The historian is more like a painter than a photographer.

Essay by truffles911College, Undergraduate January 2006

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The painter and photographer are very different yet closely related professions, hobbies, etc. A painter is an artist who illustrates through the use of various media his emotions, perceptions, etc. And a photographer simply takes pictures of what he sees and deems worthy of remembering. A photographer captures moments in time, tangible fractures of memories. History (as an area of Knowledge) is the study of significant past events and circumstances that may or may not have an effect on our present lives. But have one-way or the other affected humanity. A Historian is one who collects and evaluates data from the past and processes it into historical information. In this way they are able to draw conclusions and inferences.

A painting is interpreted in many different ways, depending on the viewer's perception. It adds aspects, through the strategic planning of certain elements such as color, line, movement, and perspective. A self-explanatory depiction of events, people, etc.

A photograph on the other hand is copied, a bland recollection of occurrences, vulnerable to the viewers perceptions and whose real purpose is known to the photographer alone. However in terms o credibility a photograph is a more accurate form of recording the past, than a painting. A painting is often subject to far more manipulation, for example the painting of napoleon crossing the Alps. Napoleon is depicted magnificently, emanating a strong aura of power, wealth and great triumph, upon a white stallion. Unfortunately this painting is a blatant lie, and perfect examples of how history is manipulated by artist, because in true fact Napoleon crossed the Alps on a donkey!

Personally I feel the historian behaves like both the painter and the photographer, in the sense that he uses factual historical evidence, and then uses his 'artistic' skills-perception and imagination to create...