Mostly Everything

The Two Sides of Photography

Sometimes I argue that photography has enshrined the superficiality of experience. It has contributed to the over-valuation of appearances to a point where image has (subconsciously) replaced the reality as reality. – Gang Badoy

I get excited whenever someone calls me over the landline. It is partly attributed to the surprise that the caller assumes I’m home coupled with the mystery factor of not knowing who that person is (I don’t have caller ID). in an age where we’ve replaced our landline with mobile phones, we hardly get surprised by who’s on the other line. We can reject the call if we don’t want to talk to the other person and make up some excuse like “hey I was at the spa and had cucumbers in my eyes so I couldn’t answer.”

In a similar light…

Is it better, as a tourist to have never seen a picture of your destination so that there are no pre-conceived notions of what the place looks like?

European Food Festival @ Serendra March 2007

Can the same be said for photography? I see many great pictures of the sights – that look so much better than the actual image itself. Is picture perfect an oxymoron? Here’s a simpler analogy: food stylists for instance try as much as possible to make the dish look really good on camera. Take for instance how appealing a Big Mac looks on the product shot. Not that it has anything to do with Sharon Cuneta, but does the real image justify what the consumer was led to believe?

This isn’t a bash on photography. It is actually a reaction to a post made by Gang Badoy about photography and how it can be used as a double edged sword. The first side is here. And the “>other side here.

By Jayvee Fernandez

Jayvee Fernandez is a tech enthusiast, EAN certified SCUBA Diver and underwater photographer based in Metro Manila, Philippines. His photos and videos have appeared in various international and local publications including Random House Germany, Discovery Channel Canada, and CNN.

6 replies on “The Two Sides of Photography”

Is not a painting an artist’s conception of what he sees? When Dicken’s describes London and Paris during his time is it not his view point of what we see. A photo is not the exact thing seen by the eye. And with a little bit of tweaking things are embellished or diminished – all this contributes to the photographer’s concept of the shot. Even in candid shots it is the photographer who decides what moment is frozen.

i hear you juned and i completely agree. i just have this little “guilt” when it comes to commercializing photography. why do you photoshop the girl on the front cover to look more “appealing?”

is this a best foot forward for first impressions?

Idealizing subjects is not necessarily a bad thing. When you do glamor and commercial photography one aims to fill the aesthetic need of the viewer and you do it with whatever tool is available.In Bottecelli’s day it was a woman with ample girth now its Scarlett Johansenn. Yes it is the best foot forward no only for impressions but attraction. No need to feel a little “guilt” about it 🙂

Juned is right! On a lighter note. I suppose if we were to be guilty about ‘prettifying’ things every now and then….uh, think of all the women who wear lipstick! what a guilty world we’d be.

You guys are ripping off Baudrillard and Co. and his/their philosophy/theories about “Hyperreality” where pornography is the hyper reality of sex. McDonalds as hyper reality of food. Women model magazine covers airbrushed as hyper real women. Simulacra or simulacrum. Just wiki hyperreality for a crash course in hyper reality and post modernism.
Mr Juned: “idealizing subjects is not a bad thing”. Good or bad is not “the” question anymore. It is just the question of perception.

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