Martha Rosler
[Artist, b. 1943, Brooklyn, New York, lives in New York.]

 The exposé, the compassion and outrage, of documentary fueled by the dedication to reform has shaded over into combinations of exoticism, tourism, voyeurism, psychologism and metaphysics, trophy hunting—and careerism. 
 Just going out on a foray to assemble a collection of street trophies about this or that running social sore can’t be effective—and never was. 
 The question at hand is the danger posed to truth by computer-manipulated photographic imagery. How do we approach this question in a period in which the veracity of even the straight, unmanipulated photograph has been under attack for a couple of decades. 
 Are we asserting the easy dominion of our civilization over all times and all places, as signs that we casually absorb as a form of loot? 
 Photography [can] be seen as a system of representation that you bring to bear on other systems. 
 Documentary testifies, finally, to the bravery or (dare we name it?) the manipulativeness and savvy of the photographer, who entered a situation of physical danger, social restrictedness, human decay, or combinations of these and saved us the trouble. 
 How useful are documentary photographs if there is no follow up, no way of knowing what happened next in the story? 
 Documentary photography has been much more comfortable in the company of moralism than wedded to a rhetoric or programme of revolutionary politics. 
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