A photo a day – serious art or playing around?

Some people are against digital manipulation. They call it “photoshopping”. You post a photo on a forum and they comment “that is photoshopped” like you have lied in the photo.

Thos of you that know photographic culture and history will know that all images are subject to manipulation both prior to shooting, in camera and with post processing so that charge that something is “photoshopped” just misses this and assumes good photos are those where the camera has captured an index of the referent and no post processing has taken place.

There is also a similar a sort of charge made by critics against faux painterly representations like those offered by Adobe Elements. If you explore those contemporary artists in books like Susan Bright’s Art Photography Now you will see lots of different types of digital and photographic art – but no painterly representations. I thought about this fact when producing this photo of the day.

This is a photo shot in RAW with a Panasonic Camera, then processed in Lightroom and then in Adobe Elements using a filter. Clearly there is an index present – I chose to render the image in this way because Catherine commented on yesterday’s photo of the sunburst with all the colours refracted through the camera lens  that it was like light sculpture. Now many photographers paint with light explicitly but because this is a post processed image is its credibility as both an index and expression of what I want to present and do legitimate?

For me this image makes me think about the index and how and why its represented in this way. This leads me to think about fidelity to the referent, truthfulness and authenticity. What thoughts does the image evoke with you? Do you know of any serious artists or photographers that use the effect?


About Pete

South Londoner struggling with life, art and photography.
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