Photography vs. Digital Artin Miscellaneous
By gypsyix/Meredith (504)
on March 2, 2002 1:03:40 PM CST
Photography vs. Digital Art
I once went to see the dolphins movie in the Imax theatre at the Museum of Natural History. It would have been great, but all through it I couldnt help but think, Those dolphins are fake! I was fairly convinced that the dolphins in the film were just realistic animation, and not actual underwater footage.
I left the theatre feeling cheated, that I had just spent my boyfriends hard-earned money to look at cartoon dolphins.
This is why digital art bothers me.
All through history there have been questions about what is art? Initially, no one though photography was art. Of course, that has changed. There are artists who try extremely hard to make their paintings/drawings/whatevers look like photos. There are photographers that try to make their photos look like paintings. And now there are digital artists who try to pass off their art as reality.
There is no argument over whether digital art is art. If it werent art, they would call it digital crap or digital pretty stuff depending on the image. The argument is over whether digital art is still photography.
How much manipulation is necessary before the photo is no longer a photo? Just today, I was looking at a calendar in my bosss office and admiring the beautiful photo of a castle. Wow, I thought to myself, what luck to snap the shot just as that bird was flying in just the right wait thats a fake bird! Its not even a photo-bird! Its a colored-pencil-bird! And that background is fake! The castle probably isnt even on the ocean!
Now, in this case, manipulation had turned this most-likely-blah-at-first photo into something that caught my attention. But is it still a photo when most of it had been altered? This type of manipulation could possibly have been done in the darkroom by a very skilled technician, and can be done quite easily in PhotoShop.
I am open to PhotoShop manipulation. I am open to looking at digital art. I am not open to being tricked. Should I find out that castle sits next to a forest, or an amusement park, instead of the ocean, I have been tricked. If dolphins do not actually swim in formation, much like synchronized swimmers, I have been tricked.
This is not exclusive to digital art. I was in a class in which a student hung up an amazing black and white photo of some type of spotted wildcat. The lighting was exquisite, the pose of the cat was perfect, and the overall composition was very pleasing. I had no sooner begun to gush about the photo when the photographer stated that he had taken the photo at a museum, the cat was stuffed. I had been tricked! The cat was not alive, it was not outside, it was a set up display, and this punk had merely snapped a shot of something that someone else had spent hours arranging.
I do not object to the use of PhotoShop. I use it every time I scan. I crop, I spot, I tweak the colors so that they match the original photo. I do not change the integrity of the original piece of art. But that's just me. I am not a digital artist. Computers are essential to the business of photography, as we all know, and I don't object to their use in promotion or creation of art.
I enjoy looking at digital art as much as any other type of art. I have respect for the artists that create it. I'm like the punk-rock guitarist that listens to jazz at home. What i like looking at, while it may influence my art to an extent, is not exactly what i produce.
I have gone though phases, and probably will again, of manipulating my images so that they're almost unrecognizeable as photos. It's fun, and I like to push the boundaries of my creativity in any way I can.
Part of the reason I've always been drawn to photography over other media of art is the element of realism. When I look at a photo, I would think to myself "that really existed, somewhere, somehow." I don't get that sense from a painting or a drawing. But now, I find myself always wondering "how much of that photo actually existed? And how much was created?"
There is a fine line between photography and digital art. But where do we draw that line? It depends on the type of photography. What's acceptable in fashion photography would not be acceptable in photojournalism. But what about "fine art?"
I had a class with a gentleman who digitally manipulated everything he did. At first, he would "age" them. He would add layers of deterioration, the original photographic image was still recognizeable, but the end product was obviously not a "straight photograph." By the end of the semester, he wasn't even starting out with a photo. He was scanning colors and textures, fabrics and garbage, and ending up with images that pretty much looked like the ones that began with photos. But none of them were actually photographs. They were digital art. They all had the same end result whether they started with a photo or not.
The point of all this ranting is that it is very necessary to let your audience know if the photo is being shown as is or psd. No one wants to be tricked. I want to see what I get.
I want to believe that behind that castle, in that ocean, there are dolphins swimming in formation.
Call me cynical, but I just cant.
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