In Our Own Image

Series: Aperture Ideas

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Twenty years ago, before the era of digital cameras, cell phones, Photoshop, and the World Wide Web, Fred Ritchin presciently outlined many of the ways in which the digital age would transform society. His groundbreaking book, In Our Own Image , the first to address the coming revolution in photography, asked pointed and sometimes chilling questions that are increasingly relevant today, including whether democracy can survive the erosion of media accelerated by facile use of digital means. By the time a second edition was published in 1999, many of Ritchins predictions had come true: computer embellishment of imagery had become a staple in the media and, given the widespread use of graphic software, had significantly diminished photographys special role as a credible witness: Newsday had published the first future news photograph of two feuding ice skaters as they would meet the next day, and on its cover, Time magazine darkened and blurred an image of the celebrity O. J. Simpson in order to lift a common police mug shot to the level of art, with no sacrifice to truth. Aperture is pleased to reissue this seminal text, which has continued to shape the debate about digital imaging since its initial publication. This twentieth anniversary edition features a preface by the author that contextualizes the book for a contemporary audience.