Helnwein’s work in general, and "American Prayer" in particular, demonstrate the pertinent difference between illusion and illusionism that Mitchell has established. "Illusionism," Mitchell writes, "is something built into the very conditions of sentience and extends from areas of animal behaviour such as camouflage and mimicry right into trompe-l’oeil". Like the legendary bird pecking at Zeuxis’ painted grapes, human beings too can be fooled by copies. Camouflage in the animal kingdom, however, lacks intention: the ﬁsh may be tricked by the ﬂy that hooks it, but he will never create a fly. Cultural illusionisms, in contrast, are intentional and therefore fall into a different category. In contrast to illusion "as error, delusion, or false belief", Mitchell sees illusionism as "playing with illusions, the self-conscious exploitation of illusion as a cultural practice for social ends". Whatever these social ends - religious, political, or commercial - illusionism in Western art and popular culture has underpinned and furthered them. For this reason, illusionism requires a critical and historical analysis across the ﬁelds of art, popular culture, and technological inventions in representation. "American Prayer" provokes such an analysis of the most groundbreaking invention in illusionistic representation: the photograph.