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Photography conveniently replaced with images the words that were once essential to describing a visual

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Shauri Wu Culture as Communication Professor Vasu Varadhan Response Paper II 4. 20. 2005 The Photographer Since the invention of the camera in 1839, photography has transformed the entire nature of art in that it brought about a great revolution of the traditional arts, pushing it from depictions of a world we already knew to expressions of inward gestures and creativity. Photography conveniently replaced with images the words that were once essential to describing a visual. These images are in fact very different in nature from the continuous action of television, as well as the timeless sculpture. Abolishing the concept of time and space, the technology of the photo is thus fabricated by the desire to give permanence to daily feelings and experience. The photograph is a medium with the ability to isolate a single moment in time which in turn can be duplicated and endlessly re-created. However, the context in which it is taken remains obscure, giving the photo and the photographer the power to transform the particular moment in reality that is supposedly portrayed. Regardless of the content and technology of the photo or the message, mankind's "avid desire to prostitute itself," in McLuhan's words, is undeniable. The intricate relationship between the photographer and his camera brings new light to assessing the content of a photograph or the message it carries. More specifically, if the message is the photograph, then the camera is the tool that allows for the photograph to be taken. ...read more.


Furthermore, Susan Sontag, through her books about photography, goes as far as saying that photography is mental pollution, arguing that the message takes precedence and that we are all image junkies. Though she makes many valid points, it is inaccurate to argue the images we see become a source for our bias, especially since she criticizes that we are all passive viewers who give assent to violence and cruelties. An image can convey multiple messages just as a message can be shown in multiple ways. Freud's observations on the language of gesture were heavily dependent on photography and the still shots it produced. In that logic, the image takes precedence over its message. Nevertheless, his name will remain a legacy regardless of the accuracy of his claims, in a sense showing the extent of our desire to 'prostitute.' Essentially, the image and the message are indivisible- the photograph is the message. It is reasonable to doubt the veracity of a photograph because inevitably, the assumption that photographs reveal truth is inaccurate. One application of photography, other than replacing the memory, is to portray the subjective view of the photographer. The presentation of a photo is often manipulative and deceitful as it deconstructs to the way message interacts with style. The photographer has the power to distort with stylistic preferences. Therefore, looking at a photograph is merely looking at the photographer's bias in choosing an image. ...read more.


Given that we care more about the thrill of driving, getting to a destination is no longer the only purpose for cars. Unfortunately, we utilize our tools to their full potential, not realizing the growing need for our machines to fulfill our own potential. The photographer, like the photograph, is the mass-produced message through his camera. He uses the technology of the photo to pause time in order to instigate the thoughts and emotions he wanted to feel again, taking full advantage of a photograph's ability to transcend time and space. He is addicted to the satisfaction offered by his camera and therefore completely dependent on it. Figuratively speaking, the photographer lives for his camera because he feels good using it, regardless of content. Above all, to the viewer, the photographer's name gets remembered from his work. Perhaps photography is even a rival of the word because it offers an alternative to the description of images. Consequently, photography works against the only form of communication for the preservation of a culture. Furthermore, what we see should not distract us from what pictures we are not shown. Not only should the veracity of photographs be questioned, the relationship between man and machine should also be scrutinized. We aspire to fully realize the potential of a technology, like the performer and his piano. However, the artist fulfills the potential of the machine just as much as the machine fulfills the potential of the art. In the end, their aims toward mankind's desire to 'prostitute' are indivisible. ...read more.

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