This week’s readings combined so very straight forward, hands-on considerations for using and altering images with some of the more theoretical issues with image use and image manipulation. Dr. Petrik’s entry on managing engravings was very helpful for the nuts and bolts of working with historical images, and especially old style engravings, as part of web design. Not for the first time I found myself wishing I had read ahead in this class, as I struggled with exactly this same issue in trying to insert the War Department Seal engraving as a header image in my Typography assignment. Her tutorial would have been extremely useful, and probably would have saved me a great deal of time in addition to resulting in a better final product.
In contrast, the multipart article by Errol Morris deals with some of the more abstract questions raised by photography, and image manipulation in general. As Morris points out, this question predates photoshop, as even before the advent of image-altering software there was significant debate over the staging of photos and whether they accurately represented reality. Photoshop merely slightly adjusted the issue by moving the question of representativeness from the original photos depiction of reality to the end photos depiction of the original photo. While Morris’ article occasionally got a little too “artsy” in its debate over this issue, I felt that his discussion of photography and reality closely relates to the ever present question of existence of positive, objective truth dealt with by historians. Perhaps the most useful of his observations was the concept that photographs should be treated with the same “close reading” we apply to textual documents.