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The Strange World of Spirit Photography: Jake Ptacek
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I have been interested in spirit photography for a while now- particularly in its earlier incarnations in the 19th and early 20th century.

Historically, spirit photography has meant different things for different people. For some it provided unquestionable evidence that we are being watched over by those no longer visible to us; for others it was a means for exploitation or cynical self promotion. Today these images can appear naive, contrived, ridiculous or a very real and very human expression of a desire to reach out for what we cannot understand or return to us (or make it reappear). Their basis is certainly not aesthetic or artistic which separates these images from many other forms of photography and yet they are also early examples of truly photographic and experimental composited special effects.

Personally my fascination lies in all of these things and the paradoxes between them. Perhaps these images bring us to a simple fundamental choice- to believe or not to believe, to see the truth or the contrivances. For me these images which appear to be so crudely transparent are actually densely layered- lets not forget that eventually all photography becomes spirit photography…

This article by Jake Ptacek is a nicely concise summary of some of the principles of photography, both haunted and otherwise.

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