Has digital technology shaped the aesthetics of photography

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by Mainecoonmaniac, Jan 23, 2018.

  1. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    For good or bad, has digital technology shaped the aesthetics of photography?
     
  2. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    I am not sure what you mean by this , but I can say digital technology has completely opened the doors for alternative process via digital negs. Which allows for more permanent and varied printed forms to enter the marketplace.
     
  3. OP
    OP
    Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    I agree it has opened doors for the alternative process. I'm one of the many that make digital negs. Let me clarify this post. I'm one of the old dogs that's been photographing before digital technology. The level of digital manipulation of images today is different than 20 years ago. There are a lot of tools at the disposal of photographers including HDR, focus stacking, digital burning dodging and control of saturation. Have these tools changed the taste of what is considered to beautiful in photography?
     
  4. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    IMO - no Digital has not really changed the aesthetics but rather sped up the ability to do creative things. I too like you are an old dog, and I can say other than focus stacking , I have not seen anything new, We were stitching images in the 60' 70's and 80's with incredible accuracy and skill

    Ok I lie, 3D printing is going to change the art scene in a tremendous way if some of the projects being proposed come to fruition. Imagine a tree, a very big tree, then imagine a drone carrying a specialized camera recording thousands of one to one details of said tree.. then imaging a support the height of a tree made of rebar and materials that one can apply 3 D imaged sections of this tree like a big puzzle that then put in the right location lets say AGO and the tree is then assembled piece by piece... this may be closer to the realm of reality than one would think...

    But now that I think of it maybe this is not so altering as large dinosaurs have been brought back to life in museums.

    PS was designed to mimic what we did years past, I do not think those designers had the aesthetic knowledge of photography to try to create something new on their own... that may be the question ..What is really new...
     
  5. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i don't think digital technology has changed our aesthetic appreciation or taste / what is considered beatiful in photography. i too have been doing it since
    before digital, back when the vhs was around and you could still buy panatomic x.
    like bob said a lot of what is being done now had already been done before now it is just easier or faster ... i think we are in exciting times
    not only for photography becasue one can make some sort of 1830s print from a minox negative or a 3d tree but because of the things
    that haven't even been done yet. i remember having a conversation with someone in around 1994 when holograms went from being SUPER expensive
    to being disposable postage stamps &c and i daydreamed outloud about some sort of 3D marker or illuminated
    "thing" that people would put up where historic buildings and sites were, kind of like a diorama but different ... a few weeks ago eric rose posted a link to
    people making modern 3d printed lithophanes ...
    i think the digital technologies have opened up a new world of possibilities for people with creative minds and in a way reinforced what we already knew.
     
  6. tedr1

    tedr1 Member

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    In the sense that digital hasn't altered judgement of truth and lies, beauty and ugliness, things haven't changed.

    In the sense that digital processes have enabled regular folks to do things once possible only for experienced professionals, and some things even they couldn't do, yes things have changed a lot.

    Just as Mozart transplanted into today would be using electronic musical devices in addition to violins and pianos, so also the next Ansel Adams is already using smartphone and whatever the latest the latest version of photoshop is. He (or she) just isn't famous yet!
     
  7. blockend

    blockend Member

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    Digital technology has democratised an underlying tendency for surrealism that has always been around. Steroid pumped HDR landscapes, chromatically saturated portraits, and cut and paste images have always been a possibility, it's just that the binary nature of digital imaging has taken the sweat and discrimination out of realising them. Film photography has always been an abstraction, seen through the colour choices of the manufacturer, and the veil of silver halides, and most people contented themselves with those choices. Now photography is a blank canvas on which to draw dreams, some of which hold up to scrutiny better than others.
     
  8. jim10219

    jim10219 Member

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    Digital technology has most assuredly shaped the aesthetics of modern photography. How could it not? There are so many things available with digital technology that weren't even possible back in the film days. And of the many things that were possible to do in the darkroom, most of them have become orders of magnitude easier and quicker to do! It's greatly expanded both the audience and the artist. Everything has changed due to digital technology! HDR photos were hugely popular for a while. That's a style that has no film analog. Photo manipulations and surrealist photography is everywhere theses days and can showcase effects and edits that would have verged on near impossible back in the film days. But these days children are doing it on their phones. This has opened up whole new worlds of subject, themes, and perspectives never before possible. Could you imagine getting ahold of satellite photographs of every square inch of Earth in before the internet? It's even revolutionized photography in the scientific realm. Higher speeds, greater spectra, and lower light recordings, not to mentions the transfer of those images from remote areas in a timely matter, have changed just about everything we thought we know about everything. The Hubble Space Telescope wouldn't ever have been considered if it weren't for digital technology. But now we all have free images to do with as we please of light that probably hasn't existed for billions of years! It's even shaped the way we view photographs. Most photographs never even make it to physical print anymore. In the old days, that was the only way you could view one.

    Now, does that mean that digital technology has changed everyone's personal aesthetics? No. Of course not. But in the greater scheme of it all, I struggle to fathom a reasoned argument where one would attempt to suggest that digital technology has had no effect on aesthetics in photography in general.
     
  9. faberryman

    faberryman Subscriber

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    Perhaps digital has shaped fashion or fad, and particularly the longevity thereof, but it has not had an effect on underlying aesthetics.
     
  10. blockend

    blockend Member

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    Modern photography, which means digital photography, is popularly seen as "loose reality". That is to say definition has never been higher, and the platforms on which it is seen more open to resolving that definition, but assumptions regarding the veracity of its content have rarely been more open to question. Photography has long been a balancing act between representation and abstraction, but digital has compounded that negotiation, trading detail for reliability. It's absolutely real, but loosely so. Visual truthiness, if you will.
     
