World record paid  for a digital image :Rhine II  Andreas Gursky 

A digitally manipulated image by Andreas Gursky has sold for a record £2.7 million and I must confess I am a bit bewildered by it ! 
Its a minimalist image consisting of strong horizontal lines but any other elements that were originally in the  frame have been digitally removed. I personally find it cold and emotionless to look at. However Gursky's images are printed huge--this one is 80 x 140 inches--- and is probably better viewed as such rather than on a computer screen to appreciate the scale. Manipulation is frequently  used to enhance or alter reality but interestingly Gursky states "his  aim in using digital technology is not to create fictions but rather to heighten the image of something that exists in the world.  "  The   image could be of anywhere--a generic place--that symbolises the fictional truth Gursky wants his image to represent. What does his image tell us about the Rhine itself ? Not a lot as any elements that might provide clues to the exact  location have been removed. "Christie's  described it as "a dramatic and profound reflection on human existence and our  relationship to nature on the cusp of the 21st century".
 Looked at in that context the image makes quite a  bleak social comment, and must reflect what I feel is Gursky's rather pessimistic view of the world around him. Hence in hindsight a rather good example of how digital manipulation can be used to not only alter reality but be used to show a very personal viewpoint. I initially commented I found the image emotionless--is that what he wants me (the viewer) to see and feel, share his vision? It certainly worked.

Image Copyright © Andreas Gursky


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