A materialist documentary in the best sense of the word, An Image provides a fascinating contrast with the artist-and-model sessions in Rivette's recent La belle noiseuse. As in the Rivette film, many others besides the artist and the model are involved in the construction of the image, but here the others (many of them women) are visibly participating in its creation, and the ideological construction taking place is as evident as the various kinds of labor involved.
All of this is a conscious strategy to counter the tendency of commercial cinema and television which Farocki believes – following Adorno and Horkheimer's critique of the culture industry – presents the viewers with such an overwhelming flood of images that any reflection on their part becomes impossible.
An Image (83) by Farocki is elegant, articulate, and perfect as it is, witnessing a Playboy magazine photo shoot from set construction through awkward nude blocking to the perfectionism of banal image making. It’s a complete circuit in 25 minutes, thoroughly capturing an activity and culture without belaboring or reducing for the sake of an external expectation of time.