Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Photography in the Age of Electronic Imaging

Digital technology in regards to photography brought on an anxiety about the continuing value of photographic 'truth' and the status of photographic evidence. Ritchen saw the substitution of chemical by electronic processes leading to an increase to photographs being manipulated (318). The initial change like with any change causes concern but throughout photographic history images have been manipulated in various ways to include combination prints, coloring, and re-staging events especially during the civil war. So the truth in photography has always had some flexibility and integral to photography and was often hinged on technology or lack of that spurred photographers to find alternative means to get the shot. The post production manipulation of photographs raised ethical problems for Ritchen as well. He felt strongly about this aspect in regards to photojournalism. Photojournalists are reporting on specific events where the image is recording history, and as the viewer you take it as truth of that moment. So when manipulated by editors or taken out of context from what the photographer wanted to present does cause concern. As stated before that has been acted upon in the beginning during war photos because of lack of technology, but in today's world with all of the devices to document and transfer data I feel there should be more truth. When everything around us is under constant surveillance, reality without edit, info that is broadcasted in multiple mediums, it doesn't seem necessary to manipulate in photojournalism. The distinction between the imaginary and the real. (321)
Assenting to the increasing power and sophistication of new imaging technologies, Robins argues that they are a postmodern form of this older drive to order and control the world through the 'rationalization of vision'. New image technology, like the earlier positivist uses of photography to measure and collect facts about the world, now strives, through imaging the invisible and via simulations built from data to continue this vision. Foe Robins, the real problem is the close association of such drives and discourses with a narrative of technological progress in which the 'new' is always better than the 'old'. This infers that the old is inferior and limited in contrast to the new. This is a concern but only if we forget that photography's role is not only cognitive but is also emotional and aesthetic. 

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