Lev Manovich
[Artist, theorist, and critic, b. 1960, Moscow, lives in New York.]

 Any unique image that you desire probably already exists on the internet or in some database... the problem today is no longer how to create the right image, but how to find an already existing one. 
 ... the reason we think that computer graphics technology has succeeded in faking reality is that we, over the course of the last hundred and fifty years, have come to accept the image of photography and film as reality. 
 The digital image annihilates photography while solidifying, glorifying and immortalizing the photographic. 
 We turn our own lives into an information archive by storing all our emails, SMS, digital photos, and other “digital traces” of our existence. 
 Once we came to accept the photographic image as reality, the way to its future simulation was open. 
 ... while in theory digital technology entails the flawless replication of data, its actual use in contemporary society is characterized by the loss of data, degradation, and noise; the noise which is even stronger than that of traditional photography. 
 Straight photography has always represented just one tradition of photography; it always coexisted with equally popular traditions where a photographic image was openly manipulated and was read as such. Equally, there never existed a single dominant way of reading photography; depending on the context the viewer could (and continue to) read photographs as representations of concrete events, or as illustrations which do not claim to correspond to events which have occurred. Digital technology does not subvert “normal” photography because “normal” photography never existed. 
 ... what is faked [by the computerization of image-making], of course, is not reality, but photographic reality, reality as seen by the camera lens. In other words, what computer graphics have (almost) achieved is not realism, but rather only photorealism—the ability to fake not our perceptual and bodily experience of reality but only its photographic image. 
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