'Authentication' and 'Representation' / by Lasma Poisa

In Camera Lucida (1980: 89) Roland Barthes states that 'In the Photograph, the power of authentication exceeds the power of representation'.

Barthes was saying that the power of the photograph is that it authenticates something, yet what it represents comes secondary. For example, questioning the truth of Cappa’s ‘Falling Soldier’ didn’t mean that people weren’t actually dying, but the preoccupation with the authenticity of the image portrays the complexity of photography as a medium. Picasso’s ‘Guernica’ depicted another war, yet this symbolic representation didn’t raise the same questions of the authenticity of the events it depicted.  

Personally, I am interested in the meaning of the photograph or what it represents, rather that the actuality or authenticity of the circumstances in which the photograph was taken. We live in a Post-Truth era where people still see photography as authentic despite knowing how easily images can be manipulated. This belief is exactly what recently has helped to spread fake news on the internet.

In my own practice, I chose representation over authentication and digitally manipulate images for greater aesthetic impact.