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Author Topic: Is photography, today, still photography?  (Read 6268 times)

Farmer

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Re: Is photography, today, still photography?
« Reply #20 on: August 13, 2018, 03:14:05 am »

So there we are - for me at least, this is a very different world of image-making.

Image-making, yes, because there are more options.  But photography is still photography at its core.
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ErikKaffehr

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Re: Is photography, today, still photography?
« Reply #21 on: August 13, 2018, 03:46:43 am »

Hi,

Photography essentially means painting by light, that has not changed. The tools of the trade has changed.

In film times, it was pretty much "you press the button and we do the rest", unless we did a complete wet workflow.

But, I guess that most photographers shot slide film, or even print film. The lab developed the film and made the prints. For printing, the images would be scanned.

Today, the photograph is a digital original and much of the tasks the lab or the scanner operator did is now at the hand of the photographer.

That may mean that the photographer has more to do. Also, anyone can make decent quality images under a wide variety of conditions. So, photographers need to create great images.

Digital photography also gives us a lot of control. Inkjet prints are said to be good enough to replace "die transfer printing", which is as well as die transfer materials are no longer made. Also, we can make great prints with very affordable gear, in full control of the process and without inhaling vapors of unhealthy chemicals.

Best regards
Erik



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Rob C

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Re: Is photography, today, still photography?
« Reply #22 on: August 13, 2018, 04:48:15 am »

Image-making, yes, because there are more options.  But photography is still photography at its core.


Perhaps we are now reading the same book, if not exactly from the same page.

My point is that digital imaging (even the term) has taken us beyond photography, the raw concept of painting with light; the game has moved to the position where an original exposure is now nothing more than a basic template from which to fly to different worlds.

That we can now fly off this planet through our images does not mean that everyone should feel that obligation; I'm simply offering the idea that, for me, in my current visual "space", it's the most interesting option available. Were said space able to revert to a time where I could again do what I did in my working life, I am just as certain that I would be perfectly content using digital exactly to the same purpose as I did film, and with just as little artifice. It's boredom that forces new departures, boredom with what is abundantly available as quotidian reality.

KLaban

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Re: Is photography, today, still photography?
« Reply #23 on: August 13, 2018, 04:56:56 am »


Perhaps we are now reading the same book, if not exactly from the same page.

My point is that digital imaging (even the term) has taken us beyond photography, the raw concept of painting with light; the game has moved to the position where an original exposure is now nothing more than a basic template from which to fly to different worlds.

That we can now fly off this planet through our images does not mean that everyone should feel that obligation; I'm simply offering the idea that, for me, in my current visual "space", it's the most interesting option available. Were said space able to revert to a time where I could again do what I did in my working life, I am just as certain that I would be perfectly content using digital exactly to the same purpose as I did film, and with just as little artifice.
It's boredom that forces new departures, boredom with what is abundantly available as quotidian reality.

Rob, the boredom bit apart, I doubt anyone would disagree, although who knows, this is after all, LuLa.
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Rob C

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Re: Is photography, today, still photography?
« Reply #24 on: August 13, 2018, 04:58:49 am »

Hi,

Photography essentially means painting by light, that has not changed. The tools of the trade has changed.

In film times, it was pretty much "you press the button and we do the rest", unless we did a complete wet workflow.

But, I guess that most photographers shot slide film, or even print film. The lab developed the film and made the prints. For printing, the images would be scanned.

Today, the photograph is a digital original and much of the tasks the lab or the scanner operator did is now at the hand of the photographer.

That may mean that the photographer has more to do. Also, anyone can make decent quality images under a wide variety of conditions. So, photographers need to create great images.

Digital photography also gives us a lot of control. Inkjet prints are said to be good enough to replace "die transfer printing", which is as well as die transfer materials are no longer made. Also, we can make great prints with very affordable gear, in full control of the process and without inhaling vapors of unhealthy chemicals.

Best regards
Erik


Yes, photography, in its pre-digital form, meant exactly what you state. Today, it has morphed into another creature entirely. The only "photographic" part that remains is the original capture. Nothing else is light-dependent because it happens in a computer. A last connection with light is if you print, at which time your print depends for its look upon the illumination under which you see it.

Whether the photographer does the post-exposure work, or whether he farms that out to another body has little to do with the original proposition, being that photography as we knew it was one thing, but digital has turned it into something very different, a creature with rubber sides and no known limits to where it can stretch.

