Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Unanswered Questions And The Nature Of Photography

It is in these difficult times that one is forced to think about some of the greatest questions facing man - and woman - kind. Take, for example, the question: "In the digital age, what is the nature of photography?" This is a question I have debated with my good friend Steve over many a pint of well-hopped ale, trying to assess the relative importance of skill, technique,  and good old fashioned luck in the making of a fine image. Perhaps photography is now entirely divorced from the camera and all about what can be digitally fiddled with using Photoshop and the like. We decided to test this theory by taking a random selection of negatives shot half a century ago by people we have never met and compare our ability to turn them into pleasing images using every filter and trick in the book. We picked three negatives each (unseen) and in each case produced a straight scan and then an "enhanced" image. Here are the six results - I won't say whose is which and leave it up to you to choose your own particular favourite. Is it photography? I have no idea. It is yet another question I don't appear to be able to provide an answer to.





  1. An interesting experiment. I prefer the black and white...

  2. It is an interesting question and many a discussion can be generated on this topic. In the above examples I prefer the originals except I like the cropping in C and E. I don't like whit vignettes very much. I use lightroom rather than photoshop. I try to make the photo look like the scene I really saw. I eyes have millions more pixels than a camera and so we see much more. I just try to recreate what I saw.

    1. I like your phrase: "eyes have millions more pixels than a camera"!

  3. This is an interesting one that is worthy of further debate. I have been mulling over a similar issue on my diary pages at:

    My interest centers around how the painting can better leave the subject open to interpretation, regardless of how the photograph is manipulated. I my add that the worst scenario is a painting that has been copied from a photograph.

    Curiously, my best models hate being photographed but like being painted. A good enough reason for me to stick to my brushes and pallet!

    1. Interesting about your models Roger. I have a pastel drawing of me when I was about 10 hanging on my bedroom wall. I only met the artist when he drew me (I think we had about 3 sittings) but only this morning I was thinking how much of my character and mood shines through the drawing but almost no photographs of me ever show what I think I look like.
      Do your models ever say they wish they could photograph themselves?

  4. I think I like the second version of A and F. Not sure why but there you are.


The Halifax Court

  The 1851 Great Exhibition Of The Works Of Industry Of All Nations was an attempt to celebrate the advances in science, technology and manu...