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Lecture 8

CMNS 210 Lecture Notes - Lecture 8: Consumerism, Digital Photography, Social Currency

Course Code
CMNS 210
Stuart Poyntz

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210 Week 8 Lecture Notes
Ewen: Image/style becomes a form of social currency in our market society; photos are a
medium of pretension
Sontag: image world domination; representation/appearance is preferred over the
The Visual Revolution: Photography/ads/rise of communication surfaces
Photography was domesticated quickly in populated areas and will become core/crucial
to the way advertising transforms from an information resource to a public pedagogy (a
way of telling people how to live a good life); ads become highly visual; photography is
effective and emotional and open to audiences whom are illiterate while the written word
is rational. Photograph becomes a form of popular communication; a new culture of
space and time; introduces a new foreground about surfaces as it skins reality by making
an impression of a moment.
Sontag: a modern person thinks and understands of the world around them through living
in and with images; a chief activity of a modern society is producing and consuming
“Seeing is believing”; seeing is easier to believe than reading; a photo is a trace,
something stenciled off the real; it is a particular way of communicating; it is an indexical
sign that is more attached to the real world than other signs
Film: the light acts as a transference from the image to the film; a photo is burnt through
light onto the celluloid film; see the world, stop time, frame the moment, and imprint
onto a surface; capture/documentation of the past (family portraits, family archives)
Digital photograph: immediately translated to digital codes/data and then is converted
into images; the immediate connection (the light) between the real world image and the
photo is lost in digital photography.
Reality is redefined; people increasingly turn to the photo to understand the world; it is
accessible, easy for us to hold onto the past, mass reach; it reorganizes behaviour of
people; photos become surveillance
*Impressionism: the way the brush was used was to replicate the way life was in
everyday circumstances (like photos)
Photography produces an analytic objectivity; allows us to see the exotic things as
intimate, and familiar becomes strange; depersonalizes our relationship to the world;
offers a new powerful resources for capitalism and undermines print literacy;
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