Friday, April 18, 2008

Mouse click=art?

"McCalls 1929"





11" x 14"

#300 Cold Press Watercolor Paper


I am afraid that the mechanics and aesthetics of the realm of photography is swiftly passing into non-existence--replaced by computer graphics. The graphics generated by computers is fine and has a place in many venues of photographic display, but the excitement and ambience of taking a photograph [and I am basically talking about "black and white" photography] and working towards the finished product via darkroom is almost dead. Sitting dilettantes never get outdoors in inclement weather and ponder a scene and execute the actual taking of the scene--ever catch just the right fusion of reds, purples, yellows of the sun sitting on a below freezing late December evening; trek through a thick forest and discover a huge, old Black Walnut tree with a massive beryl growth on its side; battle pesky insects to find the Zinnia with a Honey Bee harvesting nectar? And that's just the beginning. Now comes the film processing and print production. Words and warnings bubble up: Caustic, corrosive, poisonous. Pungent orders assault the nose. I live in a city of 1.8 million and it used to be that there were nearly 35 photographic retail outlets catering to all phases of photography and supplying new and preowned equipment. There is one now. Eastman Kodak has scaled its photographic equipment and light sensitive materials way back. Yes, there are imports from Japan, England, and few from Germany, but specialized products are scarce and if it wasn't for the Internet the well would be dry. And the cost? Sky high! As an adjunct to my regular black and white work, I specialized in obsolete photographic process: Gum-bichromates, cyanotypes, argentotypes, bromoils, etc. A ton of chemistry and physics were used in the production of many of these processes. Securing chemistry for them now is rigidly controlled and the expense of shipping is ridiculous.

The question here is...does the experience for computer graphic creators match the older experiences of traditional photography--experiencing the sciences. Does one exercise the knowledge of chemistry, physics, hands on techniques or is the aesthetic experience to be found in "mouse clicking".

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