Objectivity in photography

British Journal of Aesthetics 45 (3):258-272 (2005)
Abstract
On the Nature of Photographic Realism’ Kendall Walton argues that lack of mental-state involvement in the formation of photographic images is a quality that sets them apart from handmade images such as paintings or sketches. This paper defends and substantially develops this idea. It argues that viewers' knowledge of this objective character of the photographic process provides them with special warrant for the acceptance of first-order perceptual beliefs formed as a result of viewing photographic images. As well, it distinguishes between two different ways in which mental states can be involved in the formation of photographic images, and uses this distinction to ward off the objection that decisions about film type, composition, moment of exposure, etc. undermine the objectivity of the photographic process.
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