Thursday, March 27, 2008

Altered Images

'The decline of the church parallels the mass manufacture of cameras' - David Hockney. The church controlled images, then the media, now everybody does. In a brilliant report on Newsnight last night, Paul Mason showed Chinese strikers taking pictures with their phones. These were then disseminated to show others, against all their recent political experience, that strikes were possible. On the other hand, as Hockney says, Photoshop has convinced us that many, if not most, contemporary images are no more 'real' than Hillary's 'experience'. The image has been simultaneously freed and debauched. For every three steps the world takes forward, it takes three back. Or four.


  1. I'm an optimist. I think 2 and a half.

  2. The decline of the church parallels the mass manufacture of cameras

    Motion picture cameras, to be more accurate. I once had the opportunity to meditate on the parallel nature of church and cinema when I was in a hotel room overlooking Universal Studios in Los Angeles. As I looked at the hangar-like studio buildings, I thought about all the imaginary worlds and stories that were manufactured within their walls. Across the street from the studio was a Catholic church, with its large Roman dome. It struck me how the same was true of that building. The church was a "studio" for the re-enactment of the divine drama, which was also a human drama.

    At that moment it made sense to me why the Puritans had banned the theater. It was competition.