What you see is what you get.

My last few blog posts have been about the ethics of image manipulation. As I think more about this my own views appear to be being manipulated into accepting some forms of image altering. I have just finished what will be my submission for Assignment 4: Real or fake. The dark winter nights have persuaded me to get ahead of myself with DPP, as I am nearly ready to submit Assignment 3: Monochrome to my tutor. Assignment 4 involved me ‘rebuilding Pompeii’, which I thoroughly enjoyed. It helped me to see how image manipulation can enable us to envisage what places may have been like by altering them digitally instead of physically.
This course is enabling me to understand that whilst there is a line between image manipulation and reality preservation, it is sometimes ok to cross that line…within reason!

This project has led me to ask the question, do all photographers manipulate their photographs? Before closing the shutter the photographer is able to manipulate the image by choosing the focus and the area to keep in the viewfinder. What about the surrounding area that isn’t part of the final image? A change of position and angle can enable a photographer to purposely leave out unwanted elements such as chimneys, other people, waste etc. Also the chosen time to take a photograph can influence the outcome of a photograph.

This is a belief shared by Bright (2007) who claims:

Meanings can slip and slide depending on context.

Written works are often read with some caution, with an acknowledgement of its author’s viewpoint. There’s something personal about reading something that another person has written and their opinion can be understood. However a photograph can communicate so many different meanings that it can be misinterpreted by the viewer. Many people look at a picture with a ‘What you see is what you get’ kind of an attitude. They don’t delve deeper beyond the surface layer. Therefore whilst image manipulation does have its critics the viewer should bear some of the responsibility to consider a photograph critically, as they would with any kind of media.


About Matt

Photography degree student with the Open College of the Arts.
This entry was posted in DPP, Project 4: Reality and Intervention, Reflections and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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