Lisa Andergassen

Lisa Andergassen (born 1980) studied Media Studies and Photography in Vienna and Potsdam. She currently holds a Ph.D. fellowship at the University of Applied Sciences Potsdam and was an associated member of the Research Training Centre “Visibility and Visualisation – Hybrid Forms of Pictorial Knowledge“. She teaches classes on photography history and theory as well as porn studies and works as a freelance journalist for FUTURZWEI. Stiftung Zukunftsfähigkeit. Her research focuses on digital photography’s reality-effects.

Increase in the ways to detect digital photo-manipulation puts digital forensics in the position of re-establishing “reality” as a referential point by tracing every step of the process of alteration, turning the dubitative image into one that is doubt-free once its metadata has been analysed.

Photography traditionally generates a truth-claim, while at the same time undermining it by holding the potential of being altered or staged. Since the rise of digital techniques, we are facing different (and easier) ways to manipulate pictures, leading to the notion of the digital photograph as generally mutable and therefore not trustworthy. But as there have been more and easier ways to “manipulate” photographs, so has there been an increase in the ways to detect them. Which today puts digital forensics in the position of re-establishing “reality” as a referential point by tracing every step of the process of alteration, turning the dubitative image into one that is doubt-free once its metadata has been analysed. But is this the whole story? By addressing digital forensic practices that have been used within the investigation of the Abu Ghraib torture scandal, I am showing that the hidden narrative of photographic production can be dug up by using forensic methods, but not without creating a new narrative.

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