I'm stealing this topic from the latter pages of the "cropping" thread as it deserves its own discussion.
What is (and is not) photography?
While I disagree with Russ and some of the others about finding new names for images created using digital processes, I do have my limits. For instance, I was attending a presentation by a photographic educator recently where some previous Guggenheim application portfolios (finalists!) were shown. One of those portfolios caused me great grief and I was unable to prevent myself from making a statement and derailing a goodly portion of the intended presentation. In this particular "photographic" portfolio were scans of historical photographs, which were duly claimed by the presenter to be original and creative photography. These were not parts of other images, but were presented as stand-alone photographs in the portfolio. I was stunned. In my eyes, this was no more creative than photocopying a list of address, yet the presenter and many in the audience argued the merits of these unaltered scans. I was, as far as I could tell, the lone voice of dissent although, in reality, I probably had my backers. I was the only one brazen enough, though, to make this sort of comment during an art museum presentation.
Remember, I'm not talking about some random grant application, this was a Guggenheim FINALIST! (I do not know if it received the grant, or not)
To me, photography - especially fine art photography - is about exploring the world (people or rocks) through our own individual and unique vision, providing viewers with images that are much more emotionally valuable than the actual scene. It's a relationship between the photographer and the viewer, in which the image takes the place of words or emotions. How can this special relationship happen when the image in question is an identical copy of that of another photographer?
I realize that some people use a scanners unique attributes to create unique and compelling images, and with this rant I am not including them. I would even call them photographers....I think. My problem is with the literal and exact duplication of the works of others, under the banner of "photography", and the recognition these artists receive for it.