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Thread: are photographs still photographs...

  1. #1

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    are photographs still photographs...

    ...or, more specifically, do today's photographs look like photographs to you? I just got the latest Hasselblad Photographer newsletter in email today. I notice that all the potential "Hasselblad Masters" are represented by images that look... well.... more or less the same stylistically. Upon closer observation, perhaps it is not the style, but the fact that, to my eyes, all that digital medium format stuff looks more like high end illustration than photography. Please believe that I am not, by any means, trying to resurrect that age old debate that will remain nameless here, but it dawned on me that many, perhaps most, of today's high profile photography looks a lot like it was done by a master with an airbrush, rather than a photographer with a camera. This is not a criticism, rather and observation. Whether work can be done with MF digital is not the point here.

    I also noticed that the new H3DII-31 is available for about 13k....

    We live in interesting times.

  2. #2

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    Re: are photographs still photographs...

    Today's photographs (whatever exactly that means) look like photographs to me.
    Brian Ellis
    Before you criticize someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you do criticize them you'll be
    a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

  3. #3
    Claudio Santambrogio
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    Re: are photographs still photographs...

    There are interesting "masters" (whatever that means), and less interesting ones. That's always been like that. Also, most are not interesting - that's also always been like that, it's just that time has thrown away those that don't need to be remembered, and now we get them all… No worries, they'll be forgotten again

  4. #4

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    Re: are photographs still photographs...

    I have been thinking the same thing. Photo-Illustration is what I call it. Some of this highly stylized "high-end" pro work has really become 80% photoshop and 20% camera. It's just so easy to push images beyond, not just reality, but what the average person sees as an acceptable photographic version of reality; after you cross that point we are forced to try and find a medium that this new version of super modified photography most closely resembles and that usually ends up being some form of illustration(digital or hand crafted). I see work that is considered photography that could also be easily pasted off as very good digital illustration.

    I assume that you would not consider a pencil drawing that started as a simple tracing from a photograph still a photograph. When does a digitally manipulated photograph become digital illustration based on photograph? Is there a line? Is there even a need for a distinction?

    I don't even think it really matters, ultimately it is about the art. If you like someones super processed photo-illustration medium format digital work, hire them or hang it in your house or collect it.
    Will Wilson
    www.willwilson.com

  5. #5

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    Re: are photographs still photographs...

    Well they don't look like daguerreotypes to me.
    But what you are saying (I think) is that current style will be perceived as desirable and will proliferate, by those who define style.
    The history of photography is usually seen as a progression, and will always seek new change. Whether the new style will mark a new move forward remains to be seen, but the old style will inevitablely be out dated, no matter how good you or I are at it or how much it suits our perception of photography.
    So do they look like yesterday's photograph's? No
    Will they look like tomorrow's photograph's? No
    Regards
    Bill

  6. #6
    Claudio Santambrogio
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    Re: are photographs still photographs...

    Quote Originally Posted by willwilson View Post
    Some of this highly stylized "high-end" pro work has really become 80% photoshop and 20% camera
    How would you set the percentage for the relationship darkroom/camera?

  7. #7

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    Re: are photographs still photographs...

    If they weren't still photographs, they'd be movies!
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.

  8. #8

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    Re: are photographs still photographs...

    I think that todays photographs are more artistically creative than the photographs of yesterday. When additional means of expression are found than expression is expanded. That has been historically true...no matter the time. A truly wonderful thing from where I see it.

  9. #9

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    Re: are photographs still photographs...

    I understand what the OP is saying. In fact, according to a recent New Yorker article*, most photographs in magazines are digitally enhanced, ie, in an issue of Vogue 144 images were digi-retouched, all by Pascal Dangin of Box Studios. Thirty celebrities keep him on retainer to retouch all photos reaching the media. Annie, Patrick and many, many more photographers work only with him.

    If you look at a lot of Annie's recent work, there is a "look" to it, especially the story-oriented spreads.I don't think it's unappealing, but it seems to be so prevalent these days and has a sameness, but if there is one main guy everyone is going to that would explain it...

    *http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2...a_fact_collins

  10. #10

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    Re: are photographs still photographs...

    Quote Originally Posted by csant View Post
    How would you set the percentage for the relationship darkroom/camera?
    I often wish I could go further in the darkroom, but this usually relates to damage correction (dust, scratches, the occasional content removal, etc).

    In general, it depends on the negative. I would say on average for me personally: 30% Darkroom - 70% Camera. But with the darkroom there is a lower ceiling, with digital the ceiling is almost limitless.
    Will Wilson
    www.willwilson.com

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