Has digital technology shaped the aesthetics of photography

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

  1. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    overdoing it over analog ?
    people have been doing the same thing
    with film and chemistry and paper since the beginning.
    not everything is an ansel adams print. ( also heavily manipulated )
    i could go on and on but the horse is dead .
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2018
  2. skorpiius

    skorpiius Member

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    I think this may be changing though. It seems the technological difference between a 2002 and a 2007 DSLR is far more than between a 2013 and 2018 digital camera. I feel with DSLRs they are approaching the maturity of digital film SLRs, where the next model of a top Canon or Nikon might only come out every 10 years.
     
  3. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    There is no such thing as a "pigment printer" in this sense. Another misleading marketing myth. True process pigments would never fit through those tiny inkjet nozzles. That's why they have to use such complicated blends dyes, pigments, and lakes, and so many different colorants which will inevitably fade or shift at different proportional rates. A real color pigment print is something entirely different.
     
  4. michr

    michr Member

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    Here's a few things I can think of off-hand, mostly due to the cell phone camera revolution. The selfie, and specifically the selfie portrait distance. It takes some practice and creativity to make a flattering image of oneself holding a camera at arm's length. Thankfully we're past the "duck-face" era. Purists would probably be revolted at the distortion of the proportions of the face, but there's no doubt that's an aesthetic feature of the tool, if not an outright deliberate choice. Along the same lines, is the Instagram filter and its analogs. Filters can range from a color cast, to altering the size or color of the eyes, to adding cartoon-like features to the subject. There's most likely going to be a portion of the current generation who has few photos of themselves saved that aren't manipulated in this way. This is just a fad, but it's opened the door for the general public to manipulate their photos without any professional photographer's tools.

    Again, with the front-camera, since that seems to be the icon of the era. The portrait lighting dual-camera, or IR contour detection of the newest high-end cameras (like the iPhone X). Absolutely ordinary people with no aspirations to be photographers can take quite good portraits, well lit, on a very small sensor but with an apparent shallow depth of field. It's a particular look, and rather generic.

    The digital era, most recently, as camera sensors have surpassed 35mm film, has changed the baseline for what photography is in the hands of the masses. Aesthetically, the grainy mushy Instamatic is gone. The strong shadows of the flashcube look is a thing of the past. This is an era of seeing clearly, with precision, as if under a microscope. (edit: due in part also to the deep depth of field of this format)

    What's certain is that the tools and the engineers behind the tools are driving much of the look of the post-film era. The defaults are very good. But it takes photographers and artists to supersede them.

    PS One thing that stands out, that's absolutely under-represented in history is what I'd call the "evening photograph". The photographs taken of people together, or outside, in the evening, at dinner, wherever, without flash, utilizing the low-light capabilities of the digital sensors in their phones. This is a particular look and ambiance, that although such things were possible 30 years ago, the lenses were necessarily faster, and on a larger format, didn't have the deep depth of field.
     
  5. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Hundreds of millions of dollars spent on R&D, and nothing yet in digital technology can come close to arriving at subtle hues and their relationships that any decent watercolorist can mix in seconds. But people prefer to paint with a camera! Most of them don't know the difference between that and a paintball war. Some of the galleries are worse. Smear sugar and jam and honey all over something and call it color. I call it noise.
     
  6. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    We must remember that Kodak [Agfa, Ansco, Luminere, ...] got their money for investment and research and development from many people taking ducks in a line snapshot, posing with cars, and in general snapshots. The consumer film end of business was primarily driven average people taking snapshots, and digital cameras have gone through that cycle. Now is the time for smart phones.
     
  7. trendland

    trendland Member

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    Definitivly Y E S ....!
    But it is hard to say in wich direction.
    And it is very dependable.
    Most amateuric photographers make more worst shots ever with digital, but they did not care to this as ever.
    Most proffessional photographers saw advantages at the begining of digital in regard of much more speed in workflow.
    Then they realized what they did with this "saved" time (sitting whole nights bejond their computer screens).
    But they noticed much more speed in reinvestment for new equipment years on years.
    The photography itself can't suffer from bad photographers. But people who have to watch at new artists became first resistances against bad photography.
    Ob the other hand a "retro" trend with film based photography should be the
    opposite of a guarantee to good shots.
    Much to often it is an effect - and not more.
    It is a real problem with documentary photography - "Is this shot real ? - no it is made with digital equipment! "...:cry:

    with regards
     
  8. Bob Carnie

    Bob Carnie Subscriber

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    Salgado uses a digital camera , are not his images real?
     
  9. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    nope, he's a hack/wannabe probably used his phone, and he is over doing it ! ( NOT ! ) LOL
     
  10. trendland

    trendland Member

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    Bob the question to be real or possible not real within documentary photography is not a philosophical question like the speach after Polonius said :"I hear him comming.Let's withdraw, my lord" !
    It is more in concern of digitally manipulatable images - so a digital shot is not a good proof any more.

    with regards
     
  11. jtk

    jtk Subscriber

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    Now is the time for APS and full frame video/still cameras...for video as well as still display...

    DSLRs are on the way out because their mirror boxes require the dimensions of old fashioned still cameras and it's hard to make a DSLR quiet enough for good video/sound. Therefore Sony and Fuji...and Red...are becoming dominant.
     
