Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Is Photography Dead ? ( By Stephen Nesbit)

Between this class and my digital imaging class, I've been reading a lot about how photography is controversially "dead", or "not dead".

In "Is Photography Dead", Peter Plagens essentially points out that the "original" craft of photography is dead. The intent of photography once being to show a truth. Where photography now can be tweaked, touched up, enhanced, or taken digitally with a number of filters so that it no longer looks natural. Sure, if as Plagens believes, Photography was ONLY there to capture "truth" as the eye sees it, then I suppose THAT aspect of Photography is not exactly the same.

All cameras now have built in filters and color selection modes and presets that allow the user to take pictures that aren't exactly "true" as the eye sees it. But does that make it not true? It's how the picture is taken at the time the shutter release is pressed.

The photo that I shared above is a slightly tweaked picture. It is a process called HDRI. That is, High Dynamic Range Imaging. You essentially photograph the picture underexposed, correctly exposed, and overexposed, then use a program like Photomatix, or Photoshop CS3 to meld those various images into one beautiful image. It allows you to get the FULL range of contrast AND detail without blowing it out, or losing data in the shadows. You essentially get the best of all points in an image, which leaves you with a picture SO real that it's unreal. So while nothing in it has been CHANGED, it's not exactly the truth either, because you are blending three or more separate images in order to obtain one.

When Plagens talks about photography being "dead", he's not exactly correct. As the phographer Lisette Model said, "Photography is the easiest art, which perhaps makes it the hardest". Sure, anyone can snap a picture on a camera, but it takes a keen eye and a creative spirit to capture an image that inspires someone, or at the very least, captures an image so beautiful that when people look at it they are moved emotionally.

So in my opinion, Photography is NOT dead. It's just evolved to a point where everyone can be involved and share *their* visions, and it allows the photographer to paint with light, creating masterpieces of nature and technology alike.

A few more examples of this to share.

No comments: