This chapter describes how authenticity is typically associated with being realistic, genuine, and true to the essence of something. The concept of authenticity also applies to the visual field, where it can be defined very loosely as any image that lays claim to a privileged, transparent relationship to its object of representation. Visual authenticity can be based on picture-immanent features, but it is more often contextual, drawing its power from the myths surrounding the individual images or types of images or from the “performed” integrity of the image producer. The concept of authenticity is, however, notoriously slippery. Notions of the authentic self, the authentic self-narrative, and the authentic image are always inevitably socially constructed and deeply evaluative.
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