I have been trying to get a decent shot at this location for some time and then I discover this one in the files, so with a little bit of work……..da -da………..and here it is.
I have a lot of trouble with people who think that photography ends with the camera. I’ve been in exhibitions where visitors have asked whether the images have been photoshopped and also what camera was used. I get the impression that there is a new snobbery about images. If it’s been edited they dismiss it. If it’s digital, they dismiss it. Dorks of the first order, fed by some bigoted sections of the press which jump on the bandwagon of opposing ‘altered’ images. I agree when you are selling skin care products that you don’t ‘airbrush’ the complexion, but since when have photographs been the whole truth and nothing but… Whoever coined the phrase ‘photographs don’t lie’ have bamboozled the world ever since. Don’t these people know their photography history. There are brilliant examples of edited images from the earliest days, and for three good reasons. 1. To over come technical limitations. 2. To satisfy the demands of the photography market, and 3. Because photographers have the right to be creative….even with ‘the truth’. I cite one example of dark room practice which was always ‘the way it’s done’ and that is dodging and burning. Without it Ansel Adams would be just a ‘good’ landscape photographer. People generally are ill informed.
Two opposing views from reviews about the work of Camille Silvy, a French photographer who used wet colodian plates in the 1850s. Laura Cumming writing in the Guardian. ‘Silvy is always so far in advance. He exploits the double exposure, develops the collage and the dramatic reconstruction, exposes multiple images on the same negative.’ Whereas Martin Gayford writing for Bloomberg News says, ‘Image manipulation is a news story, and a scandal, in the 21st century……’His work (Silvy) is a window on an early Impressionist world and a reminder that photography had scarcely been invented before it began to lie.’
Lie; yes he said lie…….. I agree with him. ……What I’m challenging here is the assumption that photography is expected to be truthful and that only painters have the right to change things for expressive or creative reasons. All photography delivers shades of ‘the truth’. Point your camera in one direction and you depict a rural idyl, point it in the opposite direction and you see the oil refinery or building site. Holiday brochures long ago discovered this reality. Photo editing is photographies birthright. Photos always deliver ‘shades of the truth’.