Sunday, June 5, 2011

Are Alisande's photo's art?

Alisande writes, “I have a small show at the library this month, most of the images taken with my E-520 and the 35mm macro. Some were processed with Topaz. I can remember when it wouldn't have occurred to me to exhibit "photoshopped" photography, but times have changed. Any why not? If an image is presented as art, anything goes. And my Topaz adjustments aren't exactly over the top.

“In any case, they're getting a lot of favorable comment. Some viewers think I simply shot the hydrangea twice--once in color and once in black and white, even though the Topaz version is much more purple and green than B&W.

“I'm happy to have this positive experience right now, because following cataract surgery a couple of weeks ago I can no longer use my left eye at the viewfinder. I suppose I'll get used to making the switch, but so far it's a struggle.”

The above site provides an oblique view of some of her photos, enough to get an idea of what she is about. While I am not interested in anything like an exhibition, I have her early prejudices against “photoshopping” -- sort of. That is, I photograph scenes from my hikes and they either come out the way I want or they don’t. If they don’t, when I look at them later on my computer, I simply delete them. But I do have Adobe Photoshop 9 on my computer and have played with it a time or two. Perhaps if I took an unusual photo that had a flaw that was not due to my photographic inadequacies, say a bit of “cotton” floating down from a cotton-wood tree, I wouldn’t see anything wrong with deleting it. I did delete some “orbs” and spots caused by sensor dust on my Pentax K20d and didn’t feel any guilt. (I do have the camera she refers to as well as the lens. I can sympathize with her difficulty with the viewfinder; which is one of the reasons I prefer an E1 when I am shooting Olympus and one of the reasons I bought a Pentax K20d.)

On the other hand, if my current photographic approach on hikes becomes boring, I may do some “experimenting” which would require my storing my photographs in “Raw” rather than in “JPEG” – something of a nuisance because one must “do something” with them in order to make them useable. Also, a Raw file is much larger than a JPEG file. I may indeed do that at some point, but I may still doubt that whatever I produce, even if it is as good as the photos of Alisande, is art. On the other hand I don’t feel critical of her or her photographs. I’m probably only a bit more ambivalent than she is.

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