Since its invention in 1839, photography has served as a medium for documenting, understanding, and interpreting the world. It has radically contributed to the evolution of visual representation, in part by allowing for the documentation of a moment in time, and, because of its inherent reproducibility, by enabling the wide circulation and distribution of images—which has exploded with the advent of the Internet and social media platforms.

Photographs are forms of representation, shaped by a series of decisions made by the photographer. Moreover, the way we interpret a photograph is influenced not only by the photographer’s intention, but also by the ways in which a picture is produced, edited, and circulated. Photography has been used throughout history and into the present day as a tool for science and exploration; as a means of documenting people, places and events; of telling stories and recording histories; and as a mode of communication and critique in our increasingly visual culture. The medium is being continually reinvented and rethought, shaped as much by technological advances as it is by the ever-changing dialogues surrounding photography’s use.

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