w06 Belief in the Image

glegrady
Posts: 160
Joined: Wed Sep 22, 2010 12:26 pm

w06 Belief in the Image

Post by glegrady » Wed Jan 11, 2012 11:09 pm

Discuss Legrady's article focused on the authority of the image and how computers are challenging conventional trust in the image. Give a visual example and describe it according to the article's main points.
George Legrady
legrady@mat.ucsb.edu

atbournes
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2012 3:49 pm

Re: w06 Belief in the Image

Post by atbournes » Tue Feb 21, 2012 4:46 pm

Legrady Article
Authority of the image:
Legrady discusses the misnomer of accepting photographs as neutral documentations of history. The photographic image originally gained its authority by juxtaposing itself with painting in the 1860’s. The superior resemblance to nature that photographs introduced called to attention the stylistic decisions that painters made when painting a scene. People were then more greatly aware to the fact that even the most skilled technical painter was projecting his or her own visual and ideological interpretations onto the painting. Photography revealed painting to be completely subjective and photography was thought to be more objective as the photographer was thought to have less creative control over the image produced. However the objectivity of photography is also an incorrect belief, as Legrady writes,” It is now generally accepted that, even though the photograph represents everything in front of the camera, photography is a symbolic practice where meaning is determined by beliefs and generated through the connotative strategies of subject selection, framing, and vantage point.” This mistrust of the authority of the photographic image was brought about by the technological advances and accessibility of digital editing.
Role of the computer in challenging conventional trust in the image:
As Legrady discussed in his article, and in class, a digital image is made up of pixels, each with a Cartesian “x” and “y ”location, and specific numeric value corresponding to a color. It is this data in a digital image which makes controlling and modifying an image easy, limitless and virtually undetectable. The ease at which photographic manipulation has been made possible, thanks to computer programs such as Photoshop, is what leads the modern viewer to lose its faith in the accuracy of any given image. The modern viewer can no longer look at an image in a newspaper or magazine and trust that photographic evidence is sufficient in proving point. Far from simply questioning the photographers motives in framing the image, the modern viewer has to now call into question whether or not the given photo, or video for that matter ,is documentation of an actual historic even at all, because now a days the entire image can be fabricated digitally. As technology advances the line between photographic representation and digital fabrication will become increasingly harder to tell with the human eye.

A perfect example of this is the photo of Abraham Lincoln and Marilyn Monroe below. While an elementary knowledge of American history and entertainment would let the viewer know that the photo is a digital creation, (Lincoln was killed in 1856, Monroe wasn’t born until 1926) an individual not familiar with American culture may see nothing wrong with the photo. This photo may be especially misleading to a foreign audience as it seems represent a photograph taken before household digital manipulation was possible, it refrences the times where photographic imagery was largely seen as objective, the time before computers challenge the conventional trust in the image.While the photo- shopping in this image may seem obvious to us in this class, we must remember that newspapers politicians, and entertainment sources use much more subtle but similar techniques when presenting us imagery. Without being able to compare an image presented to us with the original unaltered version and without accurate historic knowledge of the items depicted we may have reached an age where imagery is nearly completely unreliable. This should trouble and challenge the everyday viewer to question the things we see everyday.
Image

