Best Blog Post 1 = Week 7, Task 1B: ‘The myth of photographic truth’

Consider the above readings, presentations, ideas and exercises.

In a Blog Post explain the notion of ‘The Myth of Photographic Truth’ and why it is important to an analysis of visual texts. Refer to your essay topic, a selected visual text and the technologies used to construct it/them, and refer to the terms denotation and connotation. (Cite all source material–in-text citations and bibliographic citations: MLA captions; MLA in-text referencing for online sources, lecture presentations, video presentation).

The Myth of Photographic Truth

A photograph, or any type of art or design practice, is often perceived to be the truth and a copy of the real world, but this is not always the truth and is an ideology followed by many. It is important to acknowledge “The Myth of The Photographic Truth” when analysis of visual texts to get the deeper and more correct meanings and symbolism, rather than just leaving it at what is shown. Artists hold different concerns and views about identity and this has huge influences on the visual work that they produce, and how people interpret the visual image.




Bayard, Hippolyte. “Self Portrait as a Drowned Man” 1840. Photograph. Web.  3 May 2016. 

Hippolyte, Bayard created what is known as one of the first ever ‘faked’ photographs. Bayard created a staged a self-portrait, the denotative image of himself as a drowned man sitting shirtless and leaning to his right in a tub of water pretending to have committed suicide. There are many connotative reasons as to why he tried this technique through photography, to break rules, to convince people he is stronger and better artist than what he is shown as, to be noticed. This photograph had an inscription on the reverse declaring himself the true inventor of photography, this read:

“The corpse which you see here is that of M. Bayard, inventor of the process that has just been shown to you. As far as I know this indefatigable experimenter has been occupied for about three years with his discovery. The Government, which has been only too generous to Monsieur Daguerre, has said it can do nothing for Monsieur Bayard, and the poor wretch has drowned himself. Oh the vagaries of human life…! He has been at the morgue for several days, and no-one has recognized or claimed him. Ladies and gentlemen, you’d better pass along for fear of offending your sense of smell, for as you can observe, the face and hands of the gentleman are beginning to decay.” (Hippolyte, Bayard)

This visual image shocked a generation of people that were used to receiving the ‘truth’ through visual images, in the terms of the truth of photography and what is shown on the canvas. This opened a new window into interpretation by the audience manipulation through art and design practices by artists, which is now happening on a larger scale in this current generation.


Hippolyte, Bayard. “Self Portrait as a Drowned Man”. 1840. Inscription. Web. 3 May 2016



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