Photographer AND Digital Artist

November 19, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Oxford Street (4)Oxford Street (4) I describe myself as a photographer and a digital artist. Over the last eighteen months or so, my work has undergone something of a transformation. I began to find myself being frustrated by the limitations of what I could extract from the camera. Not because I am not a perfectly competent photographer who understands his craft, but because I wanted to say something more than was possible with a "straight" photograph, even one which could be worked on in my digital darkroom. And so, over these eighteen months, I have been metamorphosing from "photographer" to "photographer and digital artist", which means that I use my photographs, and therefore light and dark, shadows and highlights, as the tools of my art, just as a novelist uses words, a painter uses oil paints or a sculptor uses clay. 

This has been a liberating experience because I am no longer tied to a single photograph or a single perspective in any one image. This gives me room to challenge preconceptions and to capture the essence of my subject, rather than to create a photograph of record. I can create a sense of hustle and bustle, or a scene of calm...

Weir in the River VerWeir in the River Ver And I do not need to be any more worried about the exactitudes of accuracy any more than any other artist. This means that I am now free to inspire, to delight or to challenge preconceptions. And while I am not undermining the ability of "pure" photography to do all those things, either as photo-journalism or as a discipline in its own right, that is not the medium I choose to use.

I choose to take images and bend them to my will to create the image and the feelings that I want to convey. Of course, once the image has left my hands, it takes on a life of its own: I can no more tell people how to react to my images than I can tell them how to live their lives. But that is true of images, or words, of photographs, of novels or poems. My images live on in the perceptions that others develop of the image. But just as carefully-crafted words in a novel will chill, or warm, or enthuse, so I believe that a well-crafted image can challenge, delight or inspire and of course can continue to give delight in years to come. 

I know that my approach is anathema to many traditional photographers. But to them I say, we have been doing some of this for many, many years in the darkroom. Now we can do much more. But in fact, even as the photographer clicks the shutter button they are making artistic decisions, in terms of the lens they use (and they may only have the one lens), or the aperture, or the speed, or they may be allowing their camera to make those decisions for them. But these all determine what will come out of the camera. So why not take the freedom that is so granted and extend it? Why not see what happens if you combine two or three or more photographs together and play with the light. You may be amazed at the results.

My refreshed website has many more examples of photoartistic images. Take a look, and let me know what you like or what you dislike. I thrive on your feedback and your comments.


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