Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Sturken and Cartwright, "Images, Power, and Politics"


Sturken and Cartwright discuss how words and images "create meaning about the world around us;" that what they show is a representation of something else. However, there are also many instances where a picture can misrepresent something, or been seen in a different way. This can often be detrimental to the project, but sometimes it simply offers a new way to see the world.

Representations can also refer to a more philosophical viewpoint. For example, there is an image of a pipe, with "This is not a pipe" written in French below it.

While there are many ways to view this image, one could argue that the caption is true because it is not an actual pipe, but rather a representation of one. This reminds me of Plato's Allegory of the Cave and his Theory of Forms, both of which comment on the fact that there is one true object (like a pipe), and all the others are simply recreations. Plato's image of the cave shows that the prisoners (whom he infers are representative for people in society) are only seeing reflections of reality, through the shadows on the wall. It is only the enlightened man, whom walks towards the source of light to discover the sun and ascend to the world of forms, which is true reality.

This is related to the pipe image in that picture that we see represents the real thing, but the image itself is not a pipe. While this is the more philosophical way to view this image, do you believe (like many) that it was made on a more basic level, simply to be a joke?

Also, people often believe that pictures are direct representations of reality, in that an image of a woman crying is depicting sadness, when in reality they could be tears of joy, or something void of emotion that has been completely staged.

Recently, a video of a girl twerking and catching on fire went viral, and people went crazy. Some thought it was hilarious, some thought she deserved it for performing such a scandalous dance, and some felt pity for her, but regardless of how people felt, they shared it and accepted it as reality. It wasn't until Jimmy Kimmel revealed that it was all a hoax, crafted by his team and performed by a stuntwoman, that it became obvious how easily fooled the Internet community is. Images are everywhere online, and since they are seemingly a direct depiction of an event, people don't question them. However, it is what you don't see and what happens behind the scenes that matters the most. Why do you think people are so easily swayed by an image, despite there being so ways that images can easily be distorted?

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