In the paper submitted, I believe, first of all it is appropriate to note the multifunctionality and natural reliability of the photographic instruments i n source studies in general and in anthropological and human sciences in particular.
In my judgment of a scientist, a full member of the Expeditionary Corps (the Institute of Memory) a picture or a photo is: 1) a fixing fact of objective reality, 2) a projective fact representing the thinking and psyche of a person as a cameraman and a spectator ( referring to R. Barth’s terminology); 3) a conceptual fact, a fact of the world of ideas. At the same time there is also the meaning 4) the photo is a communication fact — the media fact, since it becomes a fact of communication and choice of both operator and speculator, a sort of special communication artefact serving as a mediator.
Photography may be among the key sources in the near future of research information. These days, the era of video and photo industry development, digital and analogue photos are becoming more and more affordable. This provides excellent opportunities to create positive conditions for scientific research, as well as to create a photographic environment for future generations.
From the perspective of trends, digital photography of different formats (full-frame, crop and others) prevails today.
The following method is proposed to evaluate the basic classification of photography as a source and environment for scientific research.
- Digital photos (serving the basic registration function of current events and incidents in human life and activity);
- Analog photos. Currently, analogue photography is being reborn at a high pace (despite the seemingly exclusive ‘technological leap’ in electronic and digital technologies).
For researchers it is crucial to be aware that today the leading publishing houses and major libraries in the world have stopped accepting monographs with no analogue photos. It is required to present negatives in order to illustrate a monograph. In other words, if you are a scientist or researcher now take photos of something and intend to use the results of your research in any scientific activities, you will need to submit an analog photo (prints and negatives).
The trend for recovery also indicates that the following developments will take place in the near future. Analog photography is going to evolve at an even higher tempo.
The companies produce new films, new types of reagents, improve the development process, machines are being produced that display and simultaneously print, scan analogue photos. In the overall configuration of the scientists’ activity organization, such trends will facilitate the immediate professional activity and allow (with a valid methodology) to resolve scientific objectives as efficiently as possible.
Below is a practical recommendation, based on current trends and realities of the potential and opportunities of scientific research in the 21st century.
It is highly recommended for a photographer-scientist to have two cameras (one analog, the second-digital). A digital camera is required to record scientific activity, i.e. at the step of primary ‘scientific investigation’ when we are just starting to study a subject, and we need data more than evidence.
In that case, a digital camera is recommended to take advantage of its capabilities for better analysis of the unknown field and quick recording of data and the progress of scientific work. In fact, we create a memory block with photos so that, after a while, not to forget anything.
Particularly, this is relevant for expedition activities. Numerous aspects of the initial acquaintance with the subject can be omitted, and later on with the repeated analysis of the photographic series one may notice details that has not been seen at the first time.
The analog photo is essential for fixing the photo facts. In other words, there is the following methodical recommendation (I have first faced that in ‘Photography as a source of scientific information’ monograph by PhD Oleg Maltsev):
- to create a prerequisite of a photo fact with a digital camera (to register the progress of research);
- then to take a photo on an analogue camera, thus creating a photo fact. For example, for the first time in the expedition I take photos of objects on a digital camera. Once again I always shoot with an analog camera.
If it is no longer possible to shoot again, you can take pictures with both cameras at once. It is helpful to acquire a simple photographic skill and use both cameras in parallel.
The tendency to promote photography is comparable to geometric progression; it is quite predictable that both the analog and digital photo industries will rapidly progress. 1.Digital — in the direction of convenience and automatisation. 2. Analogue — for simplicity of photography.
Regarding the methodological and tactical analysis of photographic products, new methods of handling photographic samples will certainly be introduced, which shall include, on the one hand, integrated systems of analysis (for example, psychological, philological, sociological configuration layout). In fact, we keep up with the times, moving to the correct formation of valid diverse methods at the intersection of sciences. These are scientific international aspirations in the countries of America and the EU, which is not complicated to verify in own practice.
On the other hand, there are tendencies for creating new methods, including computer programs that analyze photographic samples. Most likely, what we are doing now visually and manually, the engineers of the future will attempt to automatize, and that may be quite problematic, since the tasks of such a kind require a specific software for the ‘next-generation’ artificial intelligence. Nowadays, only a human being is capable of analyzing a photo qualitatively. No machine in this area is likely to compete with a person.
If photography is going to be further developed through two parallel courses, then the methodical part involves new techniques applied at the intersection of sciences, as well as the effort to computerize this analysis process. It is also possible that these programs might allow a person to decide on the choice of analysis. For instance, it is likely that a specialized dialogue program will be created allowing artificial intelligence and human one to communicate. Similarly, it is likely that some researchers, photographers and/or engineers might create databases of photo samples, such as digital data banks online, in which one could order any selection of photos not fearing fakes (i.e. this kind of repository would be responsible for the authenticity of photos provided for scientific studies).
Nevertheless, attention should be focused on the fact that in any case one cannot trust the ‘storage’ as such; you have to verify and double-check everything yourself. Yet the creation of such databases containing photo samples will significantly reduce the researcher’s time.
In conclusion, I would argue the photography is undoubtedly the most significant source of scientific information through its unique properties, which no other analogue possesses. In contrast to other types of information sources, photography offers advantages that in one word may be characterized as ‘objectivity’.