The Image World

The Image World has been presented in many forms, in this afternoon’s keynote lecture, but what are my feelings on it?  Is a copy better than the original?  Does art imitate life, or life imitate art?  Can a list of binary code – i.e. a digital image – be seen as an image?  Is the Mona Lisa smiling or has she just done something sneaky?  Tricky questions (apart from the last, definately something sneaky).  

Firstly, I guess the discussion comes down to what is an image?  An image, for me anyway, is a representation of something worth recording; although obviously, what I deem worth recording, may not be what someone else deems worth recording.  I think this was the crux of the lecture, showing that an image can only be a representation of something; whether this is the original image – the original Mona Lisa painting in the Louvre – or a copy of an image – a postcard with the Mona Lisa on.  Who knows, however, if the Mona Lisa painting is the original?  Perhaps it was the third version of it, as the first two just lacked that certain something.  Maybe then, this is it, that an image is simply a version of something, whether it is an ‘original’ painting, or the tenth photocopy of a page from a magazine, doing an article of that painting – they are all versions of the same image.  They have just gone through different processes to show the original scene, the image was trying to represent.  The only true image, can surely be what our eyes take in and send to the brain.  Can this be right?  What if the viewer is colour blind?  The image they see, (in real life), would be massively different to the person next them who has poor eyesight and sees something blurry, to the person who has ‘perfect’ vision.  There cannot be then, any perfect image, only representations, versions, facsimiles, or interpretations of an image.  The Image World is full of lies, but they are the best lies we have to work with.

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