This is how I saw it - the New Photographer
Artist newspaper #3, about the future images of political events and their perception with 23 images, an essay and design by Bernd Arnold. Newspaper print, 38x29cm, 52 pages, only German language, February 2022, Cologne.
This is how I saw it (So habe ich es gesehen) - Digital composition in the representation of political events.
The images show the new photography as an imitation of photojournalism in the future digital era. In the course of the digital era, the perception of photography as a document/time capsule will continue to disappear, as the analogue image carrier has been replaced by digital data sets that can be changed at any time.
Photojournalism are based on the old promise that the imaged trace of reflected light was transmitted almost unchanged onto an analogue image carrier. With a digital image carrier, the promise of an actually imaged trace cannot be kept in the long run.
At first glance, the pictures of the German election rallies show nothing special and one assumes nothing serious about them. The harmlessness of the reality depicted lets the viewer's guard down and at the same time the impression of an authentic photojournalistic documentary truth grows. The interpretations of the sceneries are open and can be used in a variety of ways in the photojournalistic context.
BUT: The scenes did not exist in this way. Objects and subjects are composed of different time levels in the course of the events here. Nothing in these pictures is as it seems and even opposite contents. Or in other words: they are imitations of photographs.
The series and the essay gives a critical outlook on a possible future photography of political events and reveals the far-reaching change in the perception of photojournalism. The essential question of the future will be how much of the imaged trace of reflected light is actually still present in the images and who has the power over the data?
In 1988 my theoretical work on the future digital "photojournalism" was written, which served here as the basis for the practical implementation that began in 2019 and the written essay of 2021 is part of the cycle DIGITALIS.
(Selection of pages)
Addendum of March 12, 2022
About the horrors of war and the vulnerability of information
With Russia's war on Ukraine since Feb. 24, 2022, the horrors of World War II with Hitler's dictatorship, but also Stalin's dictatorship, have come to the present.
Russia has now shut down all critical media, as well as Twitter, Facebook and probably Instagram. Only the state media can now distribute news, and this inevitably reinforces the Russian fake industry in a way that has never been seen before.
The explanations of my photo series completed at the end of 2021 and the essay "This is how I saw it" (in terms of content about the transition of analogue photography into the digital age of photography) is caught up by the current war and its effects faster than I ever expected. With the digital turn of the times, dictators now possess tools for disinformation never before available to such perfection. With the crushing of free media and the consequent elimination of a flow of uncontrolled information, Russia now has every opportunity for deepfakes. In addition, there is the limitation and control of energy, which, as is now proving to be the case, cannot be taken for granted and always depends on the political circumstances at the time. What does this mean for visual image production and authenticity of visual material when electricity is not available, RAW files are not accessible, or access to electricity and thus digital information is under the control of a dictatorship?
As much as I appreciate the possibilities of digital image production in photojournalism, it shows how vulnerable digital data is to falsification in an autocratic society.
There must be clear divisions between fact, opinion and fake. As long as journalistic media do not distinguish this clearly and unambiguously, it will become increasingly difficult to protect democracies from autocracies.