One theme commentators seem to agree on in the News International Hacking scandal is how old the 80 year-old Rupert Murdoch looked as he flew to fight a fire that threatens to engulf his whole organisation.
Yet astute students of the portrait photograph will point out that Rupert Murdoch’s news photos look pretty similar today as they did three weeks ago. The difference? Power. It’s the prejudice (in the neutral sense of that word) which we bring to the image and portrait photography in particular, and as Rupert Murdoch’s power and status diminishes we bring a different set of values to his image. Last week he was Dr. Evil in Austin Powers masterminding global media control and this week he is apparently a slightly shaky old man.
Likewise Adverblog have just posted a wonderfully wry video of the unveiling of a similar set of prejudices at the Amsterdam International Fashion Week. Cheap clothing store Zeeman masqueraded as a fake new brand, Frank (“new, refreshing and wearable fashion’) and only at the end of the catwalk show was it revealed to the audience that the clothes they were admiring over was in fact a cheap high street chain. The power of context is remarkable to behold.