Ideas Series: Once a Certain Notion

1. For a while, a certain notion held sway. This notion equated the advent of digital optics with a severing of the anchor that had previously moored the image to some foundation of reality.

Establishing a correspondence between the pixellation of the photograph and a loss of authenticity was a task enthusiastically undertaken by a wide variety of commentators. Each of these could be distinguished, ultimately, by which of the two warring camps – one for and one against – they chose to identify with. In parallel to these discursive skirmishes, and in many cases inspired by them, artistic practice offered its own negotiation of the representational terrain. Was the emergence of digital photography a new dawn in which surface, artifice and sublime invention could be celebrated or did it instead augur the dusk into which reason, truth and trust were rapidly descending?

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Published in Photoworks, Issue 5, 2005
Commissioned by Photoworks.

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