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Themesicon: navigation pathPhoto/Byteicon: navigation pathDocument and Abstraction

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to their compatibility with other data records, their variability and fragility, but above all the inability to detect possible image alteration strategies. On the other hand, the variability in the area of analog darkroom work is far from the information passing directly into the printed image. Indeed, I would even say that this discussion also makes us aware of the instability of analog space: as an auxiliary construction, a simulation. Analog photography was never a real guarantee—despite the quasi ‹more stable› image result—against manipulation or propaganda; it showed what ‹was› in the spirit of Roland Barthes [3] and of as neutral a description as possible only under certain comprehensible conditions, otherwise it was storytelling, more interpretation and construction than documentation or deconstruction.

Manipulative strategies are above all also possible in the area of the distribution context: in media systems the fractures occur primarily there where ‹embedded journalists› administer us reasonable doses of not only war reports. Enlightened media consumption today, as the basis for judging all conveyed information, takes for granted that this arises from the context of ‹embedded


journalism,› regardless of whether the reports spring from political, economic (corporate or stock market reports, for instance) or culture-industrial contexts. The contextual assignment of meaning is not a result of a digital image culture, rather it has been a decisive question as long as there have been pictorial creations. But marketing and public relations methods have penetrated so far into reporting or are applied in such a stilted way in advertising that clear recognition is often not possible, nor is it desired (if one thinks e.g. of the pseudo-scientific language of the cosmetics industry).

Photographs, analog as well as digital, operate with realistic, naturalistic, figurative elements, but their exact reference to reality is not revealed. By their being embedded in a certain context they are more clearly directed. (I would like to call to mind the famous speech made by the American Secretary of State, Colin Powell, before the United Nations Security Council in New York, in which by using photographs of some vehicles in a desert environment he wanted to prove the existence of weapons of mass destruction and the necessity for war against Iraq. Within the

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