I’ve often been fascinated by good photographic images that could have existed X number of years ago or been seen exactly as-is by someone living in that time.
It’s the pictures of barns, or wheat fields, or people in a particular type of dress that come to mind. It’s remarkable to think that were you in the position of the camera at that time, it would have looked exactly the same as the image.
This got me thinking about the various degrees of that realism in photography, and I decided to attempt a rating system. The idea is to go from complete realism to various levels of augmentation based on two things: capability of capture device, and perspective of capture.
- Level 0: As a human would see it, from a human-capable perspective in year 1 CE
- Level 1: As a human have see it, from any perspective from which humans have actually been
- Level 2: As a human would see it, from any perspective from which humans have extended their presence
- Level 3: As a thing actually is, from any perspective from which humans have extended their presence
- Level 1 would be something like our astronauts looking back from the moon.
- Level 2 would be something like our images from Mars’ surface.
- Level 3 would be something like the pale blue dot.
- We could almost include a level 4 and 5, which would be a conceptualization of what something *would* look like from a perspective or capture capability we don’t yet, or cannot ever, have. But that’s not a photograph, it’s a concept, so I haven’t included them in the ratings.