Digital Photography, Drawing and Painting

When chemical photography ceased to be the mainstream process for producing realistic imagery, the quality and proliferation of photo like imagery increased. The cost and ease of capturing, editing and disseminating photo realistic imagery through digital means eclipsed chemical photography. There were also other subtle but probably equally profound changes.The nature and meaning of what a photograph is fundamentally changed. In her essay Digitisation and the Living Death of Photography by Anne Marie Willis describes a zombie like possession of chemical photography by a photo like digital process. While agreeing with her position, I would add, that the digital environment, while not only covertly occupying the ground once inhabited by photography it has also altered the nature of drawing and painting. Methods of image production once distinct, are now seamless within the digital environment. Digital creation software produced by companies such as Adobe, Corel and many others have redefined the manner in which imagery is made. Photographic, drawn, painted, still, moving, 2D and 3D are all represented in a very convincing manner, all responding with considerable veracity to the visual characteristics of the original media. Examination of the veracity of the digital media quickly leads us to Jean Baudrillard’s Simulacra, which provides us with one very useful reading of the situation, and his position here is borne out by the unavoidable differences between the digital representations of traditional media, and the media themselves, that is the direct versus the indirect. Paint is sticky and smelly, its digital representation is not, and we can say something similar in varying degrees for other previously mentioned traditional media. Another interesting difference between the digital and the traditional forms of media is their use by artists and designers. Previous differences between the various practitioners have like the media themselves become seamless. For example Fine artists and Graphic Designers once separated not only by the intention of their work, were also separated by the tools and media associated with their practice. These differences become unimportant within a digital environment and a remaining question is the nature of this ubiquity. The stereotypical cross-disciplinary renaissance model may be considered here, which relies on difference. Other ideas such as those discussed in Jorg Heiser’s Frieze article on Super Hybridity may also be considered.Laurence North
Art by Laurence North can be seen at;,_Digital_Works/work_-1.html

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