d300n - Quantum Photography?

Ever heard of Schrodinger’s cat? You know, the one that’s either dead or alive. Quantum physics dictates that the cat is both dead and alive at the same time, and its true state cannot be known until the wave function collapses (in other words the box the cat is held in along with a radioactive substance that can decay at any moment – and the act of opening the box determines whether the cat is alive – or dead.)
Photographers also face the same dilemma. The act of taking a photograph is not entirely in the control of a photographer. In fact I have asked this before, does a photographer really take a photograph consciously? I do not think so, not in the classical sense that many photographers like to claim. It is mostly sub-conscious, it’s practically a quantum based action where the wave function collapses or not and sadly photographers are not in complete control of any sort of wave function collapse!
Anyway, take a picture and then either look at the result in-camera or on the computer screen (or if its film wait until the film has been developed and then the prints made.) What often happens? Well, its that the photograph is almost never what one wants it to be. Its rare to be exact about one’s intentions of taking the exact photograph that they desire. Again this is due to not being exactly conscious when taking the photograph, but also due to the weirdness of the quantum world.
What! Do I hear people saying that there is no quantum world out there? There is, it is not apparent but its total make-up constitutes the ‘classical world’ that we see. You see we cannot have a classical world really, we like to think that we do have a classical world that is fully controllable. But it isnt like that. The wind kicks up a fuss and changes the scene, or the sun glides behind a cloud and changes the scene, or someone walks past the camera, etc.
The act of taking a photography is in act a way of observing the many elements of the classical world that are indeterminate. If one thinks on a deeper level, it is because the world is essentially quantum. Hence looking through the camera’s eyepiece is rather like trying to look at Schrodinger’s cat before the box is open. What you see is most likely not going to be the image that you see on the screen. What you will see will be something that is roughly approximate to what your brain thought it was going to capture.
The only way to accurately capture as close to the scene as is possible is to use light meters but again it doesn’t always work. Photography is not about capturing the ‘aliveness’ or ‘deadness’ of a topic but about capturing the essences – and then deciding what to do with those essences. This includes improving those essences (fill-in flash, reflectors, different backgrounds) and making the scene more like one would wish it to be.
This is becoming a little like Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle – what one attempts one way changes what happens the other way. What I am saying is that it is practically impossible to get the exact set-up because parameters change one way or another invariably changing some factor elsewhere. So many of us photographers fumble about trying to tweak every single parameter until the desired result is achieved. But in practice it is almost never fully achieved and instead we have to adapt to the idea that the product is the closest possible one that can be made to what was originally desired.
Ultimately photography is about making do with, and adapting. More and more equipment just brings it closer to the aspired realities but in fact its just like taking a leaf out of Zeno’s book – the famous halving paradox – it means we get closer and closer to the likelihood of capturing the most revered ever perfect photograph – but in reality never quite get there when we hold onto the idea that photography-perfectness exists somewhere!

Related Posts

Sharing is caring!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *