“Do not have I came across the limits of the photographic potential. Every horizon, upon being reached, reveals another beckoning in the distance. Always, I am on the threshold.” -W. Eugene Smith
The invention of the camera liberated painting from its reportage role. Gone was the requirement to generate a likeness, detail the events of the story, painting was free expressing emotions. True what had gone before contained a psychological content however now painting could experiment and through imaginative interpretation allow the emotional content to predominate.
While the 19th century evolved and throughout the 20th century painters from the impressionists through the cubists and expressionists to the minimalists could to utilize colour, line and form to go straight to the emotional content of their work. The representational part of the job become coincidental and was pushed to the level that it became similar to lying on the grass making shapes out of clouds. Enjoyable as it may be it is secondary to the type of clouds.
The introduction of the digital darkroom has given this freedom to photographers. The range of tools to fix and enhance the camera’s capture when pushed to its extremes produces a selection of fascinating effects. When added to the filters built into the higher software, images can be produced that any comparison to the first photograph is purely coincidental.
With the use of these tools, the skilled photographic artist will 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 with out a tree or high rise in sight abstract art. Just the light captured by the camera and fine tuned into something completely different, something new that comes from the photographer.
The photographer has been liberated like the painter before them by technology. Now photographs can explore the entire range of human experience including those that don’t have any words expressing them. Large statements is likely to be accessible by the photographer not merely in physical terms. Like their painter counterparts a big canvas is now the order of the day. That canvas can express feelings rather than just illustrate them denotes that the photograph has become an adult in the arts