A Brief Insight Into Robert Capa’s ‘Falling Soldier’ and Whether We Should Regard Photographs a ‘Truthful’ Depiction of Our Reality.

Topics: Photography, Photograph, Truth Pages: 3 (907 words) Published: February 10, 2013
A brief insight into Robert Capa’s ‘Falling Soldier’ and whether we should regard photographs a ‘truthful’ depiction of our reality.

Photographs are generally accepted as an impartial depiction of reality in which the subjects within the frame are shown as objectively as possible. An example of this ideology is perhaps most evident in the movement of the early twentieth century ‘Straight photography’. This term was probably first mentioned by Sadakichi Hartmann in 1904 in his photography review, ‘A Plea for Straight photography’ that called on photographers ‘to work straight’ and produce photographs that were not reminiscent of its predecessor of the pictorialism movement, photos that were clear and concise and taken with as much objectivity as possible. This meant that to photograph ‘straight’ one had to reject the darkroom processing of etching and drawing and painting on negatives as well as the prints themselves, which were popular at the time. These were techniques that Hartmann distinctively termed as ‘manipulation’ that distorted the general message and subject of the photograph itself.

The idea of documenting reality and showcasing the ‘truth’ about the world in order to give insight into the social, political and environmental world is perhaps the main aim of documentary photography. This ideal is echoed through iconic war photographs by Robert Capa, depiction of the poor in the great depression by Dorothea Lange but these are only a few to name. However, we are at an age where the weird is wonderful and normalcy is deemed unsatisfactory. Therefore digital photo-manipulation has become like a form of art that can recreate or enhance an image beyond the traditional, darkroom means of manipulating a photo. Some, like Hartmann would say that by manipulating photos, the photographer is imitating a painting; hence the photograph itself is no longer deemed a photo but is a painting and blurs the true meaning of a photograph. Tom Gunning states that “the...
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