I have returned from my fall photographic trip, and I had the privilege of meeting many photographers over the 4 weeks I was away.
After many discussions with the photographers on this trip, I have come to the conclusion that modern day photographers are fabricating images at a rampant level. All photographers I talked with used a digital solution either with a digital camera or by scanning film and printing digitally. No one I meet used traditional photographic methods like myself.
The question I asked was “I was considering switching to digital and what can I do with digital that I can not do with my darkroom?”. Categorically, every photographer who owned a digital camera told me how they fabricated images. Some of the examples were painting in different skies, adding a rainbow, removing park benches, and just about anything you could imagine. All of them admitted that there were people who found this practice troubling, but that did not bother them.
The one large format photographer I met who scanned his film did not admit to fabricating images. However, I did observe him shooting under a blank gray sky the day before I met him and was suspicious. After he had composed his photograph while I was watching the next day, I asked him if I could look at the 4x10 image on his ground glass. I was not surprised to find a giant blank gray sky occupying at least half the image. Either he was a bad photographer or he was going to paint in a different sky once the film was scanned. I concluded that because he was an experienced LF 4x10 guy, then the latter was most likely true.
Am I the only one that finds this behavior unethical or is that just the way it is? Maybe I am just out of touch with mainstream ethics because I am the only photographer that was using traditional methods. The modern day photographer posts his images to world declaring greatness when in reality he is sitting at his computer fabricating images with Photoshop and other AI software.
Some say the general public does not care, so why should I care. Is there a possibility that those who buy photographic art just do not understand the magnitude and scope of the practice? Is it possible that as time marches on digitally generated images will be viewed in a negative light as cheap computer art as fabrication becomes the expected norm? Could this practice undermine the validity and perceived value of digital art in the long run?
What do think?