Philosophy of the Arts

Kritische theorie

Scruton and Privacy Law

The difference between photography and representation is brought by zooming in on another peculiarity of the vistas through windows and in mirrors. Photos, mirrors, and windows all prove that what is seen in or through them is real, really existant. And they prove this either by the polymodality of their perception (mirrors and windows), or the causal nature of their originating process (photography). In journalism, paintings play no role.
Drawings and paintings are only used in journalism when existential proof is viewed as tempering with the pricacy of the subject, the suspect: courtroom pictures give an impression, but prove nothing. In Scruton’s terms: a view on the subject is presented. And, yes, that is all we get, in this case.
Privacy protection in light of photography, could be understood in terms of Benjamin’s analysis (the decay of aura on account of technological reproduction), and a correllary of Scruton’s thesis of photography’s inherent pornographic nature. The corrollary: we think we can consume the photographed, and this destroys his/its authenticity, aura.

Benjamin, Walter. 2000. “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.” In The Continental Aesthetics Reader, edited by Clive Cazeaux, 322–343. London and New York: Routledge.
Currie, Gregory. 1998. “The Aesthetics of Photography.” In Image and Mind, 72–74. Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press.
Scruton, Roger. 1983. “Photography and Representation.” In The Aesthetic Understanding: Essays in the Philosophy of Art and Culture, 102–126. London, New York: Methuen.

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