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Photography and Fact
Photography and Fact
For many years photography has been used to document the most significant of events, whether they affect an entire society, like a war, or a specific persons\' life, such as a wedding. The reason that photography is used for such occasions instead of painting, drawing or sculpting is quite simple. It is because photography is the most remarkable of the fine arts. Other forms of art, are aesthetically pleasing and important in their own rite, but photography is so monumental because of the power that only it possesses. This is the power to depict fact.
One aspect that makes photography so creditable is that it can show feeling and emotion so much more vividly and doubtlessly than a drawing can. For instance, during the Great Depression "the harsh realities were recorded thanks to the initiative of the Farm Security Administration (Daval, 186)." At this time, Dorothea Lange "documented the bitter poverty of migrant workers and their families (20th Century Photography, 1). These images, such as Migrant Mother and Cotton Picker near Firebrough, show, so clearly and almost effortlessly, the pain and despair that was occurring too frequently at this time. There is a loss of hope that is so clear and evident in these photographs from the longing in the eyes of the images shown. Such raw emotion is hard to come by in any other art form.
Another reason photography is more trustworthy than other forms of art, is because the image that appears in a photograph, whether it is of a person or an event, has at one point existed or happened. This statement does not always hold true for paintings, sculptures, and drawings. It is simple and usual for an artist to conjure up an image of a person that has never existed and turn them into a work of art. For example, there has been a great deal of speculation about whether or not Leonardo Da Vinci\'s Mona Lisa is a portrait of a real person. Before the relatively recent technological advances, it was not possible to have a picture of a person or an incident that was fictitious.
A further example that photography is perceived as more realistic than other methods of art, is that it is possible for an artist to elaborate, emphasize, erase, or even completely change an image that they are trying to capture. Once again, preceding modern advances, this was not possible for a photographer to do. Based on this, and the preceding statement, throughout history viewers have been able to trust that the images they were seeing were genuine, and therefore were able to trust the realism of photographs.
Over the years, photography came to be depended on for its ability to show factual images for the reasons stated earlier. Proof of this statement, is the great demand for photographs in magazines and newspapers. "The newspaper and newsmagazine depended on his (a professional photo-reporter\'s) pictures, even more than on the written word. They were an international language of communication, the one language needing no translation (Daval, 190)." The rise of photojournalism made the public even more believing of photography and "the status of the photograph: from a document before, it now became evidence, irrefutable proof (Daval, 173)."
Daval, Jean-Luc. Photography: History of an Art . New York: Rizzoli
International Publications Inc. , 1982.
20th Century Photography: http://www.masters-of- photography.
Dorothea Lange Photographs. http://www.masters-of-photography.
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Guggenheim Fellows, Dorothea Lange, Photography, Photojournalism, Farm Security Administration, Photograph
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