Garry R. James DPAGB

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Digital Art - A Labour of Love



Digital Art - A Labour of Love


There  can be no doubt that digital imaging  has  had a  profound  affect on  photography  over the  few years since it became available to the masses. Photographers who were,  for instance, never interested in darkroom work can now easily and relatively cheaply process their images right through to the final printed picture.  They are also now able to do  many  things  that were never  possible in  the darkroom and so produce all sorts of  variations  in their work.   Landscape  photographers  no  longer  have  to  carry  around  a  chainsaw   to remove that offending telegraph pole from the scene.

Many  photographers  are  now  also  embracing  their  artistic  talents  in a  way  that  used   to be the sole domain of  'traditional art'  or  'paint on canvas'. The best of these have been  able to combine  a  natural  artistic  ability  into  their  work  and,  using  the digital  process,  can   now   produce   pictures  that  could  rival  any  traditional form of art; they are in truth producing 'Digital Art'.

It  is  a  fact that some of this  'Digital Art'  is  so far removed from the original photographic image that  it is more  closely  aligned  with  traditional  art  than  photography.  It  is  also  a  fact  that  some   images  are  produced   solely   from  the  creator's  imagination  and  was never part of  a  photographic image.  In  these  cases  it  is  not  always  clear  whether  the author  is  presenting the image as a  photographer  or  as  an  artist.

This  is  not  a  criticism,  far from it;  there  is no  reason  why  someone  cannot  be  both  a photographer  and   an  artist  and  even  be  good  at  both.    However,   I   have  for   some  time now  held  the  belief that this photographic  'Digital Art'  should  be treated as a  new form  of  photography and  should  be  categorised separately from the conventional type of  output  that  were  accepted  as  photographic  images.

This would seem to be fair to both traditional photographers, albeit digital photographers, and this new breed of 'Digital Artists' since it is difficult  to see  how the  two mediums can be properly  compared,  particularly  in a  competitive situation.  At the moment, so far as I am aware, only Natural History photography sticks to the rule that pictures must  embody the image as it was taken with little or  no manipulation to its content. Other  forms  simply  specify that the picture must be based on  a  photographic image.  Although there seems to be very little debate about this at the moment I am sure that it  will become  an issue  in the future.  For my  own work I loosely class pictures that couldn't have been produced in the  darkroom,  or that  emulate  traditional  art  effects,  as  'Digital Art'.

The pictures in this book therefore fall into this personal classification.  They  are all images that in  my opinion have been  improved  by the techniques used and are mostly pictures that  would  not  have  normally  'seen  the  light  of  day'.

It  is  for you the viewer to decide on my success in  producing  pleasing images using this digital  process  and  whether  or  not  you  consider  it  photography  or  art.


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