(Greek compound meaning “to write with light”)
The term “photography” is commonly used today to refer to an automated, image-generating procedure. In the case of analogue photography, images of reality focused by the camera lens are created via the impact of light on photosensitive recording material (film). In contrast, digital photography involves the use of an array of electronic photodetectors to capture the images focused by the camera lens. This information is then transformed into a binary code for purposes of digital storage. Since its discovery in 1839, what people have regarded as distinctive about photography is its capacity to comprehensively fix information in the form of an image and to thereby objectively document events. This belief in the objective nature of photography persists to this very day, and is likely based on the machine-based process of image generation – as opposed to a process involving the human hand – and the striking correspondence between the image and reality. In his book “Camera Lucida”, the French philosopher Roland Barthes famously summarized the indexicality of photography using the noema: “this-has-been” (ça a été). In the words of Ronald Berg, photography achieved the status of an “icon of reality”. However, the issues that arise precisely in connection with the relationship between reality and representation, original and reproduction, mimesis and authenticity have led art photographers to extensively explore the expanded possibilities of the photographic image.