So you don’t know if you are looking at a photograph or a painting?
So you think you know how a ‘real’ ‘natural’ photograph looks?
In a full-throttle mass media society, a citizen is an informed entity. An informed entity which has gathered so much knowledge through the information produced by these mass media that he or she can make informed decisions, to the fullest conscience available.
So far the propaganda.
Media is manipulation, more media, more manipulation. Mass media equals mass manipulation. Can you derive the truth out of the waterfall of information which passes through your eyes and ears on a daily basis? You think you know? And what if information about the same subject is contradictory, though presented in each instance as truth? You think you can determine, based on previous knowledge gathered? And what if that previous information was manipulated too?
One of the founding dogmas of the mass media societies of the 20th and 21st centuries, is that visual information should look as ‘natural’ as possible, as the ‘natural’ look is synonymous for objectivity.
In the best ‘natural’ case, the photographer will try to manipulate the image in the best esthetic way, trying to leave the ethical aspect untouched. As much as esthetics are always intertwined with and influenced by ethics, in the worst ‘natural’ case, the image will be manipulated to align it with the ethical beliefs of the photographer or the client who pays the photographer.
Photography was never ‘real’ or ‘natural’. It is always the person behind the camera who decides how to depict reality. It is the photographer who decides what to catch within the frame, what to cut our of reality and present it for later use.
Each image generated through a lens, that reaches our eyes is modified to fit in this dogma. ‘Natural’ images don’t exist. And as ‘natural’ images depict reality within the mass media, this means that a singular objective pictorial reality doesn’t exist either. The real objective photographer, has the guts to admit that she/he is subjective and to express that in her/his photographs. If the mission is to be esthetic, be esthetic and show it. If the mission is to be ethical, be ethical and show it. But don’t pretend to be natural. As you will tell a lie.
Genuine depicting of singular reality has died due to massive abuse by the mass media. To create a new honesty in media, we have to create a pictorial reality which breaks with the dogmas of the past.Therefore, the last chance for the mass media society to return to any sense of dignity, is Post-Reality Realism.
We know now that we can not believe anymore in the natural depicted reality, that’s why we need to create a new one. In effect, a new visual language, where emotions, beliefs and their intensities are shown for what they are.
Post-Reality Realism might not save humanity from confusion, but at least it will acknowledge that we live in a confused world!