When is a photograph not a photograph?
Retouching, enhancing, and artful processing to bring out the best that the image can deliver, has been part of photography since its inception. Careful post-processing is essential to share the vision of the photographer with the viewer.
Today’s editing and manipulating tools are wondrously powerful and can take an image far beyond what the camera saw. Photos can be turned into images and works of art that may have just the barest resemblance to the original. “Faking” of photos is easy to do and can be utterly convincing.
Are such transformed images still photographs? Where is the line that divides photography from the derivative arts? When is a photograph not a photograph? I asked that question in an article over on Our Arts Magazine and provided my thoughts.
Is the picture here are photograph? At first blush you might think, yes, this is a photo. On closer inspection you will find artifacts that give away the “retouching”. For many uses, like in advertising and publicity pieces, the simplified image is perfectly acceptable, even desirable. It puts the emphasis on the dancers, which is, of course, the intent. For documentation or photojournalism, this is not a “photograph”. Here is the image closer to what the camera saw. It too has been enhanced to bring out the the art of the dancers.
What do you think?
© 2017 Ludwig Keck