Images—always tell the truth?

Ch 1 of Sturken & Cartwright’s book— Practices of Looking: An Introduction to Visual Culture

We are inundated with images. Images that we take at face value. Images that manipulate.

Cliches integral to our society—

  • A picture is worth 1000 words
  • What you see is what you get

In our society we consider an image to be synonymous with the truth. A picture captures the actual situation right? What could be better proof of the actual events that transpired than an image?

This sort of paradigm is how images manipulate the common man on a daily basis. An image is thought of similar to a statistic—as concrete evidence. However, the idea of a statistic or image as concrete evidence is a misconception ingrained within our society.

Statistics should only be accepted after careful scrutiny and analytics. Damned Lies and Statistics by Joel Best articulates this argument well.

Our culture is replete with images meant to entertain by confusing the audience.



The dog is definitely not riding on a train. There is definitely not a tiny man riding on a woman’s back. And these brides are definitely not that short.

These pictures are designed to entertain and maybe confusing with just a glance. Although after gazing at them for more than 5 seconds, it becomes glaringly obvious that the pictures were manipulated to create an illusion.

Do these pictures depict the “truth” or actual events? Common sense tells us no. This would lead us to believe that any picture could be manipulated–and infact that vast majority of pictures are manipulated with some sort of photo editing software.

gimp_logo logo picasa-logo pixelmator_logo_s1


These are just a few of thousands of versions of photo editing software available


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