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More on Photographs and Fact

Malcolm Gladwell, recently of plagiarism and copyright infringement, has a timely piece in the current New Yorker on the seducations of photography. We get into trouble when we forget that photographs don’t offer reality itself, but only a means for interpreting reality. Gladwell writes:

You can build a high-tech camera, capable of taking pictures in the middle of the night, in other words, but the system works only if the camera is pointed in the right place, and even then the pictures are not self-explanatory. They need to be interpreted, and the human task of interpretation is often a bigger obstacle than the technical task of picture-taking.

Is Clifford Ross, then, all that different from, say, Chuck Close?