Do we get too obsessed by "real"?

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
OP MOD Tom Caldwell Forum Pro • Posts: 43,372
Re: what is real?

GnarlydogOZ wrote:

I am under no illusion that a 2D image is "real", printed or electronic, not even close to representing reality.

What I do understand it that convention has lead us to believe that an image is representation of reality. So how far has convention lead us? is a bit of tweak of saturation, color balance and contrast OK? our eyes seem to see that is real life...

But where do you put black&white? and yet we believe it is "real"

I for one no longer treat photography as depicting reality but an artistic expression instead. Anything is fair game but of course I not necessarily like everything that people do to their images

Thanks,  I just point out that the most effort across all photographic fora is on better lenses, better sensors and more realistic images.  There is another “picture” which effectively involves destroying the original authenticity in the process of making it into art of a sort.

Early photography was more dreamy simply because of the technical difficulties in making images.  But as the medium and the gear improved the photographic world became obsessed by “f64” utter realistic representation.  It continues today with constant chat about the best lenses and for ever request for yet another new sensor.

Nothing wrong with that but some of the old pictorialist images were pure art.  Early photographs often mimicked art and art often used photographs as a source of detail where the artist did not have to be there.  Painting from photographs - is  not this what I have done here?

Of course the pictorialist style never was approved of by the f64 set. In fact it died a death.

I am not suggesting that anyone change their attitudes. Photography is a discipline of its own but its representation can be made in many ways.  A society photographer for magazines might slim, remove blemishes, and make other adjustments to attempt perfect. All this to make an unreal reality that vis accepted without question.  It is not seen as “art” simply because the changes are subtle and not obvious.

We all mostly play with RAW files. This is also not always apparent and can involve all sorts of tweaks to “improve reality” or otherwise.

I think that there is room for art in serious photography and as much as real art with paintbrush has critics and most painter-artists have to rely on a very small circle of appreciation so must Photographic Art be doomed to be just Phart.  It need not be simply a filter run over a standard image and the level of reality is quite wide and involves quite a lot more work than simply clicking a shutter or processing through the RAW file.

All this of course is in response to the previous thread asking how much do we process our images?  Of course I do this to channel Gary Winogrand’s remark as: “just to see what art I can make out of a photograph” (Originally: “to see what something looks like when photographed”).  It is far from always successful and not all images are suitable for “arting”.  But it is a process that I play with from time to time,  it saves me forever hunting for yet another elusive image that might make me famous and is mostly done for my own pleasure to regurgitate images from my earlier collections.

Unfortunately not adapted lenses - but I have tried to show another side of photography that is little discussed.

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Tom Caldwell

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