Photography & Realism

Five Essays by Wolf Kettler

Photography & Realism is a collection of five essays by professional photographer Wolf Kettler. In his texts, the author explores how the concept of reality informs photography and how photography has shaped our understanding of the real world. Photography & Realism will provide a useful resource for photography and art students, readers of philosophy of art, and researchers.

Chapters and contents – see below

Photography & Realism or The Trouble With Reality is an essay, which I originally wrote for a Philosophy of Art course at the University of Bath. This paper examines realism in photography from its historic beginnings through to the present day in different genres of the medium and comes to a rather surprising conclusion. Initially published on my website, this ever popular essay has been viewed thousands of times, providing an invaluable resource for photography and art students, readers of philosophy and researchers. The bibliography will further support the reader in understanding the subject.

Nulla si sa … (nothing is known)
Realism in Photography
Reportage Photography
Fashion Photography
Ceci n’est pas une pipe (Conclusions)

Also included in the collection are the following short essays, which will encourage the reader to discover how to further question what is real:

The Disappearing Steps of Paris: A mysterious flight of steps in Paris makes me question whether I photographed something that I only imagined.

On Reality in Photography: It has been argued that all photography represents reality. After all, photography is only the reflected light captured in the fraction of a moment. The camera never lies. But is this really true? And if it is true, where is the art in it?

A Short Stroll Into Non-Existence: The digital image only exists in the form of electromagnetism and only as a different form of itself. Does it therefore not exist?

Spectators and Objects: Art has a habit of asking awkward questions, in particular about our perception of what is real.