mogle09
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2012 5:13 pm

Re: w06 Belief in the Image

Post by mogle09 » Fri Feb 24, 2012 9:53 pm

Legrady begins his article by discussing that images serve to convey beliefs and therefore make something that is not permanent, permanent. We live in a society surrounded by visual imagery. We are surrounded by advertisements, the news, and everyday snap-shots, each reinforcing our beliefs and myths about culture. Legrady emphasizes that beliefs influence the subject of an image. One point that Legrady makes, which I found extremely interesting was that “the photograph is treated so unproblemeatically as ‘real’ that its grammar of discussions tends to approximate the grammar of face-to-face encounters”. What he is saying is that people refer to a photographic image of a person the same they would if the person was standing in front of them in real life.
Legrady also discusses the components of a digital image. He reveals that a digital photograph is composed of pixels, which each have a numerical value. Each pixel is given a vertical and horizontal location and a value for color intensity. All of these different units are what make a digital image controllable. Legrady states that “when we speak of the digital photographic image, we are referring to a simulated photographic representation, achieved through any combination of a mechanical lens, a hand-held (electronic) pencil, or a database filtered by mathematical language.” A digital image is a “numeric based structure.” Although a digital image and an analog photograph may seem the same on the surface, they are each created very differently. Unlike analog photographs, a digital photograph has a “possible future”. When you look at a photograph, it is as if you are looking into the past. Whereas, a digital image has the potential to seem as though what is being presented is in real time. Legrady reveals that the “working method is divorced from sensory experience in that the artist's work becomes one of orchestrating symbolic order through code writing rather then through the physical interaction between material (such as paint) and the senses.” The process becomes the material.
Because digital images are constructed based on a coded system which are then stored, errors can be fixed by altering the code. The computer is an essential component of a digital image, therefore making it possible to fix mistakes. Legrady addresses an extremely interesting point in his essay. He reveals the issue of misuse of digital technology. In the media, the ability to alter and reconstruct images allows people to create images that are “reflective of the real world” but are not necessarily accurate data. The media often presents images that have no evidence of alteration, but are not accurate at all.
After reading Legrady’s article, I couldn’t help but think of images in the media that have been altered and attempted to be seen as accurate depictions of people. For example, in Elle Magazine’s 25th anniversary issue, they featured African American actress Gabourey Sidibe on the cover. But this cover caused a lot of controversy when published, due to the fact that the image of Gabourey had been lightened. Although the connection between this image and Legrady’s article might not be obvious on the surface, it is the first image I thought of when reading the article. If this image was not produced digitally, the photographers for Elle magazine would not have had the ability to change the shade of her skin. This is common in the media today. Many digital images of celebrities are altered to pass as realistic depictions.
elle.jpg

martincastro
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2012 4:07 pm

Re: w06 Belief in the Image

Post by martincastro » Sat Feb 25, 2012 1:15 am

Legrady makes many valid points in his article focused on the authority of the image. The photograph has held historical significance in the belief that it portrays the truth. The camera was a device created to record the world. This history has permeated into modern belief even though camera and photography technology has greatly advanced. These advancements have helped us greatly but at the same time also hinder us if we are not aware of the possibilities these advancements are capable of. Legrady writes, “All technologies distort. By expanding our abilities to perceive, they simultaneously diminish us.” With the total bombardment of images in the modern age, through television, ads, magazines, newspapers, and the Internet, images are “the dominant mode of information exchange” in modern western society. The belief that photographs carry a truth to them and the combination of our image society can become problematic. People will receive images to be relatively truthful unless the image is seemingly outrageous or outlandish. But in reality as Legrady explains, all images taken in digital format are just numbers, pixels, colors appointed mathematically on a grid to resemble the image we experience with our eyes. Since digital images are just pixels, programs on computers such as Photoshop can easily manipulate the image to the users liking. Every pixel can be manipulated at a minuscule scale so that when the image is blown up, the human eye would not be able to identify a difference in the image. Almost all images we experienced are now altered in some way, whether it is something subtle like the brightness or the contrast, or drastic like inserting a new figure or changing the colors. Companies now have workers in advertising that know how the public may read or respond to certain signals in an image. They utilize technology in image altering to highlight and promote what they chose in order to get what they believe to be a successful image. One thing I found interesting in the article is the idea of misuse of the technology and ethics in image manipulation. It is a real concern that this technology can make things look very real and the power to pass it off as truth can be very concerning.

