Alejandro Escobar

The cheapness of images

I was reading Zygmunt Bauman’s book “Globalization”, and there he was referring to cheap communication. how the electronic means liberated information from its physical boundaries.

When reading this, it is easy to think about how digital media and especially social media present us with a collaged reality that clashes with our immediate reality, so our brains are constantly challenged in order to make sense of this chaotic expanded reality.

Cheap images
Made Cheap / Cheap made

One could say that there is always a cost associated with the creation of an image and that this cost could be expressed in time and effort (including learning curves), in the cost of materials used and involved in the creation process and even in resources involved (like tools and places).

One could also add that thanks to the means of reproduction, these costs are most likely to be divided between the copies created from an original (something very different happens with value) and this could allow you to make images cheap. Thinking about digital images allows concluding that they are even cheaper thanks to the means of replication and transport.

I guess that a very important fact to take into account is that today, more than ever, people are exposed to images; both digital and physical images have flooded our reality. One interesting thing about this is that, although images have become cheap, common and ephemeral,  they had also become a fundamental part of how we communicate and interact with each other.

What does this mean for a painter?

A paradox!