Filter #8: The impact of photography

Since the invention of photography, the medium has in many ways changed our view of the world and influenced our self-perception, attitudes, understanding of history, political views, consumption patterns, and the way we conduct science and live our lives.

Family photographs, image platforms such as Instagram, Facebook or Pinterest, as well as anthropological and ethnological photographs have shaped our perception of 'us' and 'them, advertising and fashion photographs have influenced our taste and our desires, press photographs have given us information about events, wars and disasters far away, thus shaping our position to them, documentary photographs have spurred social reform and political movements, and iconic images such as the soldier jumping over the Berlin Wall in 1961 or the student standing in front of tanks in Tiananmen Square in 1989 have shaped our perception of history. With photography, criminology and science gained an indispensable tool for accurately retaining visual data, and technical innovations such as aerial photography, micro- and macrophotography have given science access to information we cannot perceive with the naked eye, which in turn has shaped our knowledge and view of the world around us. Most recently, the development of AI-generated photography has pushed the boundaries of how photography affects our perception of the world and our place in it from the realm of reality to the world of fantasy; from capturing what is in front of the camera's lens at a given moment – Barthes' famous 'it has been' – to, with a few keywords on Bing, Dall-E eller Midjourney, visualising everything we imagine.

In the upcoming issue of Filter, we will take a closer look at how photography in different ways has influenced history and not least our view of it, and how the medium still has a great influence on our perception of the world and our actions. How the medium has been used in advertising and fashion contexts, exploited for propaganda purposes, and consciously or unconsciously helped to spread a certain view of the world.

Suggestions for articles or portfolios that discuss the influence of photography on our self-understanding, perception of history and worldview in different ways should be sent to Proposals are examined on an ongoing basis.

Release date: January 2024.

About Filter

Established in 2007, Filter is the only photo journal in Scandinavia that investigates photography’s impact on how we live our lives, and how we make politics, science and art. The journal presents various types of photography (amateur, art, documentary, travel and scientific) and different approaches to the medium (photo theory, anthropology, art history, cultural theory, philosophy etc.), featuring both contemporary and historical photographic material. Each issue is centred on a theme. Themes so far are Photogenic, Space, Normal, Disappearances, Hybrid and Nordic Now! 

Editor-in-Chief: Camilla Kragelund