Image Or Imagination? - The Problem of Photographic Represenation

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GRIN Verlag, 2007 - 68 pages
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Seminar paper from the year 2006 in the subject Communications - Theories, Models, Terms and Definitions, grade: 1,0, University of Tubingen (Englisches Seminar), course: Key Terms for Studying Culture, 39 entries in the bibliography, language: English, comment: This text was written as a Oberseminararbeit (English Studies). It deals with the terms "representation" and "reality," with the history of photographic practices and, by combining the two, with the problem of photographic represenation., abstract: Altered pictures have always caused much controversy. Even when photography was still in its infancy, manipulative arrangement was already an issue. Nowadays, digital photography in particular faces an erosion of trust because newsmagazines and newspapers make frequent use of various manipulation techniques, which fiercely challenges the shared belief that photographs record the world objectively and truthfully. Oddly enough, even though a picture may lie, it is still used as evidence in the courtroom or understood as a valuable historical document. In my analysis of photography s oscillation between image and imagination, with the two terms representing something traditionally thought of as real on the one hand and something thought of as constructed on the other hand, I want to address these questions and analyse how and what a picture represents. I argue that meaning is to a large extent constructed by the viewer and does not exist as an inherent quality. Consequently, whether an altered picture is seen as fraud or merely as an optimisation is a very subjective matter and strongly depends on contextual information. The viewer s judgement is influenced by the path through which the image is mediated and the context in which it is embedded, but his judgement is also dependent on what the image means to him, not only on what he sees in it. This is not to say that photographs can under no circumstances be used as evidence. However, what can be said is that
 

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Contents

Contents
3
A brief history of its practices and discourses
11
Conclusion
25
Copyright

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Page 25 - It could be argued that these activities are in some way the "content" of the electric light, since they could not exist without the electric light. This fact merely underlines the point that "the medium is the message" because it is the medium that shapes and controls the scale and form of human association and action.
Page 25 - When I use a word ... it means just what I choose it to mean - neither more nor less.
Page 8 - Even the most perfect reproduction of a work of art is lacking in one element: its presence in time and space, its unique existence at the place where it happens to be.
Page 25 - This fact merely underlines the point that "the medium is the message" because it is the medium that shapes and controls the scale and form of human association and action. The content or uses of such media are as diverse as they are ineffectual in shaping the form of human association. Indeed, it is only too typical that the "content" of any medium blinds us to the character of the medium.
Page 19 - A photograph's punctum is that accident which pricks me (but also bruises me, is poignant to me).
Page 8 - the photograph must be visualized in full before the exposure is made.' Levine has taken the master at his word and in so doing has shown him what he really meant.
Page 23 - structural congruence of point of view (the eye of the photographer, the eye of the camera, and the spectator's eye) confers on the photograph a quality of pure, but delusory, presentness
Page 21 - Pictures are steeped in ideology, that is, in "sets of values or assumptions which large numbers of people in a given society believe in at any one time (Green 5). Whereas the term is often used in a negative context in political analysis, recent cultural criticism stresses that ideology is a "necessary element of 'sociality...
Page 18 - Renaissance painting, offers a static, uniform field in which orthogonals converge at a single vanishing point (Solomon-Godeau 180-181).

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