Rob C

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Re: Is photography, today, still photography?
« Reply #25 on: August 13, 2018, 05:00:13 am »

Rob, the boredom bit apart, I doubt anyone would disagree, although who knows, this is after all, LuLa.

;-)

elliot_n

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Re: Is photography, today, still photography?
« Reply #26 on: August 13, 2018, 05:28:38 am »

Rob, the boredom bit apart, I doubt anyone would disagree, although who knows, this is after all, LuLa.

Oscar Rejlander, Jerry Uelsmann etc...
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KLaban

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Re: Is photography, today, still photography?
« Reply #27 on: August 13, 2018, 05:41:41 am »

Oscar Rejlander, Jerry Uelsmann etc...

Elliot, you are of course quite right. I'm not sure I have ever attempted to define photography but if I have then who or what am I that it would make any difference? Who am I that I'd want to? I am but one of many photographer contributors to a rather obscure forum.

Now folks, isn't that rather refreshing?
« Last Edit: August 13, 2018, 05:58:15 am by KLaban »
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Rob C

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Re: Is photography, today, still photography?
« Reply #28 on: August 13, 2018, 07:10:05 am »

Elliot, you are of course quite right. I'm not sure I have ever attempted to define photography but if I have then who or what am I that it would make any difference? Who am I that I'd want to? I am but one of many photographer contributors to a rather obscure forum.

Now folks, isn't that rather refreshing?


Refreshing, but also too close to the nitty gritty; were we to follow the sense, then we'd be forced to conclude it were better to close down the compu...

KLaban

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Re: Is photography, today, still photography?
« Reply #29 on: August 13, 2018, 07:28:32 am »


Refreshing, but also too close to the nitty gritty; were we to follow the sense, then we'd be forced to conclude it were better to close down the compu...

...the computer stays on, I rely on it for things that are far more important to me than viewing and contributing to this forum, but if that's all it was on for then yes, it would perhaps be better to shut it dow...
« Last Edit: August 13, 2018, 07:52:02 am by KLaban »
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Rob C

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Re: Is photography, today, still photography?
« Reply #30 on: August 13, 2018, 07:42:50 am »

Oscar Rejlander, Jerry Uelsmann etc...


Art Kane also played around a couple of times with putting swimsuit models upside down in the skies...

To my mind, that's nothing to do with my concept of where digital can take us: I mean it to mean whilst keeping the final, elaborated image well within the bounds of believability. That's both the freedom and the challenge, the notion of how far to go without losing the plot along the way. Again, something within the mind, a personal call not based on guru message.

(You may have noted, also along the way, that I find it very easy to equate art guru with quack.)

:-)

elliot_n

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Re: Is photography, today, still photography?
« Reply #31 on: August 13, 2018, 08:13:16 am »

I see the darkroom as a primitive computer that is fundamentally the same as photoshop. When pushed to the extreme it could be used to create surreal montages (Jerry Uelsmann), but it could also be used more gently (dodging, burning, bleaching, toning etc), to subtly enhance the scene that presented itself to the camera. What tools are you using in Photoshop that are so different to what was available in the darkroom?
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Rob C

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Re: Is photography, today, still photography?
« Reply #32 on: August 13, 2018, 09:54:48 am »

I see the darkroom as a primitive computer that is fundamentally the same as photoshop. When pushed to the extreme it could be used to create surreal montages (Jerry Uelsmann), but it could also be used more gently (dodging, burning, bleaching, toning etc), to subtly enhance the scene that presented itself to the camera. What tools are you using in Photoshop that are so different to what was available in the darkroom?


I never felt any relationship between darkrooms and computers. Darkrooms are about gut reaction, the physical involvement and use of your body (hands, reach, arms, memory) whereas computers are about sitting on your ass, and monkeys writing Shakespeare. You just keep on truckin' until you get there, a possible difference being monkeys seldom read Shakespeare.

With darkrooms you were not able to do things as quickly, easily and seamlessly as you can with PS. I tried all the usual stuff such as using black/white negatives and exposing onto colour papers through CC filters etc. and it was crude in the extreme, and eventually pointless and unfulfilling. Because there is a difficult and inefficient manner of doing something is not its own reward if a better path presents itself; rather than reward it is representative of a loose screw. To be fair, I have not come across a better digital way of shading in skies than I used to do, by hand. I use Layers a lot; I use bits of purposely-shot "effects" files that sometimes fit my ultimate intentions and sometimes not, making me shoot something else to meet my needs to get to where I aim, stuff that never, of itself, is a picture, just an atmospheric awaiting use elsewhere.

