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Themesicon: navigation pathPhoto/Byteicon: navigation pathEditorial
Susanne Holschbach


The oldest in the succession of new media, photography, continues to maintain a central position—both in the field of art as well as in the sphere of mass media. This is why its technological conversion from analog to digital, which began over 20 years ago, triggered off a fierce debate amongst photography experts and media theorists. There was talk of a ‹photographic revolution,› the ‹death of photography,› of the ‹dawn of the post-photographic age.› The emotional charge of this debate clearly shows that this is more than just an issue concerning the simple substitution of one technical process by another: With the arrival of chemo-optical photography, the values and myths of the photographic itself also seemed to be at stake—in particular the ‹promise› of not only being able to represent reality, but also of being able to verify it. In the meantime, this technical transformation has permeated our everyday lives. More digital than analog cameras are already being sold in the consumer area; major photographic processing laboratories are being closed down or are converting to prints from digital data; the advance into the area of mega-pixels is also making digital


photography relevant for professional photographers. The examination of questions of technical detail, such as e.g. the securing of electronic image databases or the standardization of storage formats for the so-called ‹raw data› of a digital photograph, are replacing speculations over the social consequences of this media upheaval.

The thematic module «Photo/Byte» starts out from the fact that photographic practice has already changed, which the individual contributions will illustrate using concrete examples. The artistic sphere as well as the private, journalistic and archival working methods of photography will be examined. Following the subsiding of the first wave of agitation over the disappearance of analog photography, the aim is to enable a temperate interim appraisal of the significance of photography as art and as a medium under the sign of the digital. The advantage of digital over analog photography lies in its ability to be connected to interlinked electronic media: Digital photographs can be processed directly on the computer and distributed via the Internet. Once they have been integrated into the graphical interface of

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