I find it amusing when people who’s jobs are to Photoshop images do so very badly and show that the image they are altering is clearly manipulated when they are suppose to make the image as true as possible. In this ad from Microsoft, the African American man in the middle is changed into a Caucasian man for the Polish version of the ad, something that was pretty controversial. The thing that is funny about the ad is that the editor forgot to edit the hand. There are also entire websites dedicated to displaying very bad Photoshoping.
slide_10788_142135_large.jpg

brenna.osborn1
Posts: 14
Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2012 5:14 pm

Re: w06 Belief in the Image

Post by brenna.osborn1 » Sat Feb 25, 2012 11:49 pm

Legrady's article explores the validity of digital photographs in relationship to analog processes. Since digital photographs are made of discreet elements - pixels arranged in a cartesian plane - they are easily manipulatable. If you make changes to an analog photograph, they can be traced through various chemical processes. Data in the digital realm is easily lost and replaced, rendering the changing of digital photographs virtually untraceable. Legrady also explains how, since photographs came into existence, they have been believed to portray reality. Andre Bazin is one theorist who has been a very prominent realist in film theory. He argued that film directly portrays reality because of its chemical process. The light rays are physically recorded onto a photographic plate, therefore leaving, as he puts it, a "trace of reality." What Bazin doesn't take into account, however, is the editing of photography. Even though analog photographs are thought to portray reality much more directly, we still have to remember that they are very subjective. In choosing the content and framing an image, the photographer is manipulating the meaning of the photograph in some way. Legrady brings this point up in his article before delving into the process of digital images and how meaning can be constructed even further by manipulating the digital makeup of the photograph. In this way "digital images simulate rather than represent the real." Using these ideas as a basis, Legrady then continues on to talk about his own projects that explore a digital image's relationship to the real. All photographic images are mediated in some way. This is especially true of today's visual culture in which society is saturated with digital images from advertisements to photojournalism. These images, though seemingly capturing reality, are in fact all pre-meditated in some way.

One example of photographs that seem to depict reality but are really false are "tilt shift" photographs. These photographs utilize extreme depth of field as well as some Photoshop in order to make scenery look as if it belongs to a miniature world. In this way, one thinks they are looking at a miniature set because of the look of the image and its position. It plays upon the knowledge and ideology of a culture in order to construe a certain meaning. Here are some examples of tilt shift photography:
tiltshift-1-618x410.jpg
tiltshift-13-618x410.jpg
tiltshift-17-618x414.jpg
source: http://www.theinspirationblog.net/showc ... otography/

Also, Photoshop plays a large role in today's society, especially in depicting people in ads. Here is a humorous video that plays upon that face: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S_vVUIYOmJM

michaeld.johnsoncst
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2012 4:46 pm

Re: w06 Belief in the Image

Post by michaeld.johnsoncst » Sun Feb 26, 2012 4:32 pm

The fictitious nature of photography is very interesting. Legrady, in his article, makes the point that because photography appears to do such a good job of capturing reality, it easily tricks viewers into buying into fake and leading photos. Photography is an exercise in ideological construction in the human brain, yet most people are not aware of this. This can make photos powerful, and dangerous. The victors write history, and they do so one photo at a time.
trotsky-orig1.jpg
In the above image we see a perfect example of this. Trotsky is written out of history (well, attempted to). Legrady states that the photo is not a document of reality, but rather a filter, and like any other filter, adjustments can be made.
ojcovers.gif
A great example of this is the OJ Simpson's Time magazine cover soon after his arrest. We can see the image has been tweaked from the original to help lead the viewer's reading. As we can see, this photo is not a document of reality, but rather a ideological reflection of those who tweaked it, and a portrayal of their possible political and personal motivations. Legrady argues this is true for all photography, possibly just to a lesser extent than the examples provided. People lie, people make photos, photos lie.



Sources:
http://www.town-local.net/removals_and_replacments.htm
http://www.tc.umn.edu/~hick0088/classes ... false.html

juliakristine91
Posts: 8
Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2012 3:50 pm

