For thousands of years, mankind made images without the intervention of equipment. From the oldest cave drawing of a wild boar in Indonesia, to the masterful portraits and landscapes of the great Dutch painters. The arrival of photography – early 19th century – brought a drastic change. With the camera obscure man could for the first time capture the image completely lifelike and – later on – print and reproduce it infinitely. Then there came cameras on the market for the general public, so suddenly everyone could be a photographer. Photography no longer captured only the newsworthy image, but also the personal, sometimes even insignificant, every day.
A huge stream of images started, which was accelerated by the arrival of the digital camera in the 1980’s. People could beautify or even manipulate images with the help of a photo editing program. The images were no longer a true-to-life reproduction, but a distorted and sometimes self-distorted picture of reality. There was a difference between taking a photo and making a photo. The camera in our mobile phones made that we never have to take a camera with us anymore and that photography can take place any time of the day.
An immense stream of images is the result, which we post endlessly on social media. Not only pictures we make of our surroundings, but also increasingly from ourselves. The average number of selfies that a person – born after 1980 – makes during his or her life is about 25,000. And the image we reflect of ourselves is often more beautiful, positive and stylized than our real self.
The appearance of the photographic image is central to the IMAGE domain. For example, by using photographic reproduction techniques or digital processes that enable hyper-idealized aesthetics.