19 October 2009

do you see what I see?

So, according to Susan Sontag, at the 1855 Paris Exposition Universelle when the first retouched image was shown next to its original the crowds were astonished. She asserts, "The news that the camera could lie made getting photographed much more popular."

I love this. What is it with humans and deception? What makes for the thrill? Was viewing that retouched image the moment at which we all realised the camera's possible ability to reveal to us newer and (some might hope) better versions of ourselves, our lives, the world?

She goes on to say that photographs contain not only evidence of what was there when it was photographed, but how we saw it, "not just a record, but an evaluation of the world."