Week 7 – Task 1

In the reading ‘The Myth of Photographic Truth’ it states that “Throughout it’s history, photography has been associated with realism” (Sturken and Cartwright 16) which is when an artist/person attempts to create something that resembles life. Instead of basing work on objects or mythology. When you think of photography you often believe that what you are seeing is what was happening at the time. However in the ‘A Photographic Truth’ video clip, Mark Osterman says “There’s nothing very truthful about photography.” (Faking it) which is essentially true, “There is the truth the photographer wants you to see and then theres the truth the viewer sees.” (A Photographic Truth) For example, in early forms of photography the image captured is actually a negative that then has to be processed. During this time the image captured is also originally on the opposite side. Therefore you’re not actually seeing the truth.

Throughout the reading ‘The Myth of Photographic Truth’ the terms denotation and connotation are often used. While denotation is the literal/primary meaning of a word (in this case piece of work), connotation is the idea/feeling or an abstract meaning. It is discussed that the dividing line between what an image denotes and connotes can often be ambiguous and that these meanings can change due to social context over time (Sturken and Cartwright 20). These meanings can help us analyse an image by thinking about what it actually represents as well as looking deeper into the reasoning behind it. These terms can in fact help me when discussing the images I use in my essay. The idea of ‘the truth that the photographer wants you to see and the truth the viewer sees’ also relates to my essay question (How humans change the natural environment). In terms of pollution and the ever rising problem of climate change, environmental photographers will often capture things that will invoke a reaction or feeling that wants you to think deeply and wants you to take action and think about what is actually happening o the planet.


Works Cited:

Osterman, Mark. “A Photographic Truth.” Youtube, uploaded by The Met, October 26, 2012, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uq8JGzZ9ql4

Sturken, Marita and Lisa Cartwright. “The Myth of Photographic Truth” Practices of looking; An introduction to visual culture. Oxford University Press, 2009, pp16-22.


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