Re-Imaging War: Internet Memes based on War Photography as an Act of Resistance against Visual Manipulation
Dr. phil. Silvia Herb
Starting from the assumption that the visual construction of pictures depends on the emotional impact they are supposed to elicit, historic examples will be used to develop three categories of war photography - images of avoidance, horror and triumph. Against this backdrop, Internet memes based on war photography will be discussed as a way of commenting the intended emotional manipulation – fending, ridiculing or transforming it. Using the three-dimensional model proposed by Shifman to analyze the meme based on the so-called “situation room photo”, it is shown that meme items strive to expose and subvert the original visual strategy in order to deflect its manipulative intentions. In conclusion it is proposed that critical meme contributions can be regarded as a technically advanced derivative of political caricature, sharing the same basic technique (visual depiction), means (exaggeration) and ends (satire).
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