“Not have I found the limits of the photographic potential. Every horizon, upon being reached, reveals another beckoning in the distance. Always, I’m on the threshold.” -W. Eugene Smith
The invention of the camera liberated painting from its reportage role. Gone was the need to make a likeness, detail the events of the story, painting was free to state emotions. True what had gone before contained a mental content however now painting could experiment and through imaginative interpretation allow the emotional content to predominate.
While the 19th century evolved and through the 20th century painters from the impressionists through the cubists and expressionists to the minimalists could to use colour, line and form to go directly to the emotional content of these work. The representational aspect of the job become coincidental and was pushed to the point so it became similar to lying on the grass making shapes out of clouds. Enjoyable as it might be it is secondary to the nature of clouds.
The introduction of the digital darkroom has with all this freedom to photographers. The number of tools to fix and enhance the camera’s capture when pushed to its extremes produces a variety of fascinating effects abstract painting. When included with the filters constructed into the greater software, images could be produced that any comparison to the first photograph is purely coincidental.
With the use of these tools, the skilled photographic artist may take the pop song and create, in visual terms, the lyric beauty of a baroque symphony or the down town jive of a jazz variation without a tree or high rise in sight. Just the light captured by the camera and fine tuned into something very different, something new that originates from the photographer.
The photographer has been liberated like the painter before them by technology. Now photographs can explore the total array of human experience including those who don’t have any words to state them. Large statements will undoubtedly be accessible by the photographer not just in physical terms. Like their painter counterparts a large canvas has become the order of the day. This canvas can express feelings rather than illustrate them denotes that the photograph has become an adult in the arts