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On Photography in Late Capitalism: Reflections on the Vicissitudes of the Image from a Filipino Perspective

E. San Juan, Jr.


Ever since its invention at the outset of industrial capitalism in 19th-century Europe,photography has been used in the service of profit/capital accumulation worldwide.Appearances acquired saleable reality or marketable truth-value. The use of imagery andvarious forms of reproduction (film, advertising in TV, Internet, malls) subtends thedynamics of exchange-value in fixating human desires attuned to manipulated appearances.Can the critical analysis of photographic images help elucidate the mechanisms ofideology and the illusion industry for an emancipatory project? This essay seeks to enablea hypothetical inquiry into the magic of images with reference to the Philippine milieu,designed to be hopefully heuristic and propaedeutic.


capitalism; images; commodity; appearance; imperialism; colonialism

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13185/KK2013.02122