Postmortem and photography: the meaning of relationship between death and imagery in a contemporary hyperreal media landscape

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2022-07-04
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en
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Mankind is deeply affected by the reality of death, which has found its way into imagery. With the invention of photography during the 19th-century, imagery and death have gained a new intimacy that changed the truthfulness of the photograph and way people remembered others and interact with death, something that borders on the uncanny. Imagery and remembering moved from the mourning portrait to postmortem photography, where Photoshop, social media-platforms, and the phenomenon of the deep-fake video are typical for congregating with death. In the 20th-century, and before these recent changes, theorist Roland Barthes had examined the relationship between death and photography, and sociologist Jean Baudrillard wrote on rapid media developments fading reality and creating a postmodern hyperreality where the original is lost. These theories, along with Sigmund Freud’s theory on the feeling of Uncanny, applied to current case studies of photography, Photoshop, and death, will examine how photographic practices relate to death in past and contemporary society, their meanings, and what possible causes they may serve to people in this postmodern society.
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