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The Reconfigured Eye

Enhanced? Or faked? Today the very idea of photographic veracity is being radically challenged by the emerging technology of digital image manipulation and synthesis: photographs can now be altered at will in ways that are virtually undetectable, and photorealistic synthesized images are becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish from actual photographs. Continuing William Mitchell's investigations of how we understand, reason about, and use images, The Reconfigured Eye provides the first systematic, critical analysis of the digital imaging revolution. It describes the technology of the digital image in detail and looks closely at how it is changing the way we explore ideas, at its aesthetic potential, and at the way we explore ideas, at its aesthetic potential, and at the ethical questions it raises.
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About the Author

William J. Mitchell was the Alexander W. Dreyfoos, Jr., Professor of Architecture and Media Arts and Sciences and directed the Smart Cities research group at MIT's Media Lab.


In this first comprehensive and scholarly discussion of the topic, Mitchell (dean, School of Architecture and Planning, MIT) analyzes the ethical and legal implications of digital imaging technology, the aesthetic potential of the computer medium, the loss of the supposed veracity of the photographic image, and the future of photography as we know it. Warning that the certainties of camera-recorded fact must be left behind as we enter the ``post-photographic era,'' the author predicts the end of traditional film-based photography and its replacement by computer-captured and/or constructed images. His explanations of the technology involved are necessarily technical but are made fully accessible to lay readers through a discussion that is both readable and engaging. The two- and three-way juxtaposition of images show how meaning is affected in the altered version (e.g., imagine the appearance of Rambo at Yalta through the effective blending of images). High-quality illustrations and examples are taken from historical photographs and paintings, photojournalism, architecture, and collage art. Highly recommended.-- Kathleen Collins, New York Transit Museum Archives, Brooklyn

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