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CS100 Lecture Notes - Print Culture, Photojournalism, Marshall Mcluhan

Communication Studies
Course Code
Ghislain Thibault

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Week 8
Friday, November 2, 12
McLuhan question on final exam is false, he does everything but mass media he is more about print, orality,
Visual Culture:
Photography and film
- see the rise in the mass in need to leisure and money, system gave them that bit of money
- How photography and film participated in creating culture that leads towards the rise celebrity and celebrity
- Secondary Orality: these media after print culture that were speech based
o Telephone, telegraph to a certain degree, television and radio.
- McLuhan: “are we moving back to the acoustic state?”
Alongside electric media, the 19th century will witness the rise of:
Three new writing systems
- photograph → writes the light
- Phonograph → writes the sound
- Cinematograph → writes the movement → motion pictures
- 1839: First commercial photographic system *(called the Daguerreotype)
- Photography on paper made it possible to reproduce images mechanically
- Photographs were slow to be featured regularly in newspapers
- Photograph is an extension of you in time.
The rise of photojournalism - Ulrich Keller
To phographs
Three constitutive elements:
1. Halftone pictures
- Technology
- early pixalised images
- points to create shapes
- if you look closely you loose resolution
- if you are far away it‟s a image
- it is reproducible
- took some time to pick up
2. Press Photographers
- Group of people
- Imprinted on paper that we can reproduce
- 1910: see 900 pictures a week → now we see far more than that.
3. Photo agencies
- Institution
- To Sell it
- Rise of photo agencies; have their own photographers and take pictures and sell these images
- Famous events where photo agencies employed, ex: titanic
Are we still living in the era where photographs are perceived as bearer of truth, as evidences of world
Ulrich Keller
“According to this view, the halftone process reproduces a given „reality‟ more „realistically than ever.
However, if we take the position that reality is not given but rather socially constructed through competing
representations a different conclusion suggests itself.”
Page. 146
Photography does not represent reality.
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