They are all around us: our language is no longer merely phonetic – ahhh the 80’s! – it is that of the selfies and snapshots, taken at the speed of news tickers. For this is truly the Society of the Spectacle, and we, dear readers, are the subjects as well as the makers… Our hedonistic, self-centred, preoccupations have now displaced the “real” world from our minds.
Raymond Williams wrote of “image” in 1976:
“The earliest meaning of image in English was, from the 13th century, a physical figure or likeness… There is a deep tension between ideas of ‘copying’ and ideas of imagination and the imaginary… All these uses [of the word image] have been overtaken by a use of image in terms of publicity, which can be seen to depend on the earlier senses of conception or characteristic type but which in practice means ‘perceived reputation’, as in the commercial brand image or a politician’s concern with image. This is in effect a jargon term of commercial advertising and public relations. Its relevance has been increased by the growing importance of visual media such as television. The sense of image in literature and painting had already been developed to describe the basic units of composition in film. This technical sense in practice supports the commercial and manipulative processes of image as ‘perceived’ reputation or character. It is interesting that the implications of imagination and especially imaginary are kept well away form the 20th century use of image in advertising and politics.”
Image: La Vendetta del Toro by Jvdas Berra, February 2015