Re: w06 Belief in the Image

Post by juliakristine91 » Mon Feb 27, 2012 12:05 am

Week 6- Legrady Article- Julia

In this article Legrady talks about the development of digital photography and how in our culture photography and digital images are so accepted that we instantly believe them. However, because of advancements in the digital world, anyone is able to distort what the image is trying to portray and completely change the meaning as well. Since photography is supposed to capture the "real-world " and any events that go on in this world as true, the thought of people trying to ruin this truthfulness is not what people tend to first think when they see a photograph. Legrady also talks about the meaning that a viewer gets from looking at an image, both the detonated message and connotative. Any distortion of a digital image can change what a viewer understands about an image.
art130w6.jpg
http://www.cracked.com/article/118_the-15-most-shameless-fake-photos-ever-passed-off-as-real/
This type photographic distortion come up a lot in the media to celebrities and other famous people such as politicians. In this "leaked" photograph from the 2004 election, republicans decided to Photoshop a photo of John Kerry and Jane Fonda together at an anti-war rally to make him look like a "radical anti-war protesting hippy". By displaying this picture around the country, the Republicans were trying to change the minds of voters by giving them an image with a different meaning than what they had previously thought about John Kerry. This is a point that Legrady discussed in the article. It was later discovered that this photo had never happened and that it was completely fake and that there was already an existing photo of these two at a rally that the republicans could have used.

kyle_gordon
Posts: 10
Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2012 4:41 pm

Re: w06 Belief in the Image

Post by kyle_gordon » Mon Feb 27, 2012 2:34 pm

Legrady opens his discussion by stating that technology distorts our perceptions. This holds true because we are so ready to accept what we see, but we are not certain whether the image we see is depicted naturally or fictionally. He goes on to describe that photography is a symbolic practice where belief is generated from the use of vantage point, frame, and subject. In the later portion of the 1800s, photography and painting were related, however as photography continued to advance in its ability to capture an image based on light, painting became a distortion of its subject matter rather than a depiction of the subject itself. Technology continues to advance to this day, and as a result it has gotten to a point where the digital can simulate its subject in an almost undistinguishable way. Images once stored in a computer, become numeric values that not only record the subject itself, but past data, creation, facts, info, etc. As a result of this how are we able to claim that one thing is not an accurate depiction of another?

It's fascinating how the laws that define human perception and sight such as laws, psychology, social manners, and historically produced sights, etc. are similar to the laws which define a photographed image. When we view an image that depicts something we relate to such as the physical world, we determine it as factual based on our own laws on perception. However at the end of the day digital images are nothing more than numerical/ mathematical algorithms which display a captured subject in the form of pixels, each containing numerical values as well. Legrady goes into depth on how as a result of each of these pixels being able to be manipulated, it becomes more and more difficult for us to establish something as factual or fictional. Any part of a digital image can be tweaked and manipulated based on numeric values, etc. as a result making it so we can shift colors, numerical data, size, position, saturation, etc. Now most images we see on a daily basis are in fact not the originals, but manipulated to be more appealing to us visually, whether as forms of advertisement, etc. With manipulation, we go into ethics and morals based on the photographic image, since now our sight and what we perceive can be altered on such a level that it distorts our definition of reality. Legrady goes on to explain personal experiences with photo manipulation and how others have manipulated images in order to deceive viewers.


In this image I chose, we see a direct change in the original image to the output image. It's funny seeing all these commercials nowdays for weight loss etc. and most of the time the people depicted are different actors for the before and after shots. This is an example of our eyes being able to perceive fact and fiction, however models and other photographed subjects are often altered from the state they were originally shot in in order to intensify the visual effect of the photograph. Pixel manipulation is complex, but executable by many professionals so that the output image can be either slightly altered, or depict a subject that gained or lost over 100 lbs.
photoshop.jpg

baxterwfrick
Posts: 9
Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2012 4:10 pm

Re: w06 Belief in the Image

Post by baxterwfrick » Mon Feb 27, 2012 7:43 pm

Week - 6 - Belief in the Image

In Legrady's article, "Image, Language, and Belief in Synthesis," he delves into the crux of digital images and digital processing. That is, because of advancements in photography, specifically related to computer technology the "image" is not as "trusting" in its depiction of reality or objectification. Due to digital photography being just that, digital, the sensor which captures light and the image are read as numbers, ex. "1" "0" He explains how analog photos could only be manipulated by angle, perspective, and idealogy of its artist. While digital photographs can do the same, they can also be manipulated through the use of computer programs (such as photoshop) by changing the numbers and ratios which are variables of light captured by the cameras sensor. Moving past just manipulating the "numbers" of a photograph Legrady has also used this process to make a new kind of artistic expression. He uses the blurring of images in "Smudge" to exemplify some of his information theroy points which he states are at the basis of development of new technologies and mode of information processing.

