This post, no doubtingly, will offend some people and I feel that before I begin this rambling I will mention and remind the reader that this is one man’s opinion. A man that is only a blogger, and who’s opinion should not effect your own. I might start this post with the idea of Adobe Photoshop. Lets picture this wonderful piece of software, and might I call it a murderer of an art form. I love how simple it has made editing and touching up photos. I can get the right colors and the exact exposures to bring out beautiful displays on any photo I take with almost any camera. I can do this all with a touch of a button by using the so called “lazy-man” professional photographer, PHOTOSHOP! My experience is amateur to say the least and I have never called myself a photographer, I have minimum use with a dark room going back to when I was in High school. However if my pictures from my phone can look as good as someone who labors away climbing mountains, waiting for the right exposure and also in a dark room testing their photos, I have to say that Photography is dead and no longer can be considered an art.
I recently took a beautiful woman on a date to a nice restaurant and we began to talk about our likes and dislikes about certain things. A causal get to know you type date, in a fun atmosphere with good food. To protect the woman I will call her Shelly. Shelly had dark silky hair, big hazel eyes, and a nose that was a little crooked. She wasn’t the most beautiful woman, but she had moments of angelic charm. She asked me what my hobbies were and when she found out that I enjoyed art she rushed right in and said “I am an artist.” Surprised, I looked at her and said “You are too good looking to be an artist.” She smiled to amuse me, and said “no really I am. I am a photographer.” It was then that a shiver of horrific animosity climbed up my spine. I tried to calm myself and take a deep breath and while biting my tongue to not say something ridiculous or offensive, I asked “What do you like to take pictures of?” I should have left it at “I am a photographer” and change the subject to her house cat. She took the question and rolled with it like a 16 wheeled truck on an icy road, I could tell this was going to test every pretentious bone in my body.
She said “Oh I take pictures of everything. I love going hiking and getting pictures of the scenery. The other day I was out with a few friends and we were up the canyon and I saw this beautiful black bird in the sky. I took a picture of that and I’m really excited to get the pictures developed.” I told myself, wait a minute pull back on the reigns a bit, after all she did say a magical word “develop.” Perhaps I misjudged her, and obviously I could be wrong about my assumption of this Nazi Photoshop Queen. So I asked “Developed? I’m not exactly clear on the meaning of developed now a days. Would you mind telling me what it is that you do to “develop your photos?”
“It’s nothing really. I just hook up my camera to the computer and then edit them with Photoshop. Once I do that I put them on Facebook for everyone to see.” She paused to take a bite of our chips and salsa then continued “my friend is creating me a website so that I can sell them online. He says I’m really good.” Oh god! I tried to stay pleasant but what the hell I can let the hounds off the leash, I thought. “Photoshop, yes that is a wonderful tool. However I don’t think that the ability to use Photoshop and upload pictures on to a computer no longer attests to being a photographer or even an artist.” I could tell that she did not like my statement. The king of making dates awkward was at it again, after all being an opinionated person these days is difficult for most people to stomach. I’ll admit that if I was somewhat mildly interested in this woman I would have been able to shove some type of appetizer in my mouth and allow her to go on with her artistic endeavor, but poor Shelly wasn’t all that interesting. The dogs were finally running a-muk all over the restaurant.
“You know” I went on, “I find it interesting that every man, woman, and child claim to be photographers. Especially with this day and age where we have cameras on our phones, tablets, computers, its as if everyone can call themselves a photographer or an artist. Lets look at Facebook and the social media sites, we post pictures of our cats, dogs, what we had to eat, what the sunset looks like, hell…what we look like, and then we add a hash tag duck face selfie after that. To me, a photographer as an artist, has to fall completely in love with the entire process. A photographer makes the effort to climb up mountains, wait for the exact sun to hit the exact point, the right angle has to be thought through, the right exposure to the lens has to be placed and then after all the waiting and second guessing, finally snap the photo. After that the photographer has to fall in love with the romance of the different exposures and then developing the photos themselves over time in a dark room. This is the art form of photography. It is only after all of this, that one can call themselves an artist of photos. Too much, now a days, things are too easy for us, there is no real challenge or task to creating a beautiful picture. Anyone can go out on a hike, snap a picture with their phone, bring it home and edit it to look like an Ansel Adams original.”
Shelly replied with the best answer that she could, “Well I’m not one of these people. Like I said before I go out on hikes and work for my pictures. So what if I use Photoshop to edit my pictures, its a great tool.” I had to agree with her. She did go on hikes to take pictures, and Photoshop is a great tool. Afterwards I changed the subject quickly in order to ease the tension in the air, and the date ended fine after a lot of ass kissing.
This conversation of photography being an art has sat in my brain for far to long after my date with Shelly. Shelly has no idea that her comments about her being an artist made me want to puke and luckily I was able to keep the food down that we ordered from the restaurant. Any art form to me is about the detail, pain, the meaning, the expression. Yes, photography can be a beautiful art form. Although with the recent advancement of Photoshop and other software, the romance and strife of taking a picture no longer is needed. Thus the art of photography is dying. Where there is ease, there is no great accomplishment and art is an accomplishment.