Our work mainly consists of mechanically reproduced (and reproducible) images - films, photographs and videos - and unless it is essential
to distinguish between them, these general remarks apply to them all.
From the beginning photographic images have been ascribed a reality quotient which painting never possessed and although many paintings
have been constructed with direct and indirect aid from photographic techniques, there still exists a veracity
The common-sense position is based on the fact that the camera can record what is in front of the lens and acts in some respects as
a mechanical eye. This, in turn, lent the photograph a spurious scientific objectivity which, despite that knowledge, gave it an evidential (reality-validating)
position based on its precision. Just how Janus-like photography could be is provided by Livingstone’s 1858 Zambesi expedition. He used a photograph
of the Kebrabasa Rapids (evidence of having been there) as evidence of navigability (which was untrue) in order to obtain funds
for a steamboat.
Although the eye / camera equation is endowed with a certain technical
accuracy it is really the mind which sees. On a purely sensory level, information through the eye is melded, consciously and unconsciously, to
other information in the brain. The outcome is thus a composite.