Creativity with digital and people photography

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by matthewkane, Jul 28, 2004.

  1. First off I don't want anyone to start arguing digital vs. film or old vs. new. Or for people to go on about their bitter hatred toward digital or how it has ruined t hings.... Or how much you hate the skinny fashion models. I want to peacefully discuss this. If you are not interested in doing so please move on! N ow then....
    Has technology and technique been so highly refined that photography has practically r eached its crescendo of capability? With the ability of Photoshop CS, 11megapixel D slrs, Digital MF backs, Lighting advances, etc... The abillity to make a "Perfect image" i s here. Whether it be a true one or not. If you have the necessary tools (artistically and e quip wise) at least. Not that I do, or those reading this do but... Take fashion p hotography for instance... Please go to Sarahsilver.com and look at h er Beauty Section. Dial up users beware it may take a minute to load! How can you get better than that? In what she was going for. The sharpness, the colors, the light... Sure she has make-up artists, stylists, and such. Certainly they don't get the credit they deserve because they are attached to an ad for g ucci or some other sweatshop clothing corporation (which I can understand) but all c lothing aside these are incredible images. There are so many great photographers that h ave all the resources and they are setting the pace with the new tools in creative r epresentations of human beings in abstract form.
    Go to Michel Tcherevkoffs page and to t he People Section. Some of the ads this guy has done are certainly artistic. It seems h ard to be revolutionary anymore. It is harder to get noticed and "Stand apart from the c rowd" now than ever before. What baffled people in the past seems like old hap with t he capabilities of today. The possibilities are endless. Any thoughts?
     
  2. Matthew my opinion is, what is fantastic today could be considered garbage tommorow. Really the photo on the Sarahsilver.com could have been done 20 years ago. What is diffrent is more and more can do it now without millions of dollars. Now its possible to be done by almost anyone with software and a camera. On the other hand, remember when photos and ads were more closer to truth? Now with editing (Graphic Designing) what they show isn't real. Not all but much more than it used to be. Not that it couldn't be done 20 years ago but now its allowed!
     
  3. Better not to mention the D word at all if you want to avoid D-vs-F controversy.

    Digital technology has been in use for 20 years or more, in photography and printing. This stuff is not brand new, there hasn't been a sudden revolution. Not to mention there was loads of stuff you could do before digital, using traditional techniques.

    The important change recently is that the technology has got much cheaper and easier to use, on the production side and on the distribution side. In the mid-80s you would have had to lay out colour magazine spreads using a $500,000 Scitex, now you can do it on a $2,500 Mac, or even on a $500 Windows PC. And we have the WWW.

    All this allows a wider group of producers to put more images in front of viewers than ever before. The 'crowd' has got much bigger, so it's harder to stand out.

    It's highly arguable, though, that cheaper and easier technology adds to individuals' creativity. If you look at auto-exposure or auto-focus, these technologies eliminate the need for a degree of technical skill which previously distinguished good photographers from the rest. But they don't do anything for selection of subject, or composition.

    Hence there is still a place for original and creative photographers.
     
  4. I think your question "How can you get better than that?" applies largely to the technical side. In fact, the main technical problems of photography have been well solved for years. The rest of it is about making the tech side increasingly easy to do or increasingly accessible to the multitudes of interested shooters. As that gets easier and more available, you get a combination of effects: there's more technically good but uncreative photography presented to the world, but creative image makers are also ever more freed to think creatively...
     
  5. To add to what Marshall said, the only thing digital capture has done has moved complete and full artistic accountability onto the back of the photographer. No more 'Well, that's the way the chrome looks, so that's what it should look it.'

    From a purely philosophical perspective, once film scanning became popular, the manipulation/artistic arguement went out the window. Adding digital capture to the mix only look out the last remaining technical variable for photogs that found film scanning a bit daunting, and got sick of being raped for $75 drum scans.

    "It's harder to get noticed"

    In the past 5 years I've seen more talented photographers crawl out of nowhere with dazzling images using digital capture than the past 25.

    "What baffled people in the past seems like old hap with t he capabilities of today."

    Has nothing to do with capabilities or tools, it's simply attitude. The new artists you rave about simply have learned to stand on their own merits and can't hide behind some medium. They have full control from capture to final presentation. When I took photography classes in the 80's it was always two thirds presentation and one third technique, till I got so fed up I walked out. Doesn't matter how your vision sucks, just print it on X paper or use X film and use a really big white matte on the final print to make it artistically accepted. Those days be long gone, and good riddence. Those commercial photogs I know who don't use digital, have exellent technical control of the process, and didn't buy into the BS brainwashing above are still cranking out dazzling work.
     
  6. You pose it this way Matthew: "Has technology and technique been so highly refined that photography has practically r eached its crescendo of capability?" I doubt it based on my reading of history. Just when one thinks there is room for no more improvement,boom,someone pulls a rabbit out of a hat. At least I like to think it will go on. For my part,I don't choose to be whatever you mean by revolutionary. Like to consolidate our gains for a while with just diversity,accessibility, and sharing among the everyday crowd-arts and craft for the masses-,like me for instance. Don't you?
     
