Egypt Pyramid Cairo by Espen Faugstad

Egypt Pyramid Cairo

Egypt Pyramid Cairo by Espen Faugstad
Egypt Pyramid Cairo by Espen Faugstad

Chosen because the difference between foreground and background gives a nice sense of distance. It does raise another question though. This photo is clearly manipulated. Does that make it fake?

I don’t think so. It’s clear Espen Faugstad has an artistic vision in mind, and he’s using the tools to get the job done. Crucially it’s also so obviously manipulated that there’s clearly no intent to deceive. What I think is interesting about the question is that back asking if this photo or that photo has been faked implies that some are real and I’m not sure how likely that is.

For a start there’s the matter of focal length. I used to just zoom in or out to fill the frame when I took a photo. The focal length also affects how a photo is distorted. If you’re using the equivalent of a 50mm lens then you have something like a human eye view of a place, but wider angles or telephoto shots give different views that have different narrative effects. I’ll be blogging about that when I can get some sunnier photos. There’s also the matter of exposure and rendering colour. Often these are left to camera, but ignoring the choices doesn’t mean a choice wasn’t made. If you use auto as a setting then you’re delegating the decisions to a programmer with no thought as to how or why those decisions were made. Given the limitations of current cameras, that might be an issue if you want your photos to be objective records. That’s why I like this image. It’s lack of pretence to objectivity gives it a kind of honesty as art.

Coming up this week, tomorrow we have Gifts from the Distance, flotsam as a cultural resource in island societies by Matt Law, and on Thursday Distances in Landscape archaeology by Ulla Rajala.

Photo: Egypt Pyramid Cairo by Espen Faugstad. Licenced under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA licence.

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Alun Salt

Alun Salt is an ancient historian / archaeologist based in the University of Leicester, UK. His PhD thesis was an archaeoastronomical analysis of Greek temple alignments in Sicily. He also has an MPhil in World Archaeology. His research interests include ancient technology, cosmology and colonisation processes. He is currently dividing his time between a few part-time jobs in the university and at the Annals of Botany.