What Makes a Document

My answer, after reading through (all!) the replies and the post to What makes a document? is that a document is a piece (or series) of media from which the viewer can infer an actual event took place, however trivial this event may seem. The more context this piece of media has, the more a document it becomes. I don’t believe time and context are mutually exclusive as Stan Dickinson points out in the third reply. Photographs can be ambiguous and when there are several potential contexts for the photograph, complications arise about what the photograph is documenting. This usually happens over time, like with both of Jose’s examples.

You could say every photograph is a document (because a photograph is indexical to the world around us and so some sort of event took place).
This statement has been nicely summed up by others including Selina Wallace’s post conclusion with: ‘a photograph is an imprint of reality, and thus gives information about reality, and for this reason alone, should qualify it the definition of a document’ and John Walker’s post conclusion: ’[the image] will always be a document of the day and time the shutter clicked’.

However, some photographs in my eyes are more of a document than others. This could be because of the content of the photograph, how much time has passed since it was produced as well as forms of context like supporting media for the document being apparent which aid the photograph and whether it appears in a series of photographs.
By following the link above it is possible to find my response to the question: ‘What Makes a Document?’ along with many other answers by other OCA students.

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