Issues surrounding The Global Image
Photography has insinuated itself into every pore of society. Photography frames the subject to give meaning yet framing is also subject to politics & culture. It ignores everything outside of the frame yet this can introduce a narrative questioning what does not appear which may be more intriguing than what does appear. Frames and mirrors are powerful often used metaphors within photography…the frame objectifies the subject and the mirror can reflect the world (physically & metaphorically) and sometimes reflect the world of the artist. Some of this is discussed in Susan Sontag ‘In Plato’s Cave’ (Susan Sontag – On Photography; 1977)
Like photography the Internet has insinuated itself into almost every corner of the world…when we speak of Global it has become synonymous with the internet. Media & photography have grown up hand in hand and are mutually influential so it is no wonder the internet has the potential to have such an impact on photography. An image can now spread to all corners of the world faster than a virus. Yet that image can be spread without context & control with the potential to be misinterpreted & to misinform. With the internet photography now has the potential to use its abilities to change the world & how we see it. The proliferation of imagery on the internet homogenises the worth of any single image & with stock image banks controlling how we think anything should look. Surfing the net could be compared to Freud’s “daydreaming” – an idea that is re-enforced when you consider all the click-bait subliminal advertising.
Post WWII the Family Of Man exhibition reflected societies desire for peace and understanding attempting to focus on the planet as a neighbourhood and create a Global Community Of Man. Yet this melting-pot ideology risks diluting local cultural significance. With the internet however local does not necessarily pertain to geographical…but to a potential collective of people with a mutual interest or agenda
One of the challenges of Global Photography is an age-old challenge that it has constantly faced since it’s invention…that of a Universal Truth. We seem to automatically accept the truth in any image that we see, yet we know that there are always mitigating factors. One newspaper will print an image with one headline while another will use exactly the same image for an opposing viewpoint. In this age of deception and cynicism we know we are being lied to – we know the meal will not look like the picture on the box after we have microwaved it for 8 minutes. But these are acceptable lies…little white lies we have come to expect and subscribe to.
It would seem that photographic truth is subjective and a complex contract of compromise that we rebalance each and every day.