In his analysis of the project "Between East & West (1990)" he explains how a mathematical equation can be put into an algorithmic computer code to generate abstract patterns of noise. This project was to show that the mathematically produced image in fact keeps its authority as a photographic representation.
Image
"Shroud of Turin"
Image

Similar to the "Shoud of Turn" image Legrady talks about, this is an image of the Taj Mahal in which a computer has generated patterns of random noise. Six base colors Red, Green, Blue, Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow have systematically been included in the images already pre-existing code in effect giving the picture a "fuzzy" aesthetic. Although the computer software has altered the image it is still a photographic representation.

Using one of Legrady's own projects "Pattern and Noise" one can better understand some of his main theories. When looking at the image the viewer can see the manipulation of the "abc" as well as the oulines of people in the background through the use of adding noise. The systematic coding for patterns is also established. Because of the "text" (abc) as anchorage, the viewer still understands the image as a photographic representation and we are focused in on the the intended level of interpretation.
Attachments
noiseTV_01.jpg
noiseTV_01.jpg (27.28 KiB) Viewed 5384 times

tikamoini
Posts: 18
Joined: Fri Jan 13, 2012 5:12 pm

Re: w06 Belief in the Image

Post by tikamoini » Mon Feb 27, 2012 9:34 pm

Legrady's article, Image, Language and Belief in Synthesis, delves into the abilities, influences, and consequences that technology has brought upon society and cultural definitions. The articles touches on the versatility of technology to be utilized as a "potential discursive medium or a tool of alienation and control". The advent of photography brought to life an image that was as close to reality as a 2-D image could get. People could see the inherent difference between a painting of a scene and a photograph of a scene and painting was deemed to be interpretational while photography became the new means of a factual visual representation. With a huge growing belief in and reliance on the new photographic image to capture realities that people could not come in a true contact with, people began considering this encounter with a photograph as a face-to-face encounter with what it was depicting. The magical accuracy of the photograph had captured the trust of the public. But the strategies of photography are left unnoticed to the common observer of an image. "Subject selection, framing, and vantage point" and later digital image processors, add ideological and subjective meaning to a supposedly raw frame of reality. Although photographic techniques such as subject selection, framing, and vantage point add an additional intent, meaning, and interpretation of the image, the work is done in reality, real time, before the photo is taken. Today,, photographers rely highly on post-image work, where an image is taken in reality then altered through the mechanics of a computer in a way where the final image simulates a real visual experience, but is framed and contrived to convey a specific message. "Photography's apparent transparency promotes a viewing experience that arouses pleasure without creating any awareness of its act of ideological constructing. It is easily accepted as a window on the world rather than as a highly selective filter, placed there by a specific hand and mind"(3). This is how computers a challenging conventional trust in the image, because the are altering the image information that is derived from reality and utilizing image-processing to add to, subtract from, and juxtapose within an image, information that is not conventionally trusted as factual because it is not taking place in a tangible reality. The image now becomes a new mode of painting, where the artist uses the information from a photograph and creates a digital image that is interpretational and contains subjective meaning. The distrust in the new digital image comes from the fact the the digital image is not conspicuously different from a photograph and not presented as a subjective creation, it is put out for the viewer to assume through his or her conventional trust in the photographic image, to be a legitimate visual experience. The computers role in simulating a true visual experience in a digital image and projecting as none other than a photograph is what the viewer needs to recognize and begin to challenge all images they see.
Image
Image

The original image of Faith Hill has been altered through digital image processing to create an image of her that is thinner, lighter, and has a completely even complexion without any flaws or bags under her eyes. This is done by the magazine to create an image of flawless perfection, which is in turn associated with the magazine. This image is presented as a real image with no notice that Faith Hill's body has been photoshopped. This is where the computer has come in to deceive the viewer and has facilitated inaccuracy and fiction within the formerly reliable photograph.
Image
This image of Jennifer Aniston has been altered to fit the title of the story they are reporting on the actress. They have deleted the title on the book she is holding and removed her sunglasses to make it seem as if she is clutching onto an ambiguous book that could be full of secrets that she has just spilled to Star Magazine.

Post Reply