Engaging analogue photography in the world, not in a laboratory, is engaging modelling, specifically statistical modelling.
Obviously chemistry and chemical reactions are other ways of engaging analogue photography.
The pixel is a generalisation of the silver halide crystal.
While digital photography can be – and, seemingly, is mostly – engaged in the world, that world is a laboratory, a laboratory of the world, a laboratory that has already witnessed and come to know the world (tasks specifically accomplished by analogue photography) and can therefore now freely replicate it – be it. (This world lab, necessarily virtual, is a legacy bequeathed to digital photography by analogue photography.) Digital photography is statistical modelling too. Having bequeathed a legacy from analogue photography, digital photography need not model the actual world any longer; instead, it models the model of the world it has received as a bequest from analogue photography.
The pixel can presume and thus forgo cognition. Even the silver halide crystal can do that; but it couldn’t do that just then simply because the world still had to be witnessed and known. That task accomplished, we can now engage in modelling the model to measure the effectiveness of the model.
Hypothetically we can ask: but is the world always as such?