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Artistic Conceptions at the Crossing from Analog to Digital Photography
Anette Hüsch


No previous technological development changed photography as intensely as digital image processing. Although the idea of a photographic truth and authenticity was questioned and infiltrated since its earliest beginnings, the quality of retouching and manipulating an existing image nevertheless lags far behind the intervention possibilities offered by computer programs like «Photoshop». Experts could at least recognize the early manipulations of images, whereas nowadays digital interventions are impossible to comprehend: a digitallyaltered or assembled image can no longer be absolutely distinguished from a photograph, since the route taken via digital image processing can lead back to analog forms again. What aesthetic potential the digital image possesses, how perceiving images in general has changed and which ethical questions arise has been discussed ever since. One early and enormously influential contribution to this debate is William T. Mitchell’s book, The Reconfigured Eye. Visual Truth in the Post-Photographic Era, published in 1992. In his analysis, Mitchell – a professor in the Department of Architecture and Media Art at the Massachusetts


Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge/USA – makes a clear distinction between the image produced photochemically and the digital image. [1] His diagnosed differences of nature between the two technical processes and thus accomplished theoretical departure from photography seem to manifest themselves in the artistic context for the moment.

Three years after the publication of Mitchell’s book, the vastly conceived exhibition entitled «Fotografie nach der Fotografie» (Photography After Photography) offered an overview of those art-context tendencies which deal with the influence of digital technologies on photography. The works shown in this framework by Keith Cottingham, the artist duo Anthony Aziz / Sammy Cucher, and the artist Inez van Lamsweerde, known from the world of fashion photography, could almost be considered ‹classics› in the meantime – just as the catalogue of the same name, even today a compendium of important articles on the state of radical change in analog image media under the influence of digital technologies. [2] In retrospect, the articles collected here clarify the extent to which the difference between photography

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