Does photograpy limit or enhance the truth?

Photographs in magazines, newspapers, televisions, etc. is all around us. A visual world is what we are. Some may say images allow us to better understand our world but I think photographs can enhance our understanding while other times they can limit us.

There are many ways photography can enhance our understanding. One of the ways would be in the “Exquisite Corpse” by Rushdy, in this article they talk about a young boy named Emmett Till who was beat and lynched to death by white men. “See what they did to my boy.” Till’s mother wants everyone to see what the men did to her son. The horrible images of Emmett Show and enhance the real truth of exactly how he was treated.

However, photographs can limit our understanding because we don’t know the exact place or time the photo had been taken. In “The Schiavo case” by Ginia Bellafante, a women who is in a vegetative state was video taped for a few hours. In a couple of seconds of this video tape, Schiavo appears “beatific, seemingly responsive, and grateful for her mother’s ministrations”  I believe if people were to see other clips from this video they would have realized that she was not looking at her mother, she was looking into space. This just shows how a video can completely manipulate and limit your understanding.

Although photographs sometimes limit and enhance our understanding, but what if they happen to do both at the same time? In the article “This photo is lying to you” by Haggart talks about Ed Freeman, someone who takes photos of people surfing but then critique’s them into these beautiful photos. Photoshop. “Manufactured pictures is intrinsically tied to the authentic shots that came first.” Yes, These pictures are real which enhances our understanding, but once they are Photoshopped meaning changed they are not real pictures those are just images of something that we wish were true and that is now limiting our understanding about those pictures.

Photographs are a great thing and if we didn’t have them around we wouldn’t understand the some of the things going on in the world. But there is a fine line between real and fake and believing everything we see. We need to know the difference so we don’t get sucked into the lying world that we are becoming.

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Limits vs Enhances

I think photography somewhat limits our understanding of the truth because if it’s a close up picture and you can’t see the whole spectrum of the image you really don’t know what is going on. For example the picture of Emmet Till before and after he was lynched and beat to death shows the truth of white supremacy. I believe in some circumstances that photography enhances our understand and other times it does not you need the background story to fully grasp the picture.