Naive Realism – My Image

The Task

Think about the concept of naïve realism

Take a photograph that doesn’t show naïve realism


The Concept

Naive Realism (in relation to photography) means trusting the world at face value, the belief that anything and everything represented in imagery, is a truthful and entire representation of reality. The flaw with naive realism, is that an image can’t hope to even attempt to encapsulate the entirety of reality. In addition to this, despite the best intentions of the photographer, every viewer will interpret and negotiate a different meaning from the image they view.

The Image


In response to the idea of naive realism, I wanted to try and create the most simple image I possibly could, to try and make the point that I wasn’t even attempting to represent reality. I took this image of the blue sky, but I didn’t include any clouds or any other indicators that this might be the sky at all. The only thing I wanted the viewer to draw from the image was the colour blue – but even this is flawed because colour is a social construction.



In fact the correct response to this task would be to refuse to take an image, but none of us were brave enough to attempt this option! I did think about the fact that the task might be impossible as I grappled with the task of trying to take an image that didn’t demonstrate naive realism. It has really made me think about photography and how every image is a link to the concept of naive realism, we put so much trust in what we see in photographs, pictures, advertisements and even videos. Although we can obviously identify the false elements in some cases, we still put trust in sources like the news, even though there are continued discussions over the flawed relationship between photography, photojournalism and truth. We have to consider as photographers that what we take, will never be interpreted in the way that we were inspired when we took the shot. Naive realism is a term that I was unfamiliar with, but I have speculated before in my work about photography and truth. Now I have a concept I can use to strengthen my approach in making images and in particular, what I will choose to explore in my response to the coursework brief.


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