Can Digital Pictures Qualify as Photographs?

Geert Gooskens


Can digital pictures qualify as photographs? The commonsensical answer is that they can. We are happy to call a picture of a scene made with a digital camera a photograph. According to William Mitchell, however, we are wrong to do so. Pictures made with digital cameras would not qualify as photographs, because they lack a certain realism essential to classical, i.e. film-based, photography. In the following, I first present two ways in which film-based photographs are realistic (section 1). Next, I discuss Mitchell?s position that pictures made with digital cameras are not realistic and, consequently, not truly photographic (section 2). Finally, I argue ? against Mitchell ? that pictures made with digital cameras are realistic and, thus, do qualify as photographs (section 3).


Analog; Causality; Digital; Photography

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