  11. Ko.Fe.

    Ko.Fe. Subscriber

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    Here is absolutely no difference between digital and analog photography. You could crank saturation, contrast and sharpness, but Polaroids/FuFilm is still crapier :smile:.
    It is PP which has bad taste adepts. Would it be amateur or Saldago over processing. But here is hand coloring back then. Horrible...
     
  12. wyofilm

    wyofilm Subscriber

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    Excellent Points!

    To those I would add some other changes ...

    1. There is another thread on Photrio about which is the last new camera you bought. It was a huge surprise to me to see how few new cameras were purchased. Mostly used, and often held onto for a very long time. The digital world seems exactly the opposite. Buy new, keep for a short period of time. I don't know if that is because digital is relatively new, modern consumerism, or a fundamental difference between analogue and digital. In the first case, the camera means little, but film type, developing technique, darkroom, means a lot. In the latter case, I suppose the camera along with Lightroom/PS means everything. The digital arms race for 'pro' cameras is a negative in my opinion. It would be one thing if they lasted a life time, but they don't. And really aren't you just a bozo if you haven't purchased the newest ultra high rez DSLR (or a least I think that is a prevailing opinion out there.)

    2. The second might only apply to me. I finally abandoned digital because I didn't have the discipline for it. It cost nothing to press the shutter, so I consequently put little time and effort into visualization, composition, etc. There are tremendous digital artists out there. They have greater talent and discipline than I do.
     
  13. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi wyofilm

    maybe i am different than a lot of people who use digital cameras
    but i had a d100 amd now a d200. the d100 i gifted to one of my kids
    and i happily use the d200 for commercial jobs and plan on using it until it dies.
    the 100 is 15+ years old the 200 a few years less.
    and when i buy a new Dslr its going ot be a D300 ( or maybe just fix the d200)
    i know people who do commercial work, magazines and publications &c
    they haven't bought anything but a few d300s and have used them for 10+ years.
    the only thing that goes is the shutter and for less than 200$ a new one can be installed
    its like the price of an overhaul.
    im not a heavy believer of the whole instant upgrade cycle that a lot of hardcore film users
    claim digital users are on. maybe amateurs upgrade incessantly to stroke their egos
    ( film users do the same, and have GAS so it is no different ) but professionals
    might not do it as often, or people i know don't ...

    YMMV
     
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  15. wyofilm

    wyofilm Subscriber

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    John, I am more to your way of thinking about cameras: buy, use, keep until dies. I purchased one dslr, a D90 in 2007?, and have used it exclusively since. The quality of the images have been fine, but the camera is fading ... It has developed of/on error message after ever picture taken (strange message as nothing regarding the pic is wrong!). I bought my wife a Fuji T something or other in 2014 and it started acting flakey a year ago. (When, if, I buy another digital camera, it will be a micro4/3). Now one might think that I am hard on cameras, but I'm not. The digital cameras seem to be hard on me, though!

    I might be wrong, but the speed that new camera models enter and a leave the market is dizzying and suggestive of serial buying.
     
  16. Maris

    Maris Member

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    Making pictures by embedding optical images in sensitive surfaces and gazing at the visible results is one thing. At the least there is a hard correspondence between the optical image and the picture that results. The aesthetic of photography, at its heart, lies here.

    Taking an optical image and using a digital camera to pulverize it into pixel dust is another matter. Pixel dust is infinitely malleable and can be used to make pictures with or without reference to anything in particular. Curiously, the acolytes of pixel dust seem, in the majority, to want to make pictures that look like photographs.

    The aesthetics of photography shape the use of digital technology.
     
  17. Craig75

    Craig75 Member

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    the fact you can take photos that are physically impossible with a film camera means that of course it has.
     
  18. jtk

    jtk Subscriber

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    The amateur's film obsession with fine grain, prioritizing that over maximum detail, has been eliminated with digital photography, unless the skilled digital photographer wants to see noise or shoots and scans film...well scanned film grain (e.g. with Nikon) is always sharper than optically rendered film grain.
     
  19. Ces1um

    Ces1um Subscriber

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    Yup. Most photos are now in portrait rather than in landscape because that's how you hold your phone.
     
  20. Alan Edward Klein

    Alan Edward Klein Member

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    “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”
     
  21. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    Yes. Emphatically YES!
    The digital revolution has changed.....everything. The aesthetics, the language, the process, the industry, the value of a photograph, the profession....everything.
    I find the (dramatic) impact that digital photography has had on the language most disturbing / depressing.
     
  22. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    When everything gets easy to do, nothing seems to get done well.
     
  23. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    +1

    Over sharpened, over saturated, over done, over shot and near complete lack of composition and taste. Other than that an acceptance of any damage that Fauxto$hop can provide.
     
  24. Ste_S

    Ste_S Member

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    That's not exclusive to digital photography, and taste is subjective.

    However the trend at the moment is for ultra-sharp, noise free high res images for pixel peeping. Not my cup of tea for sure, but I'm not going to criticise someone's taste
     
  25. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    nothing is easy to do with digital technology. it gives the appearance that it is but it is not, and probably is more difficult than with film the old fashioned way.
    and people who constantly and consistantly proclaim that using a digital camera and digital "tools" and a pigment printer
    is easy really have no idea what they are talking about.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2018
  26. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    It is not the difficulty it is the over doing which can be done in with analog. There is more manipulation that can be done with analog and digital before "blowing out". Ansel Adams cited that as why he preferred to do black & white. His color work was stunning often.
     
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