Truth Value

In order to receive any attention from the news media, the profession of still photography has to do something that’s considered to be especially wild or overblown or shocking. Like having a thoroughly overpublicized but largely uncritical 150th birthday. Or having a show with pictures of naked children in it. Or being the subject of a book—Fred Ritchin’s In Our Own Image: The Coming Revolution in Photography (Aperture, 1990)—about how the truth value of photography Is now shot to hell forever because of new computer technologies that can seamlessly alter a photograph by adding people, or moving things around, all at the whim of some magazine editor or computer technician. In other words, photography has to find a “hot-button” issue if it’s to be considered significant enough to merit serious critical notice, not to mention noisy political attack.

Now the work Ritchin has done on the

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