On reality, part 1

August 3, 2006

Light on wallI’m a documentary photographer. So I have a particular interest in “reality”. Many people seem to expect that documentaries reflect reality. Right out the bat, an earlier entry of mine debunked that expectation. A documentary does not have to reflect “reality”. It may be biased by a personal view or cause of its producer. Another common view is that using an essentially mechanical device such as a camera records reality. We’ll come back to that. But it is simply not true.

So, what is reality? Does it even exist? Does it matter if it exists or not? My quick answers – (1) No one knows, (2) No and (3) Probably not. I’ll try to lay out what I mean by that, recognizing I’m just a simple photographer, not in competition with Stephen Hawking. Or anyone else for that matter. But let’s go on a little mind journey.

What is light?

Suppose there was no light. Everything would be black. No features would be visible. No doubt a very boring environment, reality would then be viewed as “black”. Nothing else. So let’s assume light has something to do with what we are seeking. The simple fact is, we don’t see objects. We see light emitted – directly or by reflection or both – from those objects.

Light is produced by light emitters, reflected by certain objects and consumed by other entities. Light is a form of energy emitted by certain combinations of atoms, molecules and other low life’s. Light has many characteristics such as wave length and intensity. A lot of light comes to us from the universe. Other forms of light comes from various local chemical processes such as those used by some low level organisms. Mechanical devices such as a light bulbs use energy to produce artificial light.

So if we have light, then we can see and what we see is reality? Slow down. Not that simple.

The many kinds of light from space

Let’s examine light from the universe. Obviously the sun is a major source of light. This light is essentially coming from a massive nuclear reaction that has been going on for billions of years. Even so, we all know that sunlight in the early AM is very different from that at noon or in the evening. Not to mention, sunlight at night may be a reflection from the moon. Any object viewed in these different light conditions will look different. Which version is the real thing? Since we can’t “see” the object – only its light of many different variations – how can we tell anything about the object itself?Evening light on face

Light from space is not a simple thing. Apart from there being many different light sources, magnetic fields in space actually bend light, space storms distort light, black holes does who knows what with light and sun flares send out a lot of energy. “Northern Light” produces its own version of light. The moon does not produce any light at all but acts as a giant reflector. Finally, our own atmosphere greatly impacts light from space. There may be clouds, dust, pollution, inversion layers and no doubt a lot of other factors.

Light from universe and the energy it brings upholds our lifes. And threatens it through global warming or skin cancer. It sure helps us see. But it is not ONE thing. What we actually see and perceive as reality are many things, based only on the variability of “space light”. So what we see is a distortion. So based on “space light”, what is reality? How do we know?

To be continued

I’ll stop here for now. To recall the major points to be examined – there is no “reality” that we as human beings can “see” or “feel” or even record. So from a simple physical point of view, there is no reality. It probably does not matter to most of us. But as a photographer, it matters to me as it should to anyone interested in photography. Stay tuned for the next installment.

Thanks, Karl

 

Advertisements

20 Responses to “On reality, part 1”

  1. momentsend said

    Descartes addressed and answered your reality question… “I think, therefore I am.”

    Ryan

    http://www.momentsend.com

  2. Karl said

    I’ll comment in a separate post. Thanks Karl

  3. […] of the discussions below update and expand on the content of some previous posts, notably On Reality – Part 1 – Elements of Light and On Reality – Part 5 – How Perceptions and Illusions destroy […]

  4. […] Parts of the discussions update and expand the content of other previous posts, notably On Reality – Part 1 – Elements of Light and On Reality – Part 5 – How Perceptions and Illusions destroy […]

  5. […] Parts of the discussions update and expand the content of other previous posts, notably On Reality – Part 1 – Elements of Light and On Reality – Part 5 – How Perceptions and Illusions destroy Reality. Other posts include On […]

  6. […] from my big essay on photography “On Reality 6: Mysteries of Photography” as well as On Reality – Part 1 – Elements of Light and On Reality – Part 5 – How Perceptions and Illusions destroy Reality. Other posts include On […]

  7. Barack Obama’s book, “The Audacity of Hope,” shows a catchy title. It has a taste of bravery mixed with confidence. There is nothing Pollyanna regarding this. I might not support everything he tells, but he’s our president, and for me, he creates belief. Which could do more for just a nation than any number of backroom deals. Hope gives us energy, and energy sustains us through trying times. Boy, we’ve had them. I’m from West Texas, and I did not vote for Bush. When McCain ran against Obama, I was a citizen of Arizona, but I gave audacious hope a chance. The fight for progress and laying the foundations of prosperity is just not over. I have seen the quips of those who don’t believe Obama is capable of doing it. But step back a second. Would anyone have most of us fail in order to tarnish the star of an incumbent for whom they did not vote? Trying to keep our priorities straight, let’s work together with this president and build our future.

