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Picture Perfect

Life in the Age of the Photo Op

Kiku Adatto

Publication Year: 2008

We say the camera doesn't lie, but we also know that pictures distort and deceive. In Picture Perfect, Kiku Adatto brilliantly examines the use and abuse of images today. Ranging from family albums to Facebook, political campaigns to popular movies, images of war to pictures of protest. Adatto reveals how the line between the person and the pose, the real and the fake, news and entertainment is increasingly blurred. New technologies make it easier than ever to capture, manipulate, and spread images. But even in the age of the Internet, we still seek authentic pictures and believe in the camera's promise to document, witness, and interpret our lives.

Published by: Princeton University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-vi


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-xii

...fascination with image making in politics and the movies, in everyday life and on television, in popular culture and art photography from the 1960s through the early 90s. Given the dramatic changes brought by the Internet and the digital revolution, I was eager to take a fresh look at the media landscape...

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INTRODUCTION: The Age of the Photo Op

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pp. 1-40

...Bush emerged from the plane in a flight suit and helmet, strode across the deck, shook hands, posed for pictures with members of the crew, and then watched a dramatic flyover by F-18 fighter jets. Later, in suit and tie, with a big banner proclaiming “Mission Accomplished” in the background, Bush stood before...

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CHAPTER 1: Picture Perfect

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pp. 41-66

...Just before noon on March 8, 1839, Louis-Jacques-Mande´ Daguerre, a French painter and inventor, traveled through the streets of Paris to an appointment with a visitor from America. For over seventeen years, Daguerre had been the proprietor of one of the most popular spectacles in Paris, a theater of illusions called the Diorama. No actors performed in...

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CHAPTER 2: Photo-Op Politics

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pp. 67-105

...Standing before a campaign rally in Pennsylvania in October 1968, the Democratic vice presidential candidate Edmund Muskie tried to speak, but a group of antiwar protesters drowned him out. Muskie offered the hecklers a deal. He would give the platform to one of their representatives if he could then speak without interruption...

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CHAPTER 3: Contesting Control of the Picture

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pp. 106-140

...Wheatley viewed the turn to photo-op coverage in the 1970s and 1980s as an attempt by reporters to reveal the campaigns’ manipulation of images for television. Given the traditional obligation to report what happened on the campaign trail, the networks found themselves reporting constantly on their own...

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CHAPTER 4: Exposed Images

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pp. 141-186

...Instead of the traditional dignified pose, readers of the paper saw the trappings of a photo session laid bare: the justices are viewed from a distance, framed by a large curtained backdrop in a room that has been rearranged and lit for the camera. They are caught unaware in the act of posing. Almost a decade...

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CHAPTER 5: Mythic Pictures and Movie Heroes

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pp. 187-242

...By most accounts, 1968 was a year of unraveling certitude and faith. Thousands of American soldiers had been killed or wounded in Vietnam. Thousands more returned home to a nation that did not recognize them as heroes. The Tet Offensive gave the lie to the government’s confident promise of victory...

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CHAPTER 6: The Person and the Pose

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pp. 243-262

...Today we are aware, as never before, of the artifice that constitutes the pose. We are as fascinated by how images are made as we are by what they mean. In popular culture, politics, and everyday life we have elevated the image-making process to a subject in its own right. In some moods we are connoisseurs of the slickly produced image, whether in political ads, celebrity photos...


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pp. 263-278


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pp. 279-290

E-ISBN-13: 9781400824557
E-ISBN-10: 1400824559
Print-ISBN-13: 9780691124407
Print-ISBN-10: 069112440X

Page Count: 288
Publication Year: 2008

Edition: New Edition