Digital art is here to stay. This is a fact.
The software constantly gets better. Now you can do in minutes, on your home computer, what used to take ages in a lab.
I fear that many still don’t understand the difference between digitally manipulating a photograph to create a work of art, and simply turning a photograph into an oil painting by clicking a button.
I am certain I am not the only frustrated photographer who has worked for hours on end, digitally manipulating a photograph until it gets close to the idea in my mind and imagination, to be greeted by the remark: “ha, this is Photoshop”, said in a disparaging tone.
Of course I can understand that the result may not be to the liking of the viewer. That’s understood. Not even the greatest and most popular artist can expect the instant approbation of their entire audience, and the mere fact that this is new makes it particularly difficult for some people to understand or appreciate. And after all, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. But is it really reasonable to move from not liking what I do to annulling a whole new trend and direction in art?
I would like to share with you a little about my way of working.
Not coming from a film camera background, I don’t feel the need to be careful about my frames, the settings of the camera, etc, especially when I am on a walking spree, trying to capture as much as I can of everything around me. As much as I try to work with the right exposure, aperture or shutter speed, I find myself often not noticing, or simply forgetting, to change the settings. And yes, perhaps this is because I am well aware that all my mistakes can easily be corrected in my home lab, the Photoshop.
I am not a technical photographer. It is not extremely important for me that the photo is very sharp, or the colors balanced to an extreme degree. I am looking for more than a perfect frame. I am constantly on a quest for the “added value”. Many times the frame is just a starting point for something that ends up radically different from the original frame.
When working on an image, I keep going back to the frame, cropping and recropping, adding and subtracting, constantly changing and manipulating. After I am finished with the image, the frame may be hardly recognizable.
I know some are still far from accepting digital manipulation in photographs or digital art in general. This is partly because they think “oh, this is real easy”. It is not. It is simply a new way of working and trying to produce art that is worthwhile at the end of the day. Like all good art, it can be difficult to achieve and many times very frustrating.
In the two examples in this post, you can see the “before” and “after” of two pieces of my work, the “before” appearing above the “after” in both cases. Take a good look at them and see if this can be dismissed as ‘just photoshop’.
Shifra Levyathan describes herself as an ‘urban photographer’ has taken part in successful solo and joint exhibitions, while some of her work has been collected and published. You can find more information about her and her work on her website.