Monday, 10 December 2007

Is Photography Dead?

Thought provoking article in Newsweek about the rise of the digital and the demise of the medium
We live in a culture dominated by pixels, increasingly unmoored from corpor-eal reality. Movies are stuffed with CGI and, in such "performance animation" films as "Beowulf," overwhelmed by them. Some big pop-music hits are so cyberized the singer might as well be telling you to press 1 if you know your party's exten-sion. Even sculpture has adopted digital "rapid prototyping" technology that allows whatever a programmer can imagine to be translated into 3-D objects in plastic. Why should photography be any different? Why shouldn't it give in to the digital temptation to make every landscape shot look like the most absolutely beautiful scenery in the whole history of the universe, or turn every urban view into a high-rise fantasy?



mark@large said...

Photography is not Dead!

Because of everthing going digital,is that photography will stay alive. It is the envelope that needs to be pushed.

A camera is just like paint or chalk, it is just another medium to create images,to tell a story or to create a filling.

To sit here and think,photography is dead is pretty lame and you should move on to some other discussion. This is just my opinion.

Melissa said...

Ummm.... I didnt say photography was dead. I posted to an article called "Is photography dead" - which is a pretty good read, actually.

windycitycameraphile said...

Is photography dead? I don't think so. It is a bit strange to link digital photography and Photoshop to the beginning of the end for photography. For some fields, such as photojournalism, I do agree that photographers must be careful not to modify the image to the point that they are making history rather than reporting it. And I don't care for some works of art that started with a photograph, but with software end up looking more like a cartoon or a Dali painting.

But for any work of art, be it literature, a painting, the cinema, or a photograph: the truth lies both in the eye of the creator and the viewer. We all have our own frame of reference and set of experiences that affect how we interpret the work of art.

With the advances in digital cameras and film, I think the art of photography is accessible to more than it has ever been today. As someone that still loves to load up a roll of Tri-X black and white film in my camera, or on another day take out my digital camera, I feel photography is very much alive. So grab that old film camera out of the closet, or that brand new 12 Megapixel DSLR, and lets go out and takes some photos for all too enjoy! Who's with me?

Michael Watry

I put a poll on my blog to see what other folks felt about this question. So far 5 people say photography is "alive and well" and 1 person said "it's not dead, but it's dying." Tell me what you think!

Melissa said...

Personally - I think its more alive than its ever been. The capabilities of the digital media allow for much greater range of creative and emotive expression with photographic imagery than ever before.

What is lost, however, is the veracity of the image (although it can be argued that this has been problematic from the very birth of photography: the earliest proponents had a lot of fun "fooling" the camera). In the 1950s and 1960s, photo-journalism was seen to be the "truth-bearer" in a way that other reportage couldnt be - but now, we cant be certain that the images we are looking at are not doctored and manipulated. Of course, the concept of erasure is not new (the Stalinist authorities regularly removed individuals from photographs after their fall from grace) - but now its so easy to do.

Humans like images. Our visual cortex takes up most of the workings of the brain (or so experts say). Photography will never be dead as long as we appreciate images. But what is dead is knowing that they are an authentic historical record of any scene.