  8. Shelby said

    It continues to work for the next four weeks
    to ensure that fleas in all their life stages, including eggs and
    larvae are destroyed. These two are the top recommended cellulite busting
    supplement. In addition to a flea remedy, you should also consider upgrading your cat’s diet and adding supplements.

  9. I’m not sure exactly why but this site is loading incredibly slow for me. Is anyone else having this issue or is it a problem on my end? I’ll check back later
    and see if the problem still exists.

  10. http://www.ialt.ie Insider Secrets To Passing The California Insurance Protection License Examination
    Fool-evidence security – The security of your motor
    vehicle can be a key detail that influences the
    worth tag on your No credit Check loan high quality. This is also a
    fact for higher-conclude automobiles that occur to be
    additional inclined to theft. Installing fool-evidence protection steps always in put such as a tracker product gives that you merely sizeable reduction which is arduous
    to steal this kind of car or truck.
    In the occasion the the accident is generated by another driver who does not have insurance
    policies, one’s have uninsured motorist bodily injuries advantage would spend for one’s accidents and the accidents of
    one’s travellers. Payments put a stop to when the coverage boundaries are arrived at. Some insurance protection institutions shell out for the policy owner’s injuries caused even as getting a passenger in an
    alternative automobile. Some only pay out for injuries that happen in the motor vehicle that appears on the declaration web site of the insurance plan.

    Browse through insurance plan guidelines rigorously, and certainly not suppose
    a thing will be compensated for.
    Ideally, this direct to insurance protection programs for new mother and father
    has served you see the place you need to get to add or improve coverage procedures.
    Just before you indicator just about anything, make positive you figure out exactly what you are getting into.
    At last, shop around for the most effective deal potential.

    It is pretty important to look at the territorial limitations of any boat address prior to endeavor
    a trip overseas. A large amount of European countries
    will question for evidence of insurance address and could perhaps will need a
    translation which your insurance provider should preferably be equipped to deliver.

    In an effort and hard work to eliminate health and fitness-treatment charges, (and to
    enhance financial gain), insurance coverage vendors are attempting to influence medical practitioners
    with outrageous restrictions, in accordance to the internet based Boston Globe, (Boston.
    Com).
    But what about the little losses like your toddler
    accidentally breaking a window with a wild pitch in the yard, or the can of paint spilled on to the carpet even as you
    are repainting your residing space?
    This seemed alternatively odd to me, due to the fact he was a proper university student and
    was unquestionably able to get economical help.

    The main problem was that he needed to work total time. Their father experienced
    died unexpectedly in the summer season. He was a
    lover in a venture with no lifetime insurance. As with countless partnerships, the surviving associate gets the
    entire of the opportunity. It is a lawful reality
    most families do not undoubtedly suspect about.
    Post your declare as soon as potential when an incident.
    Any incidences of theft or prison damage should preferably be noted to the police.
    For your assert kind you can also want the Crime Reference Number.

  11. Young said

    Hmm is anyone else encountering problems with the images on this blog loading?
    I’m trying to find out if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog.

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  12. What i do not understood is in truth how you are not actually
    much more neatly-favored than you may be now. You’re very intelligent. You understand thus considerably relating to this subject, made me in my view consider it from a lot of varied angles. Its like men and women don’t seem to be interested
    unless it’s one thing to do with Lady gaga! Your individual stuffs outstanding. All the time handle it up!

  13. And make sure your nearby facts is in the big lookup engines’ neighborhood listings. They want to preserve their discussion board thoroughly clean because of to the fact that research engines will think they are a backlink farm instead than an trade company.

  14. Hmm is anyone else encountering problems with the
    pictures on this blog loading? I’m trying to figure out if its a problem on my end or if it’s the blog.

    Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  15. I write a comment each time I like a post on a website or I have something to add to the discussion.

    It’s a result of the sincerness displayed in the post I looked at. And on this post On reality, part 1 | Leading Design Photography and Multimedia. I was actually excited enough to drop a leave a responsea response 🙂 I actually do have 2 questions for you if it’s okay.
    Could it be simply me or does it look like like some of the comments come across
    like written by brain dead folks? 😛 And, if you are writing on additional online social sites, I’d like to follow you. Could you list every one of your social sites like your linkedin profile, Facebook page or twitter feed?

  16. Hi! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any trouble with hackers?

    My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing many months of hard work due to no
    back up. Do you have any methods to protect against hackers?

  17. Hello, of course this article is genuinely pleasant and I have learned
    lot of things from it concerning blogging. thanks.

  18. Highly descriptive article, I loved that bit.
    Will there be a part 2?

  19. bike video said

    I think this is among the so much significant information for me.
    And i’m glad reading your article. However should remark on
    some common things, The website taste is wonderful, the articles is in reality great : D.
    Excellent process, cheers

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: