I was just updating my instagram and looking back over the photos. I was thinking how images lie. Although sometimes you can tell they were taken from a van window, at times it looks like I was prancing across magical fields. Also, I only post photos I like, so one is seeing a selected view of what I have seen. This is not to say that my tour hasn’t been nice, or that I haven’t seen a great deal of amazing imagery. It is just that it gives one a false sense of my reality. They don’t capture how tired I have been at times, for instance.
We judge so many things these days by images. I have noticed an uptick in my blog stats once I started including more photos. An image can change our perception of a politician or a celebrity. Plus we watch shows that claim to be “reality”, when they are highly manipulative in their edits and are often even scripted. This is all old news.
Another example is the less outrageous travel shows. Heat, cold, and bugs don’t make their way into an image. Even if they are highlighted by what an image shows or by commentary we don’t feel them. We just see the scenery that the camera focuses on. We rarely see the really impoverished parts of a country on a travel show.
Also important in imagery is what is not in the photo. The politician smiles for the camera, but do we see the protesters in the crowd?
Again, these aren’t new ideas, but I believe they are important things to remember in our increasingly image focused society.