There are really no limits to where this kind of thing can go; but as ever, I believe that for it to work, it has to look convincingly real to the extent that the viewer never asks himself the question in the first place. None of that "Jerry" stuff ever convinced me; it always looked to me like just another example of look what I can do! I don't think that's a valid purpose in the normal context of image appreciation.

(I do believe that darkroom experience saved me a lot of tears regarding making digital images: I came to the thing from a base of already knowing what a good print can look like. I believe that's a harder thing to do today.)

Of course this is all my personal take; what else can I offer?

To conclude, I'd suggest that I took greater pride in a good wet print, well-glazed, than I can today from looking at my own stuff on the Internet. The wet print tickled my pride in craftsmanship, whereas the digital world makes me feel that yes, I have managed to go somewhere new with a different kind of image with a modicum of success. However, as I got there via computer, I seldom escape that niggling "so what?" in my ear.

I suppose that's why I ultimately perceive the two forms of image-making as worlds apart.

« Last Edit: August 14, 2018, 03:54:13 am by Rob C »
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KLaban

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Re: Is photography, today, still photography?
« Reply #33 on: August 13, 2018, 10:15:19 am »

The digital darkroom is the process I used to dream about while I was inhaling all those noxious fumes in a large darkened cupboard, hated every moment. Didn't know what it would be, what it would be called or that it would ever exist but now that it's here I wouldn't want it any different.

Wet prints, film, forget it, if I had to go back in time that's exactly what I'd do.

Viva all things digital including this place.
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RSL

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Re: Is photography, today, still photography?
« Reply #34 on: August 13, 2018, 10:29:02 am »

The digital darkroom is the process I used to dream about while I was inhaling all those noxious fumes in a large darkened cupboard, hated every moment. Didn't know what it would be, what it would be called or that it would ever exist but now that it's here I wouldn't want it any different.

Wet prints, film, forget it, if I had to go back in time that's exactly what I'd do.

Viva all things digital including this place.

Couldn't possibly agree more, Keith.

And Rob, have you tried to make prints from your digital work? I have a house full of 17 x 22 inch prints, made with an Epson 3880, framed and on my walls. In the end, the results you can get with a decent printer equal or surpass wet prints. Wasn't always this way. Not too many years ago digital printing didn't have the range, depth, or survivability of wet prints. Nowadays color prints from a digital printer will vastly outlast wet color prints. I suspect silver always will be able to outlast ink, but I'll be long gone, and my kids'll be long gone before current digital blacks fade noticeably.

elliot_n

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Re: Is photography, today, still photography?
« Reply #35 on: August 13, 2018, 10:36:04 am »

The digital darkroom is the process I used to dream about while I was inhaling all those noxious fumes in a large darkened cupboard, hated every moment.

I'm ambivalent about darkrooms. I love the late 20th century machinery. And I sometimes enjoyed the dark privacy. But I was less keen on the contact dermatitis.

My dad built a darkroom at home in the late 70s (it was the thing to do then). As a child I spent long sessions in there, following the special effects recipes I found in books by John Hedgecoe and Michael Langford (Colorvir, anyone?!). Montage, solarisation, bas-relief etc. - all subsequently ported over to Photoshop. It's this magic-box 70s darkroom, domain of the amateur, which I regard as the predecessor of the computer, rather than its antithesis.
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JNB_Rare

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Re: Is photography, today, still photography?
« Reply #36 on: August 13, 2018, 10:48:47 am »

To me, photography remains a combination of perception (sometimes preceded by ideation and planning, as with still life, conceptual or commercial photography), capture, processing craft, and use/sharing. What's interesting is that changes/advances in one facet ripple through to others. In the past, the development of smaller, more portable cameras (Leica/35mm), and the introduction of colour film helped broaden the (photographic) perceptions of those who utilized the technologies. Magazines and photo books helped broaden the audience for images, and some photographers learned to adapt their processing to better suit the medium.

Digital has certainly had an impact on all areas of photography, ranging from minor to profound, and from annoying/destroying to enhancing/freeing, depending on the individual photographer's (artist's) perspective and pursuit. I don't use very much of the enhanced technology that my camera offers, but I've adapted my previsualizing and capture to accommodate the digital nature of it, and the subsequent computer processing. Wrapping my head around the digital darkroom was the most challenging change for me (my head still spins), but also the most rewarding; I discovered enhanced control to make an image that pays tribute to my initial perception, and sometimes to explore new and exciting perceptions post capture.

I still make prints, but very selectively. I never had a colour darkroom, so digital printing gives me new (and more consistent) control over colour enlargements. Occasionally, I've used premium inkjet papers (mostly weightier Baryta) and the feel of them brings back at least some of the smile I used to get with silver prints. The Internet (selected sites and a private FB group) provides me with some new avenues to share what I've created (as a personal pursuit, not a commercial one), and to take an interest in what others might like to share.

Is photography, today, still photography? I'd say yes, even if "digital" was a technological sea-change. I am mostly sanguine about the changes. Besides, no one really cares if I'm not.  :)
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Rob C

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Re: Is photography, today, still photography?
« Reply #37 on: August 13, 2018, 12:12:21 pm »

Couldn't possibly agree more, Keith.

And Rob, have you tried to make prints from your digital work? I have a house full of 17 x 22 inch prints, made with an Epson 3880, framed and on my walls. In the end, the results you can get with a decent printer equal or surpass wet prints. Wasn't always this way. Not too many years ago digital printing didn't have the range, depth, or survivability of wet prints. Nowadays color prints from a digital printer will vastly outlast wet color prints. I suspect silver always will be able to outlast ink, but I'll be long gone, and my kids'll be long gone before current digital blacks fade noticeably.

Russ, I have boxes of Hahne. prints from my computer. I need no more to sit there; the mass is critical already!

;-)

Rob C

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Re: Is photography, today, still photography?
« Reply #38 on: August 13, 2018, 12:51:21 pm »

The digital darkroom is the process I used to dream about while I was inhaling all those noxious fumes in a large darkened cupboard, hated every moment. Didn't know what it would be, what it would be called or that it would ever exist but now that it's here I wouldn't want it any different.

Wet prints, film, forget it, if I had to go back in time that's exactly what I'd do.

Viva all things digital including this place.

No wonder you hated the entire experience! One needs a proper darkroom to work comfortably; one needs the space to walk around muttering to oneself, dancing to Chuck Berry whilst imagining, partnering instead of a wet print, the lovely little chick doing the dancing during Chuck's performance at the '58 Newport Jazz Festival:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sHfdJyOb5qY

Bert Stern got it right: sex appeal does not need to equate with acres of skin. Especially with somebody that young and naturally cute...

Similarly, neither do fumes have to provide proof of presence: well-ventilated is de rigueur! It's like furtive sex in your darkroom cupboard: would you seek it out today? Well, maybe that's different. (I promise not to go there, but my Parthian gesture on leaving my hated boarding school was to be within a cupboard with one of those forbidden creatures - a fellow (does that make sense referring to a girl?) boarder, but one within the female residence a couple of safe miles distant from the boys' quarters. Discovery would have meant metaphorical stoning or drowning, a fate obviously outweighed by the sense of getting one over those bastards! Nothing much happened within the cupboard, but nevertheless, it was an experience I still remember - perhaps because I'm slightly claustrophobic.)

Don't ever send your kids away to get educated. It was all much better and less furtive when we got back to Britain.

How did I get from here to there and back to here? Speed of Light! That Terence Donovan is everywhere these days.

Rob

P.S. Before I forget about her: the next day was our last before school broke up; we wandered around getting folks to sign our autograph books (do they still do that?) and this particular girl wrote: "The secret of success is to be ready when your opportunity comes - old Indian proverb." I swear to you: never until this moment did it occur to me that she may have been thinking about cupboards as she wrote that down.

Explains a lot of what was to follow in my life.

;-(
« Last Edit: August 13, 2018, 04:43:23 pm by Rob C »
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KLaban

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Re: Is photography, today, still photography?
« Reply #39 on: August 13, 2018, 01:08:11 pm »

...No wonder you hated the entire experience! One needs a proper darkroom to work comfortably; one needs the space to walk around...

Actually our darkroom at college was state of the art and newly purpose built, replacing as it did that cupboard. What went on in there would make anyone's hair curl, but hey, it was the sixties.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2018, 01:11:15 pm by KLaban »
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