Porn-Politics

 

Porn-Politics, 2012

photography series, limited edition Hanemhüle photorag paper

A series on political personality cult. North Korean cult of its ruling family

 

all images ©KCNA Korean Central News Agency

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2012-05-25t122553-940W

 

The personality cult began soon after Kim Il Sung took power in 1948, and was greatly expanded after his death in 1994. The pervasiveness and extreme nature of North Korea's personality cult surpasses that of even Joseph Stalin or Mao Zedong and became an official ideology of the country.

Photo manipulation is as old as photography itself; contrary to the idea of a photo having inherent verisimilitude. Photo manipulation has been regularly used to deceive or persuade viewers, or for improved story-telling and self-expression. Oftentimes even subtle and discreet changes can have profound impacts on how we interpret or judge a photograph which is why learning when manipulation has occurred is important.

Joseph Stalin made use of photo retouching for propaganda purposes. On May 5, 1920 his predecessor Vladimir Lenin held a speech for Soviet troops that Leon Trotsky attended. Stalin had Trotsky retouched out of a photograph showing Trotsky in attendance. Nikolai Yezhov, an NKVD leader photographed alongside Stalin in at least one photograph, was edited out of the photograph after his execution in 1940. (For more information, see truth disapearing through retouched photos in Stalin's era and also the Censorship of images in the Soviet Union).

In the 1930s, John Heartfield used a type of photo manipulation known as the photomontage to critique Nazi propaganda. The pioneer among journalists distorting photographic images for news value was Bernarr Macfadden and his composograph in the mid-1920s.