Manipulation - Some of the definitions that the dictionary gives for manipulation are as follows: to work with the hands, to handle or manage, to give a false appearance, to turn to one's own purpose or advantage.

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Sam Butt


Some of the definitions that the dictionary gives for manipulation are as follows: to work with the hands, to handle or manage, to give a false appearance, to turn to one’s own purpose or advantage. I think that the definition’s that best apply to photography are “to turn to one’s own purpose or advantage” and “to give false appearance”. This is because frequently in photography you can change or alter a photograph so that it is exactly as you want others to view the subject of your images. The main difference between a camera and our eyes is that through the use of a camera we only have to view selected objects and not everything in front of us. A simple of example of this is if I was to take a picture of people sitting in a classroom. I may choose to only include 2 people in the frame when there are 4 people I can see in front of me. I have already manipulated this image by “visually cropping” the other people out of the frame.

Another way that an image can be manipulated is through the use of computer editing programs such as the Adobe Photoshop series and the Jasc Paint shop pro series , by using these programs effects such as removing particular objects from an area of an image and replacing them with others.


The first two images that I have analysed (figure 1 and 2) are by Rommert Boonstra. The first of these two images was created through the manipulation of camera positioning.

In some ways the first of these two images is quite similar to other works by Rommert Boostra. One of the main things that I picked up was the emphasis on giving the impression of new beginnings or opening doors. Many of his images convey this idea through dream-like scenes. They look similar to pieces by surrealist artist Salvador Dali. The image below shows an open book that is being held open by what looks like a stick. The book is a dictionary and is opened at the pages explaining the meanings of words beginning with C.  On one side of the book there is a hole cut out which looks to be the shape of a door. There is also one of the pages rolled into a cone shape and placed almost at the entrance to the doorway. As well as this there is a black pole that stretches across the middle of the image in the foreground from the middle on the right to almost the top left corner. There is what looks like saw dust covering the bottom of the image and continues through the doorway. This picture has a dream-like feeling about it and is viewed from a very close angle. The main difference with this angle being that it looks as if something or someone very small is looking at this scene before them as they are almost looking straight at the doorway with everything else above them, rather than the view showing the door way and others objects from above. In its entirety the picture looks quite spaced out and open but certain areas of the piece, viewed individually seem quite full. For example the bottom half of the picture is taken up by the door, saw dust and the cone shape but also the writing on the pages of the book which makes the area look quite crowded. The fact that the bottom section of the piece has less light on it and a shadow created by the black pole across the middle of the image makes its look more secluded. From this piece it appears that the artist may have a particular interest in the utilisation of triangular shapes. I came to this conclusion by the angles that the black pole and the book itself are placed at but also the use of the cone next to the door. This possibly could represent the artist’s impression of imagination and the belief that it can point you in many and pretty much any direction.

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Another key feature of this piece that I noticed is the gradual fade from light to dark from the top to the bottom of the image respectively. This is almost implying that there is another whole or viewing point to this image but that the artist has decided not to allow us to view it from that angle. I particularly like the arrangement of this picture, although don’t think that the placing of the black pole and the other gold object between the two sides of the book fits too well with the other objects.

I am certain ...

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