Tagg, John (1988)“Evidence, Truth and Order: PhotographicRecords and the Growth of the State”.
The photograph, it seemed, could be: Manipulated And asMANIPULATIVE as any other form of representation.
Foucault! "There is no power relation without the correlative constitution of a field of knowledge, nor any knowledge that does not presuppose and constitute at the same time power relations" Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, Random House: New York, 1977. Power -> Knowledge -> “Truth”
! “Photography as such has as no identity. Its status as a technology varies with the power relations which invest it. Its nature as a practice depends on the institutions and agents which define it and set it to work”. (Tagg, 1988: 63)
! “Like the state, the camera is never neutral… The representations it produces are highly coded, and the power it wields is not of the camera but the power of the apparatuses of the local state which deploy it and guarantee the authority of the images it constructs to stand as evidence or to register as truth” (Tagg, 1988: 64). A machine is only as truthful as the hands that guide it…
Flag Raising on Iwo Jima, Feb 23rd 1945 By Joe Rosenthal
Sontag“bureaucratic cataloguing” Susan Sontag, On Photography, Farrar, Straus and Giroux: New York, 1977.
“Falsify Reality”! Photographs do not detail history, however they are to be studied as historical. It is in what they “do and do not do, in what they encompass and exclude” (Tagg, 1988: 65) that establishes them as a subjective truth and delivers an artificial order of life.
Ten years ago, an article in the magazine Whole Earth Review predicted: "the end of photography as evidence of anything!"
QuestionsFrom My Examples:Is there a clear-cut definition of documentaryphotography verses art photography,photojournalism, or propaganda?Does the fact that the FSA (Farm SecurityAdministration) was constructed as a governmentfunded program change these images fromdocumentary photography, art photography, orphotojournalism to propaganda?Can you think of any other examples wherephotographs were used as political propagandarather than representing the “truth”?
BibliographyTagg, John (1988), “Evidence, Truth and Order: Photographic Records and theGrowth of the State”, in John Tagg (1993) The Burden of Representation: Essays onPhotographies and Histories, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, pp. 60-65.Batchen, Geoffrey (1977), ‘Epitaph’ in Burning With Desire: The Conception ofPhotography, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, pp. 206-216.Sontag, Susan (1977) On Photography", Penguin, London.Foucault, Michel (1975). Discipline and Punish: the Birth of the Prison, New York:Random House.