A very large percentage of our brain is used for processing
visual information; that makes humans highly visual beings. What we
perceive from our senses, especially our sense of sight, transform into
meaningful representations of the world around us. For a large part
the saying “seeing is believing” goes a long way, as people
readily accept the image they see whether it is through their own eyes
or though a photograph. Photography enables us to “see”
and thus “experience” a wide range of experiences through
space and time without us having to physically be there.
Political systems (be they governments, corporations
or other organizations) control social systems by projecting their representation
of reality to the people. By doing this they propagate and establish
their version of accepted aesthetic systems. Image manipulation is an
invaluable tool for them – as they shape/distort/influence our
understanding of reality.
Images that enter a society have
the power to transform it. Those that manufacture the images have
the power to manipulate them as they fit to bring about desired
changes within the social system. Usually this shifts the balance
between ethics and aesthetics; resulting in a diversion, suppression
or cover up to keep the society from understanding the realities.