This picture is one that is “accessible only to the lens” and “not to the human eye” (Benjamin 103) as Benjamin describes in his essay. It is a zoom onto somebody’s face, closer than a human would be able to see but still a replication of something true and existing. Therefore, this photograph shows the capabilities of technological reproduction and how it can achieve what manual labour cannot, though it is doubtful that you would call this undefined blur an artwork.

The photograph’s role as a technological reproduction is also apparent through its existence as a digital image, existing on a computer screen rather than in the flesh of the person originally photographed. It could not exist without technology: without the digital camera that originally took the photograph and the computer on which it was uploaded and without which it could not be seen. However, by placing it on the computer, by preserving it as this one image with no context in place and time, the “here and now” of the photograph is lost. It is divorced from its origin and therefore, as Benjamin describes, it loses its aura and authenticity. We cannot know how this photograph is reliant on its history and tradition, because technological reproduction has separated it from us. Without further knowledge, it appears to be just a blur.


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