I originally posted the following as a comment to an article written by Neal Rantoul, titled, “A Disturbing Trend“. It’s probably best to read the article first… I’ll wait.
Here’s my comment:
An interesting read for photographers (and others). For the most part I agree with him. I am a poet, a writer, and a photographer and as such most of my images tell stories. However, I don’t pretend to insist that any photograph tells only one story. Each viewer connects the image to his/her own perceptions and memories and together they create their own stories, their own relationships. If I have to explain it, then I’ve failed.
Having said that, there’s still an overarching idea that photography must be representational. Computers allow us to create images that were impossible in an analog world. I remember Robert Bateman saying (of one of his abstract works), “It’s a painting. It’s not a painting of anything. It’s a painting.” Digital images allow us to create works that are abstract or non-representational as well.
I think we need to loosen our hold on definitions like photograph, image, digital art… For example, if I make 40 images at +1/0/-1 EV and combine those 120 images into an HDR panorama then push it around a bit in post-processing (like the image below) – is it still a photograph?
Two photographers whose work I admire are John Paul Caponigro and Stephen Johnson. Elizabeth Carmel is another. They all do landscape photography, and yet their styles are all very different. Each is using similar tools, yet they’re wielding them in their own ways. Photography begins with vision.
Okay, that’s it. Now go out and make some photographs!