  7. Yea I agree with most of you. It has become easier and cheaper to do. There is an a
    bundance of talented photographers these days, and that's kind of what I was getting a
    t. It seems hard to compete with or stand out from at first glance. I for one do have a
    spirations of reaching the commercial side of the business in due time. (Not n
    ecessarily fashion). Maybe it's just because I am just 24 and seemed overwhelmed by s
    ome of the images I am seeing lately... and feel I have a ways to go. But in regards to G
    erry's question, I don't have a dream of being the next "Revolutionary" in photography p
    ersonally. I was hinting at the fact that it seems increasingly unlikely that there will be a
    nother one soon. ??? Like mentioned before the digital age and accesability has spread t
    he medium further and thinner. The likelihood of having another single photographer t
    hat changes everything again has dwindled. I realize I am generalizing here, but I'm j
    ust saying!
    <p>
    Yea the technical side seems to have been mastered a while ago. Indeed whether or n
    ot all these photographers are producing great material or not, they are technically s
    pot on. I agree with Marshall. I for one though wonder now... since good technical skill h
    as become so commonplace. Has it almost watered it down a bit? It seems that r
    ecognition inspired by technical ability is gone. People don't appreciate the t
    echnicalities as much as they used to I am assuming. It's intriguing to think that now y
    ou have to get more Creative! No longer are the days that people can be blown away b
    y the simplicity of say Eggleston. I'm not taking anything away from what he did, I e
    njoy his work but... this is a whole new era. Or maybe I am speaking on behalf of p
    eople of my generation I'm not quite sure. I have seen people look at his work and say "
    So What?". I guess that's how anything is though? The new comes, the old seems to p
    ale in comparison to most. But yes I also agree that with the advent of all this some of t
    he Artistic Integrity has diminished along with it. But that's just the way the dominoes h
    ave fallen. At any rate we live in interesting times.
     
  8. Yea I agree with most of you. It has become easier and cheaper to do. There is an a
    bundance of talented photographers these days, and that's kind of what I was getting a
    t. It seems hard to compete with or stand out from at first glance. I for one do have a
    spirations of reaching the commercial side of the business in due time. (Not n
    ecessarily fashion). Maybe it's just because I am just 24 and seemed overwhelmed by s
    ome of the images I am seeing lately... and feel I have a ways to go. But in regards to G
    erry's question, I don't have a dream of being the next "Revolutionary" in photography p
    ersonally. I was hinting at the fact that it seems increasingly unlikely that there will be a
    nother one soon. ??? Like mentioned before the digital age and accesability has spread t
    he medium further and thinner. The likelihood of having another single photographer t
    hat changes everything again has dwindled. I realize I am generalizing here, but I'm j
    ust saying!
    <p>
    Yea the technical side seems to have been mastered a while ago. Indeed whether or n
    ot all these photographers are producing great material or not, they are technically s
    pot on. I agree with Marshall. I for one though wonder now... since good technical skill h
    as become so commonplace. Has it almost watered it down a bit? It seems that r
    ecognition inspired by technical ability is gone. People don't appreciate the t
    echnicalities as much as they used to I am assuming. It's intriguing to think that now y
    ou have to get more Creative! No longer are the days that people can be blown away b
    y the simplicity of say Eggleston. I'm not taking anything away from what he did, I e
    njoy his work and appreciate his contributions but... this is a whole new era.
    Or maybe I am speaking on behalf of people of my generation I'm not quite sure.
    I have seen people look at his work and say "So What?". The bar has just been raised t
    hat much higher with the evolution of the medium. I guess that's how anything is t
    hough? The new comes in, and the old seems to pale in comparison. Than again some o
    f the classic material will never be surpassed. I also agree that with the advent of all t
    his some of the Artistic Integrity has diminished along with it. But that's just the way t
    he dominoes have fallen. At any rate we live in interesting times.
     
  9. According to some amatuer photography forum posters creativity is about to blossom now that there's digital, especially in the area of the heavily manipulated. Now anybody can be Uelsmann without the incredible skill, insight and dedication that he has. With digital post-processing now photos can be brighter, sharper, more colorful, more saturated. That is if you consider these criteria to be the pinnacle of photography. Some do, I don't. I'm looking forward to a backlash against the slick and hyperprocessed and I bet it happens sooner or later. What comes out of that is anybody's guess but it'll keep things interesting.
     
  10. Cheap digital technology allows a wider range of users to express themselves. We've seen this with desk top publishing, Flash animation and web publishing, and weblogging. Now it's happening with photography.

    This 'democratises' media and discovers talents who had previously been obscured, but it also allows large numbers of people with no talent or training to express themselves.

    If you take the good with the bad you can view a much wider range of photography than ever before, but it's unlikely to lead to a big increase in creativity.
     
  11. Richard Milner, those are my exact sentiments. I think sometimes people confuse 'flash' or complexity (as opposed to the straightforward) in photography, with creativity.
     
  12. What Sam and Richard said; even the perfect hammer doesn't necessarily always hit the nail, as a matter of the technical. Creativity by definition is, well, forever new.
     
  13. I'm looking forward to a backlash against the slick and hyperprocessed and I bet it happens sooner or later.
    I'm STILL waiting for the backlash against the stupid pop culture pro photog heroin addiction to Velvia and having to make all documentary and nature photography look like Walt Disney threw up.
    Yet if a single digitally captured pixel is given extra saturation, it's some violation of artistic laws. What the hell is wrong with you people besides being flaming hypocrites?
     
  14. rampant polarity, hmmm? What can I dream up that is the opposite of what was just said... hmmm how about Rene Amdussen's (?) radical desaturation? What audacity! How digital! How creative! What about all those copious breasts in photo.net's new "nudes" forum? Maybe they're just >filters>liquify>bloat tool!... t
    (what's the point here, that new tools are cheating? How charmingly Victorian!)
    My thoughts are : do what interests you, stop worrying about trends and gimmicks. People worried about photography going over the top when Elliot Porter got his hands on 8x10 Kodachrome with an asa (yes ASA) of 10.
    009LCj-19435284.jpg
     

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