It is impossible to imagine the last 170 years without the presence of photography. Even though there is still certain skepticism about its artistic value, it is competing on a one to one level with all traditional art forms. As an invention, the fact of being able to render an everlasting image and to reproduce it massively is an art in itself. Once captured, the objective turns into the property of the photographer. After overcoming an endless list of technical difficulties over almost two centuries, we are able to carry with us people, places and cities on rolls of printed paper, turning them somehow into an anthology of our paths.
With digital technology, we can even leave behind the time in which, after taking pictures with the greatest care, we returned back home from trips with mediocre results of all photos taken. Currently, new user friendly computer programs, and lower camera prices make this medium accessible to a broader public. Even the developing process has been eliminated. Only one step away from nature, we can reproduce the perfect image of any chosen subject in any size we desire .This extreme accuracy allows us to travel through the scene and scrutinize segments that we would have otherwise skipped In short, we are exposed to an enlarged and amazingly enriched visual span. Contrary to what we may think, this apparent veracity is quite subjective as it relies on the selection of the photographer.
Now, let us review the more handcrafted side of this medium. The manipulation of the resulting image ,from its starting point by, let us call him from now on , the artist takes this then to a new dimension of such reality. The multiple printing sizes, the quality of the paper and many other factors in addition to the ones mentioned above makes out of this medium one of the most fascinating forms of contemporary expression.
The fear of the possible disappearance of what we so widely call artistic photography by being replaced by computerized images has no foundation. Digital imaging requires skills and technical knowledge for a perfect result and above all, creativity. A whole artistic venue, as long as it is a means not an end. Only news agencies should fear digital images. They get all sorts of fraudulent photomontages. As mass media consumers of newspapers and internet, we have to scrutinize and weigh what we see.
I have chosen a series of images for this edition that illustrates in part, the “elasticity” of photography.
Iris Ramler Stein