Photography is especially useful as a tool of control because its images mimic reality in a way that few other media can emulate. A photo is by nature a representation of reality. It is a subjective recording, because the one taking the photograph chooses the frame, but it is also objective because it shows the real objects and environment. The public is aware of this fact, which conditions their expectations. We expect a photograph to depict reality more accurately (in the strictest sense of the word) than a painting, for instance. In but an instant, a photo is taken of a subject, whereas a painting may take years, allowing ample time for the modification of the subject, both in reality and in the painter’s mind.
Although the public is also aware of the use of tools like Photoshop to deceive, catching such trickery is often difficult, especially when the skill level of the author is high. We are moving to an age where it is becoming increasingly difficult to discern imagination from reality, especially with the ever closer integration of the virtual and the real. A more highly-developed skillset is necessary to find the nuggets of truth amongst the silt of falsehood. Now, more than ever, the victims are the ignorant.