Loss of Light: The Long Shadow of Photography in the Digital Age

Jeannene M. Przyblyski

in The Oxford Handbook of Film and Media Studies

Published in print September 2008 | ISBN: 9780195175967
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

 Loss of Light: The Long Shadow of Photography in the Digital Age

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This article discusses the constant presence of photography in the digital age. It determines the reasons why photography is still needed in modern culture and presents a detailed discussion of the history of photography. It begins with a section on the two individuals credited for the invention of photography: William Henry Fox Talbot, and Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre. It then looks at the early commercial applications of photography, such as portraiture and a tool for disciplinary authority. It considers the possibility of the photograph as a historical document and how it became a privileged image of official record. The article concludes that while digital technology has quickly replaced the light-sensitive chemicals, it has failed to replace the ethical and cultural place of photography as a mode of truth telling, a way of knowing the world, and as a system of representation.

Keywords: photography; history; William Henry Fox Talbot; Louis Jacques Mandé Daguerre; early commercial applications; historical document; official record; digital technology

Article.  13046 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Film

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