chapter  1
Interpreting Photographs
Some thoughts on method
ByElizabeth Edwards
Pages 8

This chapter is not, however, a "how-to manual", how to interpret or translate photographs. Photographs are images and objects redolent with signifiers, the carriers of cultural meaning. While photographs can communicate through a range of signifying strategies, as icons or as symbols, it is as an index that they have been most widely discussed. With the exception of outright and intentional falsification, there is, in the end, no right or wrong method with photographs, no right or wrong meaning, but a series of negotiations around the historical and evidential potential of the image. This requires explanatory contexts and interpretative framings through which people make sense of photographs. In seeking to understand acts of transfer, translation and, thus, interpretation, D'hulst has called for an analysis of features that are "most accessible to observation and their interrelations, taking into account the specific configurations of agents and techniques of which the transfer features form part".