats Real Anyway? - The truth behind looking..?
"No matter how advanced your camera you still need to be responsible for getting it to the right place at the right time and pointing it in the right direction to get the photo you want."
Ken Rockwell http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/notcamera.htm
Digital Photos, as we all know, are created by a technology which is determined by several incredibly clever factors; a preset sequence of binary codes; electrons recording photons and making assumptions like lossy or lossless compression; quantum efficiencies which equate to the level of photons recorded; crop factors and so on - the technical strengths and indeed marvellousness of modern DSLR cameras mean that nowadays, the camera can literally 'see' what we see and more. Therefore, with DSLR photography, what we actually see, particularly with high end cameras is more about the photographer in the sense that he/she can control and manipulate the final outcome of a photoshoot in many ways.
There is, of course, another element to photography, which is completely nothing to do with the equipment or the photographer. By this, I refer to the way the photograph is perceived by the viewer. I have become increasingly interested in the way that different people can view the same image with completely different opinions as to the content which is why in this module I intend to explore reality from this as well as an aesthetic perspective.
By the time the camera has recorded the raw data, the photographer has manipulated the image and applied his or her own narrative and a viewer has perceived the image, interpreted it and asserted his or her own narrative onto the image, a little like Chinese whispers – how far removed is the image in translation from whence it began?
So in essence, is it possible, depending on the photographer - that a DSLR potentially shows us as much 'truth' and 'reality' as being there ourselves? Or do we, as the viewer, change that truth and reality to suit our own predisposition?
For all the DSLR's flashy technologically advanced soft and hardware, is 'crappy' camera photography perceived by the viewer to be more 'truthful'?
"I’ve finally figured out what’s wrong with photography. It’s a one-eyed man looking through a little ‘ole. Now, how much reality can there be in that?" – David Hockney
The Saatchi Gallery describes these photographs: “For Dash Snow photography becomes a way of engaging with environment and memory. Each snapshot captures a place, time, and emotion, freeze-framing the individual components of everyday experience, mapping out the compilation of an identity. Using a Polaroid camera for its instantaneous results and association as keep-sakes, the familiar format of Snow’s photos replicates the sentiments of his images: cheap, disposable, and plebian mementos become humble evidence of discarded beauty.”
The film grain adds texture and tension to fixtures, fittings and faces alike. The deepened shadows and overexposed highlights add drama and narrative, there is a physical and psychological depth to the film camera image that isn't achievable by the use of a DSLR without physical manipulation by the photographer.
Is it the case that in our heavily saturated image toxic environment in which we live our daily lives, we are so accustomed to being persuaded in our sheep-like drones into the seduction of glossy well-presented 'produced' images that, when unedited, are technically almost representative of what we can see with our human eyes, that the UNquality of a crappy camera photo reaches our senses on a more basic level? One where our human empathies still remain?
I have previously been preoccupied with making work by trialling different view points and DLSR camera equipment. Now, I intend to explore the same theme but seeing if I can create a more 'real' 'reality' by using alternative technology for capturing my shots and by measuring the reaction from the viewers.
I plan to do this by working through a number of initial ideas: