In photographic circles there is much debate as to what constitutes a photograph.
Indeed, when I went to the New Orleans Museum of Art, it was to see an exhibition entitled “What is a photograph?” (If you click on the link, you can browse some of the images from that exhibition on the Museum’s Flickr site).
The curator(s) of that exhibition were more open to new possibilities than many who debate the topic locally. The word means drawing with light. Nowhere is it engraved on tablets of silver or blocks of gelatin that such a drawing must be accomplished using a camera only, and with a single exposure taken at a particular moment in time.
Nevertheless, there are many who are quite precious about requiring a photograph to be the picture exactly as it was seen through the lens at the moment the shutter was opened.
Frankly I don’t understand it. I can think of no other graphic art form whose followers are so intolerant of an image being constructed in several stages. So let me add yet another “bah humbug!” zone.
I have no qualms about using “post-processing” techniques to produce images. Is it cheating? It would be if I were using the image in a way that attempted to misrepresent a constructed scenario as an experienced reality. There are many examples in which people use Photoshop™ to insert impossible or improbable elements … a giant shark leaping out of the water attempting to devour a helicopter, for example.
On the other hand, if the sole purpose of the exercise is to create a pleasing image, then as long as it is original, how it is achieved should be nobody’s business but the artist’s. I have friends who are painters. Nobody challenges them as to the processes by which the finished image was made, so why this strange double standard?
All of this came from musing on my remark in yesterday’s post “it is very difficult to do a straight shot of a flower and achieve any kind of wow factor in photographic circles” … I wondered what could I do with a single flower? An orchid was extracted from the bouquet, and several macro images were made with different backgrounds. Then, using Photoshop™, I added some radial blur to the background, and inverted the colours.
It won’t win any prizes. It doesn’t purport to represent a new kind of flower.
I find it interesting, and had fun making it. So there!