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.
Dust Cover Artwork.
Gallery images Copyright © Garry R. James