Reading Response #2

While traditional forms of art such as drawing and painting are perceived as the artist’s interpretation of the people or objects depicted, photography is assumed to be a more objective perspective. However, a photograph only represents a single moment in time that was selected by the photographer, who also chooses what to include and leave out of the frame. Thus photography, like every other medium of art, has a distinct point of view. This distinction is important because this quality is what makes photography an art form, and calls into question its use for state surveillance and control. Photographs, and by extension videos, can be used to pursue the truth, but also to conceal it and gain control over the narrative.

Disposable cameras and camera phones have made photography accessible to many more people, but automated important parts of the process for user ease. These types of cameras (point-and-shoot) have automated light meters which adjust the brightness and color of the image. These settings reflect how a scene should be ideally lit and highlights the original technology in film cameras. Light settings were calibrated with people who had light skin, which has obvious racial repercussions. In some newer cameras, features created to detect faces didn’t initially work on people of color. In this way technology is a reflection of society and says a lot about the person behind it.

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