IMAGING IS PHOTOGRAPHY - OH, IS IT?
article is written by a relatively recent devotee of photography (about
9 years ago), who like most converts tends towards bigotry about the
subject. Briefly, having always had a camera, I suddenly decided to
make photography my hobby. A few years later I discovered black &
white photography & got really bigoted about that, even to the
extent of calling the practice of colouring prints with dyes, painting
& not photography.
great & good tell us that digital imaging is photography. The
Royal Photographic Society accept it as same, Camera Club organisations
do likewise. So, what possible grounds can I have for vehemently disagreeing
do not pretend to be an expert in photographic history, therefore
the following is somewhat simplistic. Photography, from its earliest
inception, has been a process of producing an image by allowing light
to pass onto film coated with a chemical solution which was sensitive
to same. The negative thus produced then being used to produce a positive
by allowing light to pass through it onto material coated with another
chemical solution, which again was sensitive to light. During the
above processes, a certain amount of adjustment being possible to
make the finished image different to that which was photographed.
This positive could then be treated in a number of ways to change
its appearance, such as toning with a variety of chemicals which would
cause a reaction in the emulsion forming the finished image.
photography first appeared it produced the same reaction in many painters
as digital imaging produces in many? photographers. It was regarded
as an upstart way of producing what they were doing with their skill.
There was also probably an element of fear that it would jeopardise
Imaging, or what I choose to call pixelography has some parallels
with photography. A finished image is produced which can be adjusted
in the computer, by changing the appearance of individual pixels on
the computer screen, to obtain virtually any image the producer wishes
to achieve. Its original can be a photograph made by the person involved,
or, by anybody else. It does not even need to be a photograph. A painting,
or drawing, can be scanned into a computer & then altered, or,
mixed with any other image. The finished product is then printed out
via a computer printer. Whether it be an ink-jet, or, laser printer,
what it is doing is placing ink or toner onto paper. The parallels
that I referred to above, lie in the adjustment, whilst the methods
are different, in principle they are the same. However, that is the
only similarity between the two processes. Pixelography is not using
light, or chemicals to produce, or change, its final image. Instead
it is using electrons in the computer to achieve it. This is not photography
any more than photography is drawing, or painting, therefore the finished
image is not a photograph, instead it is a computer print, pixelgram,
or whatever else you want to call it.
said all this, I can see ways in which a computer could be used as
a tool in photography. Given sufficient advance in scanner & printer
technology, it would become possible to produce a photographic negative,
then a positive from same, using photographic methods. This finished
print, could then be scanned into a computer & adjustments carried
out which were impossible by photographic methods, eg; removing telegraph
wires. The image would then be reversal printed onto transparent film,
this then being used as the negative to produce a normal photographic
contact print. I see this as a normal photographic progression, in
the same way that the introduction of enlargers allowed the use of
smaller film formats & obviated the necessity for all images to
be produced by printing out contact prints.
conclusion, I am not trying to say that there is anything inherently
wrong with pixelography, merely that it is not photography, and should
not be placed in the same context as photographs.
Bruce Carter........... 17/03/98
comments would be appreciated