The Global Image

The following questions were posed at the end of the introductory presentation:

Do you see any parallels between the historic spread of photography and the transmission of digital imagery today ?  Can you think of any problems associated with the speed at which the photograph moves?

The French government’s licensing of the Daguerre Type, which facilitated its spread around the world, is somewhat analogous to the spread of mobile phones today.  Photography has become truly ubiquitous and virtually everyone in the world is a producer and consumer of photographic images.  We are inherently a visual species and, therefore, perhaps quite inclined to accept images not created by our own eyes as credible substitutes.  The internet, television and other mobile technologies which have proliferated around the world in a seemingly ever increasing pace provide a non-stop stream of visual imagery to all corners of the planet.

So while we may be inclined as a species to “believe” what our eyes see, the facts are not all photographic images tell the truth or at least the whole truth.  A snapshot of a mere fraction of a second may have no context or can be easily taken out of proper context, and can lead to grossly misleading conclusions.  Add to the modern dilemma our ability to digitally manipulate a photographic image and one could call into question the veracity of any photograph.  Like any technology, photography carries with it a spectrum of uses and abuses.  As consumers, we are called upon to be ever more discriminating under the onslaught of constant imagery, not all of which is being produced responsibly or ethically.  It is a powerful medium and perhaps more powerful now than it has ever been because of the speed and reach that digital transmission has permitted.

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