  12. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    DSLRs are on their way out because most people have cell phones that take photographs so for them that is enough, why spend more money?
     
  13. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Quality work will arrive when certain people start to realize what a particular generation of technology CAN'T do and start to work within those limitations. That's always been the case. The whole question of specific tools themselves is secondary. But everytime something new shows up, an adolescent mentality will be quick to make a car wreck out of it. Film, digital, no difference.
     
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  15. Maris

    Maris Member

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    Surely this is baloney. I've seen a lot of Ansel Adams' prints up close and from all angles and there is some almost invisible spotting and knifing here and there. But I'm sure Ansel did not intend the spotting and knifing to be part of the image content of his photographs. The prints are, no more and no less, than an accurate record of all the actinic light that hit them in the darkroom. There is no hand-work in them, no manipulation of any kind. The photographic cycle, development and fixation, is absolutely dispassionate (mere chemistry and physics) and cannot add or subtract objects depicted in the pictures it makes visible.

    Clearly a similar standard applies to ink-jet prints. They are a technical record of all the ink that was squirted at them and stuck; again no hand-work, no manipulation.

    Contrast this with, say, an oil painting. This is all hand-work, all manipulation and sometimes very admirable because of that.

    The deadest horse of all in the critical analysis of picture making is the mantra "it's all manipulated" or "everything is manipulation". Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't. To insist otherwise is, if not misguided, at least empty of useful meaning.
     
  16. OP
    OP
    Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    Of course, his images are real. He is a documentary photographer and I would think he wouldn't break photojournalist code of conduct by manipulating his images too far. I'm more concerned about changing the aesthetics through apps like these.
    http://global.meitu.com/en/products#Mp
    Meitu is definitely changing how people perceive themselves in a digital image.
     
  17. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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  18. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Thank you. I get tired of responding to the same inaccurate drivel from the same source, even though I agree with other things the source has posted.

    Thank you that is a great example. Ansel Adams did not add nor delete detail as some earlier famous photographers did as often as they woke up.
     
  19. Luckless

    Luckless Member

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    “I am sure the next step will be the electronic image, and I hope I shall live to see it. I trust that the creative eye will continue to function, whatever technological innovations may develop.” – Ansel Adams
    He sounded pretty keen on exploring and exploiting what digital brought to the world of photography.
     
  20. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    What AA did is actually closely study the light with a deep respect for the subject, then conscientiously attempt to translate that effect into the print. I grew up in the same mtn light and understand. 99% of even professional nature photographers are nothing more than mercenaries trying to bag a stereotypical payday postcard. They might know how to wait for light, but lots of them see nothing. Many times I've watched the duration of a sunset with my view camera right there all set up, and didn't even trip the shutter because I didn't want my visual experience interrupted. Digital just tempts people even more to be visually illiterate and substitute shallow stereotypes for actual beauty. You can always get another picture. You can't repeat life. Want fake? Go to the movies. Want a life? Take time to look.
     
  21. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    With respect to the question asked ....
    Yes.
    But maybe not so much the "capture" end of the question.
    The aesthetic is as much a function of the way photography is actually viewed as anything else.
    That direct pipe of "capture" to (usually) a handheld screen rewards certain things more than the rewards one receives from viewing a curated set of prints or slides or a book.
    Immediate impact is critical. Subtle hints and tones - not so much.
    There is wonderful digital photography out there - scads of it - but sometimes it can be hard to find under the deluge of selphies and pictures of lunch.
    There always were lots of inane and unremarkable photos, but we rarely got to see them (unless they were our own).
     
  22. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Look at the positive side of progress. There was no use for hula hoops once that fad ended. At least selfie sticks can be repurposed for growing tomato vines.
     
  23. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    couldnt' agree more !

    people who are anti digital as some respondants to this thread ( and others like it )
    seem to forget that anything but a straight, un dodged, un burned no contrast control print
    made from a out of the box - box speed film at recommended development time is
    manipulated. excessive slow or fast shutter speeds=manipulatoin
    zone development is manipulation ...

    suggesting ansel adams DIDN'T manipulate his work is about as far fetched as one could be
     
  24. DREW WILEY

    DREW WILEY Member

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    Oh gosh. Even pointing a camera a certain direction means you've artificially selected something out of total context and reinterpreted it. All photographs are illusions. But some are a lot less corny than others.
     
  25. Pioneer

    Pioneer Subscriber

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    I am not even sure that question can even be answered. What aesthetic is being referenced?

    If I had to guess I would say that digital has had an impact on photography as it would seem that most changes in technology over the years have affected the craft.

    Changes in black and white sensitivity to color.

    Changes from black and white to color.

    Changes in the format size of film and the cameras used for each format.

    Changes from a chemical process to a digital process.

    Changes to using software presets to interpet the analog signal being recorded by the sensor.

    All of these have certainly impacted the aesthetics of photography. But to make a real change people have to accept those changes. With the rapid success of digital technology I don't think anyone can realistically argue that public tastes have not changed.

    Software engineers are now influencing everyone's aesthetics. Aren't you impressed?
     
  26. David T T

    David T T Subscriber

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    YESSSS!!!!!!!

    Ahem. I mean, I agree. :D
     
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