In general terms, all 'media' are abstract; the nature of image-making is a process of mediation and abstraction. Painting an image of hunted animals on the walls of a cave is an abstraction that human-kind has been engaged in for tens of thousands of years. Obviously, you can't eat the painting, since it's only plant dye scratched onto stone.

Yet images, and image-making, seem to hold a power over the human psyche that appears to be on a primal level; so deep that most can scarcely see the abstraction inherent in the process. When we watch a movie on TV, we don't see glowing electronic lights, but rather an abstracted, mentally projected series of images that is almost more real than reality itself, since it seems to come from inside ourselves.

I think therefore that image-making is one property of our species that seperates us from the rest of nature, whose ramifications have not yet been fully explored, despite the best attempts by writers and artists of all ilks.

The making of 'graven images' is something humans have been intimately engaged in since the species was new, it's just us photographers who like to pretend that these issues are all of recent vintage.

There's also something deeper in connection between the words 'image' and 'imagination' besides the obvious common linguistic roots; perhaps we have been falsely termed a 'tool making' species instead of the more obvious 'image making' species that we really seem to be.