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Truth in Photography: Society and Technology Hash It Out


IVLA 2014

Published on 8 Dec 2014

► Scott McMaster (Art Education Department, Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec)

Since the 19th century, photography has often been heralded as the only medium capable of capturing an ‘objective truth’; chronicling both everyday life and crucial turning points in human history, ongoing to this day. The rise of digital technologies and photo-manipulation has thrown this reality into question, yet those familiar with photographic history are acutely aware that photography’s relationship with truth has always been, precarious at best. Despite this knowledge and in the face of countless scams, scandals and social media, people are still inclined to accept the billions of images uploaded to the web each year at face value; rarely questioning their motives, creators or impact. This presentation takes a brief look through the history of photography from the false impressions of daguerreotypes, 60’s montage and photojournalism to present day digital manipulations in advertising in an attempt to open up a dialogue between students, visual culture and our notions of ‘truth & reality.’

This presentation was recorded November 7, 2014 at the Toledo Museum of Art as part of the 47th International Visual Literacy Association (IVLA) conference. Produced by Penta Career Center.