We came to understand that ‘straight’ photography manipulated our understanding of reality. Some 150 years later, we started to ‘improve’ photographic ‘truth’ using a computer and Photoshop. But still wanted to believe in it. Today, artificial intelligence has given us the possibility to synthetise ‘photographic truth’ relying on (post) photographic data stretching out from images formerly known as ‘straight’ to ‘improved’ and now also – and increasingly – synthetic. All stored in the ‘cloud’, pretending to be collective memory while in reality shaped by commercially operated algorithms: systems locked up in black boxes virtually no one has access to.
And still, we (want to) believe in photographic images. Because we have nothing better. Our brains are on the alert for visual input 24/7 to detect danger. Stay or flee?
In danger today is independent journalism, in danger is democracy. If we do not manage to create a system with transparency and built-in guarantees re the way images are generated, all facts will become exchangeable opinions.
Edam – NL