I was recently asked by a person how they could take pictures like Holly Spring and I started off with saying how this sort of thing opens up a can of worms in my mind when it comes the art and world of photography, at least in the purest sense for me.
If you aren’t aware of Holly Spring and her work it’s really worth looking into. She has done some great stuff with a series involving daughter that is quite amazing. It’s imaginative and inspiring. Wondrous and full of dreams. The link to her Facebook page is below and I do recommend taking a look.
Now while I do enjoy and admire her work I have to also say that in my mind I cannot see it as a pure photograph. I can see it as a graphic manipulation because of how much was done in post to create this world that without the manipulation never existed. It makes me sad when people think of it as just a photograph because it’s a photograph sure but with a world digitaly created and/or heavily manipulated to obtain a vision the artist has in mind.
So then I wonder where is the line between photograph and graphic design? Are there steps or levels to this process? I mean Ansel Adams created amazing photographs with nowhere near the technology of today and used chemicals and tricks to change a photo to bring out highlights or boost contrast. There are also well known images where they were changed to add or remove people, add clouds, change frowns to smiles and more. Sometimes for good, other times for evil, these were done and changed the image to reflect an idea. How much change needs to be made before it is no longer a photograph but a mixture of mediums to create a work of art?
I cannot personally answer this question as all I can say is that for me I feel more comfortable calling what I do photography if I make as few changes as I can to obtain my vision. The photograph below is a good example. With only my camera, a small LED light panel and an old piece of black cloth I took this photo of a peach purchased from a local farm. It was then brought into Photoshop where upon opening Brightness/Contrast I boosted the contrast by a factor of 50 and lowered the brightness down to 25. Does that take away from this being photography? Obviously there is manipulation but is it still photography without crossing the line to being more of a digital graphic art? In my mind no but as for Holly Springs work, while amazing I feel it to be more of a combination piece blending photography and graphic design for a look into an amazing world and not strictly photography.
I guess my only point here is to say that while I love what technology has brought us I dislike how it appears to have changed what is a photograph in this world, just a pure photograph and nothing more.