Where in the spectrum is the image?

Yesterday’s discussion about gravity waves and the Big Bang raises a significant point or question.  Where in the electromagnetic spectrum is the image?  Indeed, do you have to use light?  We can easily argue that a sound images, like a sonogram of a fetus en utero is an image, even a beautiful one at that. And the  X-ray image of the Hand of God nebula that we spoke about a while back is certainly beautiful and has a photographic image quality about it.

I think that the gravity wave images hold an important answer.  There are two of them.  With this first one, you might argue that I am stretching the envelope to ascribe a photographic image quality to it. Arguably it looks more like a graph or even a watercolor. But how about this one. And we don’t need to worry about the technicalities of what these are. This certainly possesses a photographic quality.

I believe that these two images illustrate the important dividing line. It does not matter what form or wavelength of energy was used.  Rather there is an aesthetic quality of pictureness, being like a photographic, that our mind uses to make the judgment: Ich bin eine Fotografie! And remember, to say that the distinction is an aesthetic one is really to say that because of a combination of wiring and training our mind associates a certain set of image qualities as being photographic.





This entry was posted in Essays on Photography.