237.130_A2_W7_TASK 1_ Visual analysis

Key ideas

  • Photographic truth (myth) – studium the truth function of the photograph vs objectivity through the artist and machine.
  • Photographic fakery, from the retouching of negatives to the digital manipulation through the use of software such as photoshop.
  • How photography has always been “inherently untruthful” – Osterman.
  • Denotative and connotative meanings behind images.

‘The Myth of Photographic Truth’ refers to the idea photography depicts the unmediated real world, it captures the unprecedented truth. Barthe defines this truth function of photography as studium. However, studium also evokes a “distanced appreciation for what the image holds” Struken 17. This has been the centre of skepticism as this alters the truths an image can tell in different contexts, limiting the image’s purpose as evidence. This is why the photographic truth is characterised as a myth. The portrayal of reality through photography has always succumbed to manipulation, whether it be on purpose or by accident, the alterations of photographs are not restricted to the contemporary era. From the beginning of time, photographs never perfected the duplication of reality, negatives mirrored, colours were reversed or in shades of single colour. Purposeful manipulation includes movement during exposures and retouching of self-portraits.

The truth is “today’s digitally manipulated images are part of the continuum that extends back to the earliest decades” Osterman. Analysing visual texts need to be approached with caution and open-mindedness, as the viewer you are only seeing what the artist intended you to see.

101384637_o.jpgRay, Man. Marcel Duchamp as Rrose Sèlavy. Self-portrait photograph. 1921. Web. 13/04/2016

The Myth of Photographic Truth exemplifies both the baises and objectivity. Photography will never capture what the human eye sees, however, it still remains the most truthful of mediums. Marcel Duchamp as Rrose Sèlavy captures identity and gender through photographic image. Connotations and denotations discussed in Martia Struken 20 in images create different levels of meaning and representation. Connotations change with society over time, where denotations incorporate specific cultural and contextual meanings. The photograph represents Duchamp as a woman, artists use the skepticism and the function of truth to express and symbolise inner thoughts and emotions. The viewers are free to interpret, everyone sees their own truth.

Works cited

Sturken, Marita, and Lisa Cartwright. “Images, Power and Politics”. Practices Of Looking : An Introduction To Visual Culture.: New York : Oxford University. Press, 2009. 9-48. Print.

Osterman, Metmuseum Mark. “A Photographic Truth.” YouTube. YouTube, 26 Oct. 2012. Web. 2 May. 2016.

Ray, Man. Marcel Duchamp as Rrose Sèlavy. Self-portrait photograph. 1921. Web. 13/04/2016

Mirzoeff, Nicholas. “How to see yourself.” How to See the World. London: Pelican, 2015. 47-48. Print.


237.130_A2_W7_TASK 1_ Visual analysis

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s