Egor Shapovalov

 

 

If the model is the photographer’s girlfriend, she must really inspire him.

The best photographers these days have clued in that digital, by itself, sucks. The value of digital photography is that it is an all-encompassing medium. It is all types of photography.

Digital images are nearly impossible not to tweak. It’s as if there is hardly such a thing as a “raw” digital image. With raw analog, you had a handful of variables: camera, lens, film, F-stop, shutter speed, focus. Everything else was an add-on or a “special technique” – like filters, hairspray on the lens, moving the camera with the shutter open, non-standard chemical treatments of the negative or positive in development.

With the advent of digital – in addition to all the novel controls the cameras come with – we have an entirely new creative layer in Photoshop. The tools that were only available to masters of analog photographic technique are now presets in Photoshop that a five year old can use on digital images. And that’s presets. That’s baseline.

We now have the ability to create final images that imitate any camera, filter, lighting setup, special effect, or film type. It’s now so easy to doctor images that celebrities hire photo managers to manipulate every image of them that appears on the Web or in print, even supposed ‘candid’ pics for People magazine. But that’s a whole other conversation.

OK, I’ll concede that there probably is such a thing as a raw digital image. You can, of course, tell the difference between to lenses on the same camera with all other settings the same. My point is that the days of ‘raw’ Diane Arbus documentary art pics is over. I would argue that these days, given the same subject, your average Canadian ten year old can take a photo with the crappiest cell phone camera and tweak it in Photoshop to look indistinguishable from an Arbus image. That ease of manipulation has changed 21st Century photography incalculably.

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