Photography or Digital? Some (very) Rough Notes …
Having participated in this arena from the start of the digital revolution, beginning in the late 1980’s, and having written extensively on the topic at that time, I want to preface this work with some tentative distinctions between photography and photodigital work.
I have pursued photodigital along multiple trajectories. Before that, and continuously ever since, I’ve also pursued pure photography. Contemporary photography that’s run through Photoshop for minor tweaks of contrast, for cropping, for enhancing minor details yet remains “true” to the camera image is still just photography. In this instance, Photoshop is the modern darkroom. I don’t see anything special about that. But I do make a distinction when Photoshop is employed as a creative tool where photographs become the raw material for works that go beyond the image as composed “in camera.”
For me, the single unifying concept of pure photography is that photography occurs “in camera”. Yes, it may be abstract, portrait, architectural, illustrative, wildlife, party life, war, wedding, rock-and-roll, political, sport … whatever. But if it happens in the camera, if the image is primarily realized through the view-finder, then I regard this work as photography, not pure, not simple, but nonetheless photography.
Digital work (again, I experience the medium from an artist’s perspective) may be any one of several pursuits, of which I recognize at least three basic categories: (1) Photodigital Abstraction: having primarily painterly or even sculptural fine art intent. (2) Photodigital Composition: which may bend more towards conceptual or illustrative imagery, or include both trends. (3) Photodigital Retouching and repair. None of this is not absolute. Sometimes, I find that a work has components of two or more pursuits.
I offer these notes in hopes that this may help to explain how the work has been segregated into different galleries on this site. But in the final analysis, these distinctions may be more about artistic intent than any attempt to define.
~ jwl 071714