Monday, April 11, 2005

Modern Day Photographic Art

All great forms of art start somewhere. When it comes to photography, it started out with a simple camera that took pictures by flashing light in a large box and nowadays it's done with the advent of digital technology that allows for a plethora of pictures to be taken in a matter of seconds. This has not only give new life to the art of photography but it has launched it into its modern form: Capturing life as it happens, rather than capturing life as you see it standing still.

When photography began to be seen as a modern form of art, many photographers jumped at the chance to be shown in galleries across the United States. Since photographic art is highly subjective, many found themselves unable to capture the right style for the current trends. However, as more people began to appreciate photography and consider it indeed an art, the more photographers were able to go out into the field and take quality shots. While many are now done digitally, many of these artists still hold true to their film nature and develop their own pictures.

Developing one's own pictures in a darkroom allows for certain things to be done during development for effect. This can be darkening certain parts, lightening others or using pastel colors to enhance specific parts to stand out. While such effects can also be achieved by using a desktop graphic arts program, such as Adobe Photoshop ( or Paint Shop Pro (, there is something about them being done in the darkroom that still appeals to many photographers. Thus, they continue to use these seemingly "ancient" techniques to go about producing amazingly clear, crisp and beautiful pictures that hang in art galleries around the country.

For those that decide to upgrade from the old school film camera to the digital camera, and still attempt to be artists, they have a sharp learning curve to get under their belt in a relatively quick time. Now that desktop graphic programs are being used on a daily basis to enhance, animate and even change photographs taken by digital cameras, it's important that anybody going this route learn how to use such programs to the best of their advantage. Of course, you'll always have purists who don't want to manipulate their photographs, but many more will want to clear up or soft focus their picture with ease through some third-party program, if they can't already do it on their digital camera.

Many digital cameras allow for such dark room effects as black and white photos and sepia toned photos to be "shot" with various plug-ins that come as part of its package. Others allow for panoramic pictures to be shot, where the traditional film camera needs to be specially purchased in order to be able to take wide pictures. Other effects, such as soft focus, hard focus or even specific focuses can be included with the digital camera, which makes it very appealing to those artists who are feeding a passion and not a living. Many other effects can be added later, either by downloading plug-ins from the cameras web site or purchasing additional programs to be loaded onto the digital camera itself. This can be both useful and unnerving for someone who may be good at taking pictures but not so good with using their computer, and if this is the case, you can always call technical support or read manuals to walk you through the steps in order to use the latest techniques digitally as opposed to the old-fashioned dark room habits.

When you work a forty-hour a week job along with taking pictures most of your days, it is kind of hard to sit in a darkroom trying to achieve the right effects for your photographs in order to get them out into the public eye. Thus, the digital camera serves this purpose while catering to their individual photographic eye. It's the ideal solution for the artist on the run; nowadays, with most artists not making a living from their art, and only a small percentile making a decent living from it, no wonder many have turned to the digital camera to supplement their bread-and-butter job.

This is the evolution of the modern day photograph and its place in the art world. Soon, many artists fear digital pictures and art will overtake the more traditional by-hand methods, and if this is the case, everyone will want to begin to dive in and learn how to use a digital camera and graphic arts program on their computer. After all, who wants to be left behind when traditional art goes to the way of the dinosaur?

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