Image and Reality

Image of Reality / Image not Reality: What is Photography?

By Fiona Loughnane

From family snapshots to police mugshots on the post office war, Loughnane observes how the photograph, because of its versatility and ubiquitous nature is difficult to “define and contain.”From smartphones to satellite imagery,  is  how does photography  mirror reality?   This question has been the subject of debate since the 1970s. Critic Susan Sontag, in her provocative book,  On Photography, observes, “Needing to have reality confirmed and experience enhanced by photographs is an aesthetic consumerism to which everyone is now addicted. Industrial societies turn their citizens into image-junkies; it is the most irresistible form of mental pollution.”


After reading Loughnane’s article, reflect on why “people invest in the belief that photography presents a reliable and truthful account of the world.” Provide examples that demonstrate how photography should be considered a reliable version of the truth.