Media, Cinema & Image

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Photographs and paintings certainly create an image. But again the essence of both these pieces of art varies from each other to a large extent. Images are indeed able to usurp reality because first of all a photograph is not only an image (as a painting is an image), an interpretation of the real; it is also a trace, some-thing directly stenciled off the real, like a footprint or a death mask. (Sontag, Pg 154). Personally to me, photographs are that piece of art, through which one can explore and see the world around us. It is an imagination of the photographer that he/she tries to capture using the camera as a tool. The photograph often reflects the inner dignity of the subject being photographed. If taken properly photographs can be exclusive in sharing one’s own personal experiences, that might bring ecstasy in the making and sharing with others. On the other hand, I think painting is the medium through which the artist tries to pen down his/her feelings and inner thoughts using a medium like a canvas or a paper.

In “Susan Sontag on Photography”, Susan talks about the relationship between photography and reality.  She says that photographs become an extension of the subject, which is distributed like images that become an act of classification. Today we see a lot of images and interpret them in many different ways. Modern world is the world of advertisements. These advertisements in the form of images stare at us from the public squares, daily papers, magazines etc..and we all interpret them in a different way. Sontag depicts the idea that images desensitize the real thing, as people’s perceptions are distorted by the construction of the photograph. She adds that the demand for photographs has not stopped and that she has impacted the audiences understanding of reality, as photographs have adapted to a form of surveillance<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Susan_Sontag#Books_and_articles_on_Susan_Sontag&gt;. Hence I would conclude by saying that the ‘image’ is the property of the audience.

Virilio highlights that there is no war without representation. As the war gets more scrupulous, it never breaks from the ‘pre-technical’ ideas of war as deception and illusion, spectacle and captivation. He argues that cinema fits perfectly when capturing the war machine as it ties together the cultural and economic strengths between the industries.According to Virilio cinema is just not mass production of images, pans and taking shots, zooming in and out, editing, etc. <http://mastersofmedia.hum.uva.nl/2008/03/10/notes-on-paul-virilios-war-and-cinema/>Today cinema is just not an extension of a stage-play, but also with the latest technology available the most fantastic scenes and happenings can be presented and even the limitations of time and space can be transcended. To me, cinema as a form of media is the only form that can serve an effective medium of demonstration. Hence I would conclude by saying that the ‘cinema’ is the property of the audience, media and culture tied together.

Finally, a spectacle is the public sphere we live in. Today media, an important means of communication, is a vast source of information that entertains people across the country. Its ability to mold thoughts and form opinions can make one count it as a governing force of sorts. The various impressions it leaves upon the human mind, the views and ideas it may propagate, affect people’s lifestyles, their way of thinking and being. Guy Debord says, “The spectacle is not a collection of images, but a social relation among people, mediated by images.”(DeBord p.4). A very good example I can think of, to explain this comment, is how different cultures, religions and societies have been spectacled by media in India over a period of years, especially to attract foreign visitors and tourists. Indian society has traditional socio-cultural standards and a spectacle is all one needs to make one see that world, clearly and demonstratively. Hence I would conclude by saying that ‘a spectacle’ is the property of the audience, media and culture, all tied together.

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2 Responses to “Media, Cinema & Image”

  1. christinatx Says:

    I like how you addressed Sontag’s comment about being desensitized through the inundation of mass produced images. This is where I think people contend that the real or authenticity is lost in the image. I also think that the vast interpretation as you mentioned also tie into a desensitized experience.

  2. There’s “spectacle in the property of an audience”– I like that. I think you are right that in the state of being a part of an audience, we are, in a way doing something that is not normal in our day-to-day functions. We’re fulfilling a special role with its own set of rules. Something I bet most people don’t think about as they’re sitting there facing a stage.

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