Thursday, 28 November 2013

Censorship and the Truth

Notions of censorship and truth
The indexical qualities of photography in rendering truth
Photographic manipulation and the documentation of truth
Censorship in advertising
Censorship in art and photography

Ansel Adams

You can change the effect of a photograph by the techniques used in the dark room , they can convey a completely different meaning.

Ansel Adams, Moonrise Hernandes New Mexico, 1941 - 2

Ansel Adams, Moon over Half Dome, 1960

Ansel Adams, Aspens

Photography has been manipulated since its beginnings to portray a certain half truth, from people like the government.

‘Five years before coming to power in the 1917 October revolution, the Soviets established 
the newspaper Pravda.  For more than seven Decades,until the fall of Communism, Pravda
which Ironically means “truth”, served the Soviet Communist party by censoring and 
filtering the news presented to Russian and Eastern Europeans’
Aronson, E. and Pratkanis, A., 1992, Age of Propaganda: The Everyday Use and Abuse of
Persuasion, New York, Henry Holt & Co., pages 269 - 270

Kate Winslet on the cover of GQ with elongated legs created on photoshop
manipulation to sell

Robert Capa, Death of a Loyalist Soldier, 1936
The start of photo manipulation and changing the truth

‘At that time [World War II], I fervently believed just about everything I was exposed to in 
school and in the media.  For example, I knew that all Germans were evil and that all 
Japanese were sneaky and treacherous, while all white Americans were clean-cut, honest,
fair-minded, and trusting’
Elliot Aronson in Pratkanis and Aronson, (1992), Age of Propaganda, p. xii

Jean Baudillard 
the reflection of a basic reality 
masks perverts a basic reality
masks the abscence of a basic reality
bears no relation to reality whatever it its own simulacrum

Peter Turnley, The Unseen Gulf War, December 2002, at

They where not allowed to show certain images, it was censored, the truth was masked.

The "Mile of Death". During the night of the 25th of February and the day of the 26th of
February, 1991, Allied aircraft strafed and bombed a stretch of the Jahra Highway. A large 
convoy of Iraqis were trying to make a haste retreat back to Baghdad, as the Allied Forces 
retook Kuwait City. Many Iraqis were killed on this highway. Estimates vary on the precise 
number of Iraqis killed during the Gulf War. Very few images of Iraqi dead have been 
previously published 

Things where shown that where not shown in the popular media which makes it out like war 
is okay, it desensitises the details.

‘Most of the reporting that reached American audience and the west in general emanated
from the Pentagon, hence severely lacking balance, as proven by the total blackout on the 
magnitude of the devastation and death on the Iraqi side. A quick statement of the number 
of dead (centered around 100,000 thousands soldiers and 15,000 civilians) sufficed for main-
stream media audience. It is no wonder that this made-for-TV war started at 6:30pm EST on 
January 16, 1991, coinciding with National News. Alas, much of American audience today 
cannot distinguish between computer war games and real war, between news and 

The practice of policy of censoring films, letters or publications




… as the picture does not in fact depict fellatio, but something else, what the dispute comes
down to is whether everyone, a substantial number of people, a few obsessed individuals, 
or one particular person, understand it this way. Without an opinion poll, the dispute is
unresolvable, but it is really quite improbable that such an interpretation will be individual’

Cook, G. (1992), The Discourse of Advertising, London, Routledge, page 51

Oliverio Toscani , United Colours of Benetton, 1992

themes of questioning racism, the view on aids e.c.t

Benetton (UK) Ltd: The ASA deemed this 1991 poster to be a poor reflection on the advertising industry and ordered the advertisers not to repeat the approach.

Sophie Dahl, Opium advert, 2000
The orientation of the image deemed whether it was acceptable or not.

Amy Adler - The Folly of Defining 'Serious' Art
"an irreconcilable between legal rules and artistic practice"
who decides this ?

The Miller Test
asks three questions to determine whether work should be labelled as obscene

whether the 'average' person applying contemporary community standards would find that the work taken as a whole appeals to the prurient interest
whether the work depicts or describes in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct
whether the work, taken as a whole lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value

Obscenity Law
to protect art whilst prohibiting rubbish
the dividing line between speech and non speech 
the dividing line between prison and freedom

Sally Mann, 1984-92
photographs her own family 
is it damaging to the children
images are quite controversial 

Tierney Gearon 
controversial images of children

Nan Goldin , 1998

How much should we believe in the media ? 
Should we be protected from it ?

Who should be protected ? 

Should art sit out censorship law ?

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