Shot in the dark : notes on photography, causality, and content

Carl Mikael PETTERSSON, Stockholm University

Copyright © 2012 The Author. The Philosophical Quarterly © 2012 The Editors of The Philosophical Quarterly.

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Photography is often said to be an essentially causal medium. This paper addresses the role of causality in photography and argues for three main claims: (i) a causal theory of photography does not force us to say that images of backlit objects are photographs of the back surfaces of the said objects (as Roy Sorensen would have it); rather, (ii), such images, I suggest, are photographs of the objects and what Alva Noë would call their ‘looks’; (iii) the notion of ‘looks’ furnishes us with a way to move closer to an answer to the question of the appropriate causal relation in photography.