The debate about whether a photograph shows ‘truth’ seems to me to have more to do with ontology than the nature of photography and whether it is digital or film based, as I have mentioned earlier in my learning log. I am inclined to agree with Campany that photography…
“…derives less from what it is technologically than what it is culturally.” (Wells, 2009: 75)
This allows for the blurring of photographic practices as art, documentary, still life, etc., wherein they can borrow from each other and develop in dialogue. As this evolves it brings into question our ability to make meaning from and of such images.
I do not hold the view that there is a single, objective reality to be found and represented – a realist ontology. I am more inclined to a relativist position where there are multiple truths created and constructed intersubjectively through discourse and social experience. This perspective allows for multiple realities. My concern is therefore less about whether an image represents a reality so much as from whose perspective it has been created (either in the camera or in postproduction) and what discourse are they inviting me into.
References and citations
Wells, L. (2009). Photography: A critical introduction (4th ed.). Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.