When you thumb through your favorite magazine, how many images do you see that you assume have not been highly processed through technology? More than likely your answer is none. The truth is that retouching images using digital tools has been the name of the photography game for the past several years. In many cases, photos all over the media do not reflect anything that is real or “organic,” but rather what is fanciful and ideal. These qualities are not necessarily bad, but in some ways have lessened the value of raw, genuine photography. But all this is changing.
Photographers who have leaned heavily upon digital tools for the past few years are beginning to gravitate back toward totally or partially un-retouched images. Post-processing techniques that have been majorly employed by photographers are now becoming more and more shunned as artists seek to bring photography back to its roots. But among all of these changes, there is something to remember: there is nothing intrinsically wrong with utilizing technology in photography.
The problem was never in the technology (the post-processing techniques, digitalization, etc.) used to enhance images. David Allen Brandt, commercial photographer, commented, “The problem was that the images themselves, the backbone of the art presented, weren’t great to begin with.” So the issue is not that the technology used to transform images is “un-artistic” or negative. Rather, the core of a piece of photographic art (the photograph itself) needs to be high quality before post-processing techniques are used. Technology shouldn’t be the means a photographer uses to ensure an image is artful; it is more appropriate for it to be used to enhance an already-excellent photo.
As mentioned, photography is returning to its origins. It is mainly making this journey via photographers/artists who are choosing to allow “raw” images to be a primary source of art. These artists view image processing tools as just that: tools. Rather than counting on those tools to make an image into a quality piece of art, these photographers are taking artful images and making them better by using post-processing techniques and other technological helps. Amazing teachers are also shaping this next generation of artists by teaching photography techniques that do not emphasize digital manipulation.
Note: The image represented in this post does not belong to Segmation; it was found at http://www.photography.ca/blog/tag/lens/.
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Excellent post! Maybe that is why I love looking at old black and white photos taken back in the 1940’s.
Excellent Article! I couldn’t agree more