chapter  2
19 Pages

Crime, punishment and the force of photographic spectacle


When Susan Sontag first visited the Cathedral at Orvieto, she was disappointed. It was not as rich as the images she had seen in the architecture books. Likewise visitors to the Grand Canyon have been known to wonder why it falls short of the astonishing imagery available in the magazines and films. Daniel Boorstin imagined the response of a proud mother who was told that her baby is beautiful: ‘Oh that’s nothing – you should see his photograph!’ Boorstin, the first simulation theorist, was of course bemoaning our unwarranted attachment to the distractions and falsities of the image.