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Understanding New Media

Extending Marshall McLuhan – Second Edition


Robert K. Logan

Marshall McLuhan made many predictions in his seminal 1964 publication, Understanding Media: Extensions of Man. Among them were his predictions that the Internet would become a «global village,» making us more interconnected than television; the closing of the gap between consumers and producers; the elimination of space and time as barriers to communication; and the melting of national borders. He is also famously remembered for coining the expression «the medium is the message.» These predictions form the genesis of this updated volume by Robert K. Logan, a friend and colleague who worked with McLuhan. In this second edition of Understanding New Media Logan expertly updates McLuhan’s Understanding Media to analyze the «new media» McLuhan foreshadowed and yet was never able to analyze or experience. The book is designed to reach a new generation of readers as well as appealing to scholars and students who are familiar with Understanding Media.
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Chapter 20. The Photograph


← 180 | 181 →

· 20 ·


Content and extension: The content of the photograph is an image produced by reflected light that falls into a camera onto a light-sensitive medium, originally a light-sensitive chemical film and now a light-sensitive digital medium in the case of the digital camera, and hence extends the eye. The photograph extends the eye and the narcissian mirror. Photography has largely gone digital so that the image can be viewed either on paper or on a computer monitor.

Cascade: The cascade is from the reflected light to a negative to a positive image on paper or a monitor.

LOM: The photograph enhances the visual moment, obsolesces portrait and landscape paintings and prints, retrieves the past visually, and reverses into the fake image through retouching and photo editing.

The digital camera, which overtook the sale of traditional film-based cameras in 2003, has changed the nature of photography for both the professional and the hobbyist. Instead of the light coming through the lens of the camera triggering a chemical process on light-sensitive film, the digital camera converts the light coming through the camera into magnetically stored pixels. This completely alters the processing, display, and storage of photographs. ← 181 | 182 → Instead of converting the negative of the exposed film into a positive the digital camera enables the user to immediately see the photograph just shot on the display of the digital camera, thus avoiding the costly process of...

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