Digital Fabrication and its Meaning for Photography and Film
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Bazin, Cavell and other prominent theorists have asserted that movies are essentially photographic with more recent scholars such as Carroll and Gaut protesting. Today CGI stands as a further counter, in addition to past objections such as editing, animation and blue screen. Also central in debates is whether photography is transparent, that is, whether it allows us to see things in other times and places. I maintain photography is transparent, notwithstanding objections citing digital manipulation. However, taking a cue from Cavell—albeit one poorly outlined in his work—I argue this is not so much because of what photography physically is, but because of what “photography” has come to mean. I similarly argue digital technologies have not significantly altered what cinematic media “are” because they have not fundamentally modified what they mean; and that cinema retains a photographic legacy, even when it abandons photographic technologies to digitally manufacture virtual worlds.
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