PH 1000 Lecture 1: Camera! Go! Think!

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Nature of instant camera

Image develops within 5 mins after being ejected from the camera.

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Can machines think? This is a long debating question raised by Alan Turing, a British pioneering computer scientist.

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Alan Turing

Camera is without a doubt one type of machines. From the time we load the camera with film, check settings, set aperture and shutter speed, correctly focus the desired subject, get nice depth of field and composition as we want, to finally clicking the shutter button. The light capturing actions all happen in a split second.

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Obviously we, humans, are the one who control the process. But have you ever wondered if camera has the ability to think during the image taking process?

If camera could think, in what way would it affect the final images? Would it adjust the settings and create a different picture and style from photographers? Can it be said that some great photographic arts such as Moon and Half Dome from Ansel Adams are actually masterpieces from camera itself?

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Moon and Half Dome by Ansel Adams (Credits: http://www.ansel-adams.org)

If camera could not think, does it mean humans are the sole controller of the image taking process? Like famous quote from Ansel Adams: ‘you don’t take a photograph, you make it’. Let’s think about this.

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