Introduction : the post-photographic age?

This is the introduction to the book.

The impact of digital technology on photography  was initially seen in the 1990s as a threat to, and a  undermining of,  the practical tradition of visual representation of the photographic. This was usually expressed in terms of the death of photography, the loss of the real, and the emergence of the post-photographic age.

This kind of understanding  signified both a sense of the displacement of photographic practice by the use of digital technology and a sense of epochal change in our visual culture. Digital imagery meant  new ways of seeing based on a freedom from the  inherent constraints of automatism and realism that tied the analogue photographer to being a mere recorder of reality--a mirror held up to the world. The duality between the photography and  the digital image  is stark and it is understood in terms of technological means of production. 

As the old technologies (film and chemicals)  of the photographic past  are seen as restrictive and impoverished, so the new digital technologies represent progress in our image culture:  the  post-photogprahic future is superior to the past. We have become more sophisticated and reflective as we move on from the  naive realism of the past through deconstructing the certainties of   the photographic era.