Photography and Belief
Text by David Levi Strauss
In this exploration of contemporary photography, David Levi Strauss questions the concept that “seeing is believing.”
Identifying a recent shift in the dominance of photography, Strauss looks at the power of the medium in the age of Photoshop, smartphones, and the internet, asking important questions about how we look and what we trust.
In the first ekphrasis title on photography, Strauss challenges the aura of believability and highlights the potential dangers around this status. He examines how images produced on cameras gradually gained an inordinate power to influence public opinion, prompt action, comfort and assuage, and direct or even create desire. How and why do we believe technical images the way we do?
Offering a poignant argument in the era of “deepfakes,” Strauss draws attention to new changes in the technology of seeing. Some uses of “technical images” are causing the connection between images and belief (between seeing and believing) to fray and pull apart. How is this shifting our relationship to images? Will this crisis in what we can believe come to threaten our very purchase on the real? This book is an inquiry into the history and future of our belief in images.