hyperreality; photography; simulacra; images; aesthetics; philosophy


The intent of this thesis is to examine Jean Baudrillard’s theory of the image in both historical and philosophical terms and propose that his understanding of the image as disconnected from any sort of objective reality is an important starting point for further discussion of the photographic image. This thesis seeks to answer the question – how does Baudrillard’s theory of the photographic image shape our contemporary understanding of images, and what are the implications of his removal of the referent to reality within photographic images on mass culture, society, and the current state of image creation? This paper seeks to investigate Jean Baudrillard’s philosophy of the image and how it can be applied to various contemporary movements in photography and image generation, ultimately working towards an understanding of the photographic image as a gateway into subjective mystery rather than a confirmation of the existence or proof of an objective reality. With specific reference to the Baudrillardian ontology of the image and Baudrillard’s discussion of the disconnection between images and reality, this paper also seeks to apply Baudrillard’s severance of the referent to reality in photographic images to the contemporary state of images and discuss the alienating effect this removal has on mass culture and politics, ultimately calling for a renewal of a Baudrillardian view of the image in discussions about the image’s reality.

Thesis Completion Year


Thesis Completion Semester


Thesis Chair

Janz, Bruce


College of Arts and Humanities



Thesis Discipline




Access Status

Open Access

Length of Campus Access


Campus Location

Orlando (Main) Campus