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The Pencil of Nature (Talbot, Henry Fox), 1844

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reacting to the new media, one also took leave of photography – because its supposed authenticity was now thoroughly infiltrated. The foundation of this assumed credibility was always a point of controversy. Shortly after the invention of photography in the nineteenth century, its ‹genuineness› and ‹objectivity› were already suspected in totally different conditions of photographic images. Sometimes in the technical process of image production, as in Henry Fox Talbot’s «Pencil of Nature» (1844–1846) and sometimes not quite in the image itself, but rather searched for in the subjective perceiving process, as in P. H. Emerson’s «Naturalistic Photography» (1889). On the other hand, authenticity was thoroughly assembled, caricatured, or infiltrated, like the art photographer Oscar Rejlander did as early as the 1850s in his photo-collages, the so-called «combination printings» meant to verify photography’s claim on art. [6]

No differently than such strategies for legitimizing photography as an artistic medium, the critical reflections and playful examinations of whatever well-disposed expression of the genuine is found in presentday photography as well. In this connection,


what the electronic media represent is more like an expanding of the existing forms of staging and manipulation. This clearly distinguishes the art context from all the areas of photographic image production, where even though manipulation and retouching have always been just as much essential components of image-making practices, they were suppressed and hidden just the same, since the belief in photography’s reality effect was and still is considered a constructive part of image reception. For, despite having the last decades of photography theory in particular repeatedly investigate and analyze the utopian character of a purely reproduction-oriented image production, the belief in the depiction is an essential element of photography’s success – especially in journalism or criminology. [7] In this field of work the role of the photographic image is far more greatly jarred, because meanwhile (if still at all) it serves in a very limited capacity as what verifies occurrences, receiving an authorization through a third party and then being accepted as credible. [8] It was precisely this authenticating function that repeatedly questioned artistic photography, since, unlike with the

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