Ritchin continues by prophecizing that that one day we will be able to artificially create photographs, from DNA and other various codes. Over eight years since his book was published, the author could have been referring to the hyper-realistic graphics of today’s computer games. In addition to this, augmented reality and virtual reality offer the viewer new ways of interacting with images.
Since Ritchin wrote this chapter, motorists and cyclists are also able to record every second of their journey, incase they need to make an insurance claim. Bystanders now act as photo-journalists instead of helping those in need, when witnessing a major incident.
As digital technologies develop, Ritchin envisages photographers being referred to as communicators. Their images will co-exist amongst a collection of tags and links, to communicate a specific message, or messages.
With more and more people taking photographs, there are numerous ways that a subject is depicted. Previously, a single photograph may had been accepted as proof or evidence of a particular event. However, with literally so many differing points of view, it can be difficult to determine what is true and what is ‘fake news’. To illustrate this, Ritchin referred to the US invasion of Haiti in 1994, whereby a second photograph revealed that the soldiers lying down in front of their helicopter, were pointing their weapons at a handful of photographers. The photo opportunity had been staged.
Election campaigns are high stakes events where the image and the message conveyed need to be carefully managed. A tightly cropped shot could convey a completely different message, if the photographer selected a wide angle view of the scene.
Sky News reporter, Niall Paterson, stumbled across one such occasion, in a warehouse during David Cameron’s 2015 campaign. The first photograph shows the Prime Minister surrounded by his loyal supporters. The tightly cropped composition gives the impression that there are more people out of shot, suggesting a high turn out and amplifying the support that the Tory Party have. It is also difficult to determine where this photograph has been taken. From the small portion of the background, it could be a stadium of concert hall. Once again, this would suggest a large audience.