William Oldacre Photography

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What Is Truth

Light Signatures series, day, colour photograph, art, abstract, abstract expressionism, creative, city street, urban, downtown, cityscape, speed, blur, movement, motion, green, orange, yellow, muted, waves, patterns

Orange Green And Yellow Waves, 2013 – Light Signatures :: (click to see more)

I just read and have read so many statements and critiques about truth and photography. It seems that somehow we have become stuck on this notion that photographs tell the truth and that now with the advent of digital manipulation this hard fact has been subverted. I think we’re missing the point. Its true photographs have the ability to record real things, places, scenes, activity etc – … within the confines of the technical ability of the equipment employed at the time, but – whether or not the recorded things are in fact real depends on so many factors – many of the same factors that a recording made with paint, or graphite or marble etc also encompass. That is to say, these and other mediums can also record truth, albeit not so readily.

I think the real issue here is that somehow as a society we became lulled into associating photography with recorded truth. That was our collective mistake and now it has become difficult and often an angering one to disassociate.

Aside from photography’s historic aspect as a medium for recording truth, digitized photography has opened an incredible wealth of possibilities to explore – the most obvious of which is to play off our collective mis-conception that photographs don’t lie. Much of the possibilities to explore I’m sure are as yet to be dreamt of, let alone discovered and applied.

But all this begs the true question at the crux of the matter – What Is Truth?

All us humans, are essentially minds locked inside bodies with various sensory apparatus. Are we to rely upon our senses for an assessment of the truth? Are we to trust our interpretations of our senses for the truth? Can we even be certain that we are not just dreaming? I know all of this is academic and has long been hashed over philosophically and that essential bootstrap arguments have been derived that allow us to determine that yes, we are in fact awake and not dreaming our own “reality”.

Still – truth is an interpretation that we are socialized with – that we learn as we grow – learned, just like we learned that photographs show truth.

Photographs depict truth = not always, not anymore.