With the evolution of the political regimes, the image of a successful leader has shifted from an image of majesty to one of dignity, and later on to one of closeness and simplicity.
When one visits the rooms dedicated to Velásquez in the Museum of Prado, it is extraordinary how portraits of kings and those of jesters and peasants are laid side-by-side. The nobility and dignity given to the lower members of the court exemplifies an early example of a revolution in the politics of representation. In the antipodes of this example, we analyse how the campaign of the millionaire Michael Bloomberg to be the Democratic Candidate for the 2020 elections hired companies to produce nonsense memes and digital propaganda. Our hypothesis is that on the center of its strategy the goal was to create an image of Bloomberg that besides viral would be relatable and humorous. The article overviews the evolution of the portrait as an element of political of representation and reflects on how the development of modern and contemporary art transformed the art of political portraiture. Furthermore it deliberates on the two-way appropriation of representation techniques between art movements and political movements.
The visuality of the master is not motivated merely by the desire to stand out from the audience, but in a self-contradictory manner, it is premised on the audience acknowledging and providing photographic space to him.
India’s Independence from the colonial rule saw the nation’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru emerge as a powerful visual presence. At the peak of his popularity, in June 1955, he made a highly publicised 16-day visit to the USSR. This visit, made in the backdrop of the Cold War and the impending Big Four Conference, was covered in detail by the Indian and foreign press, as well as both government’s official photographers and camerapersons. Paper addresses an official album made after this iconic visit to investigate the role of photography within India-Soviet diplomatic networks. Casting Nehru as the Master persona, it delves into the function of photography in recasting his image as an international traveller, a crusader for peace, a negotiator, and a friend of the Soviet. Considering India’s and Soviet’s differing political stance and international position in that period, the article questions what does the presence of these official photographs reveal about emerging trans-national networks and if there were there any deviations in this careful reconstruction of the Master and his ally.
The power struggle that findom photography presents is actually just a hook, and the images do exactly what they set out to do. The free critic, by critiquing masculinity’s repetition and contrivance, is recruited into the performative duty of sustaining the eroto-economy.
Financial domination (findom) is a fetish practice in which a submissive derives erotic pleasure from sending money to a dominant or a cashmaster. Cashmasters produce photographs meant to elicit this desire in cashslaves, essentially arousing the desire to send money. This essay approaches this emergent genre of seemingly self-promotional photography as a genre of photographic performativity (Levin 2009). Rather than the desire to capture or represent (Batchen 1999), these images evidence a choreography of photographic performativity including both masters (as makers) and slaves (as viewers). Though the compliance with form and economic practice tempts the interpretation that masters are now slaves, this essay suggests that these images invite performances of domination, submission, and critique into wider performatives of arousal and elicitation. What critics and social analysts perceive as power (economic, erotic, or otherwise) are, in fact, desire at its seams, in the process of active and cooperative composition.
The visual propaganda of the Agrarian Reform project got influences from the rural sociology methodology, such as that followed by Fals Borda in Saucío in the 1950s, which focused on highlighting changes in the community, so that local and national spectators would construct an idea of what a modern peasant would look like and how they would behave.
Orlando Fals Borda, a renowned Colombian sociologist, who worked for both the academia and the government from the 1950s to 90s, wrote two works on Colombian peasantry and its relation with big landowners that were published with a selection of photographs of peasants, landowners, and grassroots movements. These works and their images have had an impact on the construction of peasant- and landowner visual icons in recent Colombian history, as they have been used in books, primers, and exhibitions since their creation, and they had a crucial influence on the visual propaganda of the Agrarian Reform project in Colombia. As a result of Fals’s fieldwork, there are two photograph collections kept at two institutions in Colombia that have organized and catalogued the images: The Central Bank in Montería and the National University in Bogotá. These institutions are prime creators of the visual memory of rural Colombia and I analyze Fals’s fieldwork as part of a jigsaw puzzle in which peasants, landowners, and intellectuals, like Fals, both consumed and created visual icons of land, rurality, and peasantry in Colombia’s recent history.
On the threshold of the birth of the mass consumer society, in late nineteenth century, photography had taken over not only the documentary account of the events, but, despite its more or less serious intentions, the visualization of the supernatural, increasingly inscribing it within the dense and effervescent fin-de-siècle spectacular landscape.
This paper is dedicated to the photographic coverage of the alleged miraculous apparitions, which occurred in the small French village of Tilly-sur-Seulles between 1896 and 1897. These photos, circulated as postcards and appearing in popular magazines of the time such as L’Illustration and Le Monde illustré, were presented – by virtue of the authority of the photographic as an indexical trace – as “authentic” testimonials of the supernatural events, though in fact neither recognized nor approved by the Catholic Church. These photographs used the already-known double exposure process of spirit photography, bringing these exotic visual materials into the tradition of religious “authentic fakes”. But more importantly, such images manifested the “visionary fervour” of late nineteenth-century France, that is, the growing desire of the modern crowd to see the invisible in more and more spectacular and convincing ways. Such a new spectatorial desire – that can also be found in the very successful genre of the photographs of the real bodies of mystics, saints, and seers – would be perfected by a whole series of contemporary forms and attractions, and finally, by cinematographic special effects.
Photographs are more than a sedimentation of image that sits on the world, referring to the world, a kind of shingle that lays on top. Rather, as real enfoldings of the virtual and actual, they are the territories of a multiplicity of sensations that are a genesis, the real actual of a diagrammatic structuring of the world in registers of time and space.
What is a photograph? What a spurious, redundant start! After all, a photograph is clearly an image, a technical image of something. What a photograph is – such a stupid question! Yet, the casual announcement of the photograph as signification relies on an a priori truth that orients our thinking, our identities, our institutions. For it is “in terms of this self-apparent image of thought that everybody knows and is presumed to know what it means to think.” Collaging Deleuze and Bergson, intuition teaches us that an image is a nexus of force in itself, or as Anne Sauvagnargues suggests, what is crucial to images is how they cut into the world. As real enfoldings of the virtual and actual, photographs are the territories of a multiplicity of sensations – a genesis, the real actual of a diagrammatic structuring of the world in registers of time and space. Roger Fenton’s The Queen’s Target made at Queen Victoria’s opening of the first Rifle Association in 1860 is an entry point to thinking deeper signalisation in photographs. While the 3-D work by Andreas Angelidakis indicates photogenetic zones of intensity, temporal dislodgment, and the event of photogenesis actualized in physical form.