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  1. #1
    mmarotta's Avatar
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    Default Seeing Truth: the Zeroeth Question



    I "get" sketching. But how do you validate what you saw? I mean, was that not the downfall of Percival Lowell?

    Drawing antedates photography, so there is a tradition of it. Photography, nice as it is, introduces a whole other technology to be mastered, which means a new set of problems to avoid or solve. So, sketching is direct.

    But what happens when two observers record different versions of the same event? How do you reconcile them?

    When I was about 12, I had a Criterion 4-inch reflector and when I was about 28, I bought a 4-inch refractor from a co-worker. And I drew pictures of what I saw. But neither at 12 nor 28 was my work accurate or precise. I am a writer. While a picture is worth 1000 words, that "kiloword" comes more easily to me than drawing.

    While photography is yet another layer of complexity, is that not just a fact of life for an astronomer? We all have hobbies that require equipment and investments. How is the requirement that you must photograph what you claim you saw any different?

    Would all of that not nonethless validate sketching as art (rather than science)? "Rhea Rising Over Titan" might make a nice picture, whether or not anyone so far has seen it.

    Finally, without bringing the "Apollo 12 Hoax" into this, it seems that NASA does photoshop its images. (Read here on the science fiction writing website "IO9".) The conspiratorists will make of that what they will, but having had two graduate classes in remote sensing and GIS, I know that almost everything we do with a camera is "photoshop."

    Our visual vocabulary or visual grammar has been defined by Renaissance painting. We make everything look like The Last Supper. Numismatic curator Geraldine Chimirri-Russell has been publishing on the fact that we look at many coins (especially Celtic) from the wrong angle: they were not meant to be seen front-on, but obliquely. Turn one of these "distorted" images sideways to your eye, and the elements of nose, hair, lips, eyes, all align to give a 3-D image of a face. No one saw this before in modern times because we force everything into a canon. We do this with remote sensing and we call it "ortho-rectified." So, how is photography any better than sketching? As I said, I "get" sketching... but questions remain...

    Just asking...
    Mike M.
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    Michael E Marotta

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  2. #2
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    Default

    Good questions ....... there is always a deeper (and in fact more basic) layer to consider. The quest for truth, the very question of what "truth" is, was started a long time ago and it's likely a long journey ahead. The important thing is that individually we are aware of this and embark on this personal journey, the rest we can't control.

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    Antonino Carnevali

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  3. #3
    Commodorefirst's Avatar
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    Default

    Excellent questions, and while I don't sketch anymore, I did back in my youth, and I still have many of those sketches from back in high school and college days. Provided a record of my observations, and provides some nice memories.

    Even today with imaging, we can never be sure of what you see is what you get.

    good thought provoking thread.

 

 

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