Shot in the Dark: Notes on Photography, Causality, and Content



Photography is often said to be an essentially causal medium. This paper addresses the role of causality in photography and argues for three main claims: (i) a causal theory of photography does not force us to say that images of backlit objects are photographs of the back surfaces of the said objects (as Roy Sorensen would have it); rather, (ii), such images, I suggest, are photographs of the objects and what Alva Noë would call their ‘looks’; (iii) the notion of ‘looks’ furnishes us with a way to move closer to an answer to the question of the appropriate causal relation in photography.