Have you ever thought about the power of images, and how in turn images can shape our thought. Me neither, but Errol Morris has in a recent article in the New York Times he examines the 'power of imagery' and goes on to talk about why we need to question the images we view. He finds that people will tend to believe what they see, even if it’s not true. Changing history can be as easy as changing the photo - either content, or simply the caption.
My dad always told me that the story in more powerful than man. There is no denying that this has been evident throughout history, colonial powers throughout time have doctored images, artefacts and scribes to make sure the story that lives on is in their favour.
Morris interviews Hany Farid, a Dartmouth professor and an expert on digital photography:
(Farid) “And even like this missile one. You start putting it out there and saying, “Oh look, this picture? It’s a fake. This picture? It’s a fake.” But you know what people remember? They don’t remember, “It’s a fake.” They remember the picture. And there are psychology studies, when you tell people that information is incorrect, they forget that it is incorrect. They only remember the misinformation. They forget the tag associated with it. They did these great studies, especially with older people. They give them information about health, Medicare, Medicaid, that kind of stuff. And they say, “this information that you heard? It’s wrong.” And what ends up happening is, that information gets ingrained into their brains, and even if they are subsequently told it’s wrong, they end up believing it.”