Art & Art History ETDs

Publication Date



Intimate understanding of the nature of a medium is the prerequisite for its use by an artist. Part I is an examination of the medium of photography in the most general terms. Certain affinities become evident which are found to be constant as properties of the medium. The photograph is examined in relation to its function and meaning levels. First the photograph and its physical properties include an image rendered in a continuous tonal scale from black to white. A photograph has the ability to resolve and define minute details and record more varieties of light than the eye can retain. The photograph in relation to its subject matter has been called "the faithful witness." The photograph as a representation of reality is socially accepted as being real and true and fact. Photographs serve as substitutes for reality as well as being substitutes for experience. The photograph in relation to reality tends to be dissociative and descriptive by nature rather than polemic or narrative. Its image may or may not be authentic, correct and/or true. The photograph in relation to eternity tends to suggest endlessness. Photographs exist in ahistorical time which obscures their original context and connections leaving them open to any kind of interpretation.



Document Type


Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

UNM Department of Art and Art History

First Committee Member (Chair)

Thomas R. Barrow

Second Committee Member

Beaumont Newhall

Third Committee Member

Robert M. Ellis