Friday, October 25, 2013

Spirit Photography: The Ghost In the Machine

          In the digital age it is common knowledge that photographs can and often do lie. Whether it’s a photojournalist blending scenes of war to heighten tension or a fashion photographer enhancing a model’s natural beauty, we have learned to view photographs with a touch of skepticism. While digital photography and the software associated with its production has made manipulation easier to do and harder to detect, photo manipulation existed long before the CMOS sensor and Photoshop software. The Two ways of Life, 1857 and Henry Peach Robinson’s Fading Away, 1858, are early examples of the manipulation of the photographic process. While The Two Ways of Life, influenced Raphael’s School of Athens, was realized to be a fabrication utilizing actors, costumes, props and backdrops, Fading Away was perceived to be a scene from real life and as such was criticized as being in poor taste to represent so painful a scene (Newhall 60).

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