Realities in Non-real Photographs

By Yi-hui Huang.

Published by The International Journal of the Image

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: April 10, 2014 $US5.00

With the rapid advancement of technology in the photographic industry, more photographers are replacing their darkroom-based facilities with digital ones. Non-real photographs refer to digital-composite photographs, which abandon the traditional one-shot mode of production that render so-called truth-laden photographs. Using computers to combine pieces of images, digital-composite photography requires a new method of production and renders a matchless look—a sophisticated fabrication, a perfect and clean aesthetic, a maximum color saturation, a multiple-point perspective, and stunning or newfangled content. Dissatisfied with the representation of the outer world that can be easily accomplished by pressing a single shutter button, photographers who painstakingly synthesize images together to create the digital composites seem to be compelled to create personal versions of the world, which may be closer to the beliefs through which they interpret and interact with the world. These photographers seem to try to concretize something that cannot be seen with the naked eye. To gain a better understanding of what “unseeable” entities the digital-composite photographs attempts to present, I investigate the photographer’s worldview. A more approachable way to inquire into a digital photographer’s worldview is to ask about his or her view of reality with questions such as “What is your definition of reality?” “What notion of reality do you represent in your photographs?” and “How do you visualize your reality in photographs?” After knowing their layers of reality, the deepest and the most sophisticated layer may explain the “unseeable” realities concretized in their photographs. This study presents four American photographers whose constant style is the digital composite. I personally interviewed each of them to investigate the intentions, meanings, and worldviews behind their production of the digital composite.

Keywords: Photography, Realities

The International Journal of the Image, Volume 4, Issue 1, April 2014, pp.35-47. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: April 10, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 741.865KB)).

Dr. Yi-hui Huang

Assistant Professor, Department of Media Communication and Technology, East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania, East Stroudsburg, PA, USA

Dr. Yi-hui Huang is Assistant Professor of Media Communication and Technology at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania, PA. She obtained her doctoral degree in Art Education from The Ohio State University. Her research focuses on theories of photography, aesthetics, and epistemology. Dr. Huang has presented her researches in national conferences, including National Art Education Association in 2009, and Society for Photographic Education in 2010. Dr. Huang earned her Bachelor’s degree in Advertising in Taipei, Taiwan, and Master of Fine Arts degree in photography from The University of Iowa, IA. Her photographic work explores the emotional transition between two religions, two cultures, and two countries. Dr. Huang exhibits her photographic work internationally, including the U.S. and Taiwan.