Digital Photographs and Concepts of Art (James Reilly)

From Getty, James Reilly, the photograph conservation expert, comments about what digital photography has done: 
The important point is that, as the analogue structure goes away, it further erodes the notion that photography is a major art form in and of itself. …. Digital has undermined the notion of photography as an art form in itself. With digital, yes, you start with something, but it doesn’t even have to be a camera image. It’s so cerebral and manipulative. The art is in the manipulation. There is still a final product, but getting there is so different.
Granted that Reilly is speaking from the perspective of a conservator who works a lot with museums, and I think he might be excessively pessimistic but I also think he has his finger on an interesting point, and this viewpoint may help explain why some formerly industrial processes like print-making, letterpress printing and analogue photography are making a significant comeback among artists.

By Paul Romaine

Paul Romaine is a grant writer and independent curator in New York City.

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