Historically, assisting artists in the creation of portraits


Historically, the first notable progression of
the production of imagery was in the 13th/14th centuries when
the natural phenomenon known as camera obscura was discovered. This is the
projection of a reversed image on to a flat surface, its use was mostly for the
study of optics and astronomy. Although this was a big step in the right
direction, the aim was to produce prints, and as camera obscura could not provide
this as at the time be technique of preserving light was unknown. In 1825 a French
inventor names Joseph Niepce created the first known printed image. Although
the subject of the image was of no significance, it was the fact that a was of
producing a print of an image that was the main thing. However, this method was
costly and not easily done. In 1839 Sir John Herschel developed a way of making
a glass negative which was the first step in photography being recognized
publically. The first known uses for photograph were for assisting artists in
the creation of portraits to preserve the memories of a family. Further down
the line, when the first Kodak camera was developed which then allowed the
masses to create their own memories.

Initially, the camera was first intended to
document and to educate people and as people did not have the means to gain
much information from anywhere else as things such as TV, and internet has not
yet been developed, people often believed what they seen in a photograph to be
the reality of the subject.


This is a theory which was explored by American writer
Susan Sontag, who wrote about photography’s similarity to that of the images
produced in Plato’s cave. Plato’s cave is a theory from philosopher Plato, which
is about human perception. He believed that to gain real knowledge you have to have
philosophical reasoning and compare it to three prisoners in a cave, the are
restrained to rocks, their arms, legs, and head are bound so that they cannot
move, or turn their head so all they can see is the stone wall in front of
them. They have been their since birth and know nothing other than the cave. Behind
the prisoners is a raised walkway, and behind that there is a fire, there are
people outside the cave who walk along the walkway carrying things on their
heads, such as animals, plants, wood and stone, all the prisoners can see is
the shadows that are created in front of them and as this is all they have ever
seen, they have no option but to think they are “real”. Plato’s suggested that
the prisoners played a guessing game as to which shadow would appear after
another, if a prisoner guessed correctly, the other prisoners would praise them
and say that they are a “master of nature’ However, one of the prisoner’s escapes
from the cave and leaves the cave, he is shocked at the world outside and does
not believe it to be real. He gets accustomed to the surroundings, he realises
that his former view of reality was wrong, he begins to understand the new
world he has discovered outside of the cave, he sees that the sun is the source
of life and goes on an intellectual journey where he discovers beauty and
meaning, he sees that his former life and the guessing game they played was
useless. He then returns to the cave and informs the other prisoners of his discovery
but they do not believe him and threaten to kill him if he tried to set them
free. The bottom line of this theory, is that if you only believe what is in
front of you, and don’t look beyond it, you don’t always see the real truth


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