So here is the question. When looking at an image, ask yourself this question: Is this photography, or is this photographic art?
While attending a recent art fair, I ventured into the booths of three different photographers. I must say all their work was very good, but personally, I felt only one of the three photographers’ work was exceptional. I actually went back to all three photography displays three times, trying to figure out why I saw one display as exceptional and the other two displays as being just okay. On my third visit, I realized that the two displays I thought were just okay, were actually very good, but their images were very different from my perspective of how fairly common subjects should be viewed. Further inspection of the two photographers’ work revealed that they were displaying actual photos, but they had been adjusted in post-processing to where what you were seeing, was not real. The images were heavily post-processed, or what I term “over cooked”. Colors and shades were added to the image to reflect a totally different look, contrasts were very high, colors were not true to form, and saturation was excessive; the images just did not look real. But, there they were on display as photography. I soon came to understand, these over processed images are not true photographic images representing reality, but rather Photographic Art representing a photographer’s artistic interpretation; another chapter in the science of photography.
In giving this Photographic Art concept some thought, I found myself struggling as to why anyone would adjust an image to reflect something that could never be real. I discussed this with my photographer friends, and one in particular set me straight. He said the realness of any image is in the eye of the beholder. People see an over processed image as a great art piece, one that will fit on their living room wall and compliment their decor. The buyer sees them as unique pieces of art, not images that are inaccurate or not real.
I do not disagree with the concept of photographic art; it is another chapter of this photography adventure, I am on, but not a chapter that has captured my interest. It’s like someone dying their hair red or blue. For them, that may be great, and I certainly respect that, and have no issues with it. However, for me, if I had hair, dying it another color would just not happen. I respect those photographers who can see an art form in an image they have taken and have the talent to modify it to something different from reality. I understand that artistic approach to making an image look different. It is just not a genre I prefer. Sometimes I wish I had that talent, and thus would venture into a more artistic expressions of my work. I do know that artistic photographers are in demand and are selling their work. However, I will stay the course with capturing reality, that which is real to me.
Visiting my Home Page, one can quickly identify the perspective I place in photography, and that perspective is this – photography is meant to take us on journeys, and journeys give our lives context and meaning. Some images should remind us of events in our past. Others can document and preserve the reality of what we see and experience today.