Re: An Actual Photograph; was list minders

From: Joe Smigiel ^lt;>
Date: 03/16/05-09:02:12 AM Z
Message-id: <>

>>> 03/16/05 1:14 AM >>>
>>According to your definition of photography, the final image must form
without any extraneous aid...<<


I wouldn't put it quite that way. I'll backpedal a bit and say I think
the key here is the direct action of light which may involve an
evolution or permutation, but not a transcription, of the original
photosensitive material. Given this definition, perhaps the array of
ccd sensors in the camera could be a photograph, but as soon as that
electronic signal gets moving through the digital system, the data is no
longer photographic. And while most of use a camera in the process of
making photographs, that really isn't necessary. The camera can also be
used to make other sorts of nonphotographic prints.

Heck, we are photographs as I've proven to myself many times when that
elusive glowing orb in the sky finally appears 'round these parts. I
just think an inkjet print is a different sort of print and should be
referred to differently.

As far as the other emulsion types you mention (Polaroid, calotype,
etc.) are they not sufficiently sensitive to form a direct image given
enough (extreme) exposure without having to develop them? I know
factory and handmade silver-gelatin papers are. Obviously the addition
of chemical development makes the latent image appear, but wouldn't a
direct image appear with these materials given sufficient exposure?

Although I'm playing Devil's Advocate a bit here, I know I feel
differently when I make what I am calling one of many different types of
POP or DOP photographic prints than when I run a digital file through a
computer system and have it print out via a machine by spattering ink
onto paper. If anything, the latter feels more like
computerized/mechanized watercolor painting to me. Similarly, I feel
different when executing an oil painting or a watercolor via brush.
They are all different media. They feel different and, for the most
part, look different.

I took a digital illustration course once using Painter software and
quickly abandoned it after the course ended. The results lacked the
facture of the true painting processes. But the really spooky thing
that turned me off about it was the fact that the electronic stylus on
the digital drawing pad was so smoothly traversing that surface that it
just left me cold. It was slick and lacked the resistance and spring
found between brush and substrate when doing real paintings. I ended up
covering the pad with rough paper so that I could gauge the pressure I
applied to the pad in order to simulate certain types of brushstrokes.

Now, those digital illustrations I made using that software and output
devices are no more paintings than inkjet prints from digitally captured
camera or scanned image files are photographs. Can you imagine the
response one might get by suggesting to a great painter that those
Painter digital files and resulting inkjet or laser or color xerox
prints that the files ended up on are paintings? I think you would be
eating a hog's hair brush.

What is the commonality that we find between POP, cyanotype,
silver-gelatin, Pt/Pd, gum bichromate, Polaroid, collodion,
daguerreotypy, etc., that allows us all to agree these processes are all
"photographic"? In contrast, why do many people (and I'm in the
minority but far from a lone voice on this) take exception to the term
photograph when applied to digitally produced imagery and inkjet prints?

Received on Wed Mar 16 08:59:34 2005

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