Willie Burton

Journal

Photography and The Post-Truth Age of information

"Want to resist the post-truth age? Learn to analyze photos like an expert would"

Written by

Nicole Dahmen, Assistant Professor of Visual Communication, University of Oregon

Don Heider, Dean of the School of Communication, Loyola University Chicago


It’s bizarre that an article like this has to be written explaining step-by-step on how to basically use, what I assumed was, common sense. Even before the internet and the ability for anyone to directly publish their thoughts to the masses, these guidelines still remained true. It still leaves me flabbergasted every time I read something similar. I agree that in this “post-truth” age every bit of information should be thoroughly cross-checked with multiple sources. Keeping in mind the gain one could make by releasing specific information and questioning their motives. It interesting how photography was once thought to be equivalent to the truth. Especially today when typically every image we encounter throughout 24 hours has been manipulated in some fashion. Whether it’s as drastic as cropping out a whole empty crowd or advertising making fast food options appear more appealing than they actually are. You can compare the growth of photography to humans. In the beginning it started off innocent like a child but is now heavily abstracted and constantly manipulated. Photography is now in its teenage years. Occasionally it’s truthful but majority of the time it’s telling a lie. Knowing how to analyze images is critical to our society. Articles like these are necessary for individuals who may not be aware of how easily information can manipulated. A question I always struggle with giving a definite answer to is, can photography be used as a tool for learning? It’s always a yes and no answer. It seems that won’t ever change.
- Willie Burton
Willie Burton