Digital Photography: Art or Science?
Can you really classify digital photography? Is it a science or an art? Or is it a perfect blend? Let’s take a look at both sides so you can decide for yourself whether you can classify it as one or the other.
Well, looking at it from the ‘Art’ point of view, digital photography does give the one who takes the photograph an artist’s license because he is not bound by what he has captured as a picture. Digital photography means that a picture is no longer a reflection of reality. It allows you to modify your take on reality later with the use of digital tools available for this purpose.
The argument that just the photographer’s eye is what raises it to an art still holds true. Even though digital photography does mean taking pictures of what lies around us, it still means that it is the photographer’s artistic eye that gives us a new twist to the old thugs we see. In this sense, like all creativity, it is an art form. What pictures a photographer takes is his expression of his emotions. It is a visual representation of the art that exists in his mind’s eye when he looks around him. No two people take the same pictures, even if the subject is the same. Somehow, the person with an artistic bent of mind just takes the better picture.
The art goes beyond onto the computer screen. Once the pictures have been uploaded onto a computer, you can use your tools to do whatever you like with them. It really is like a painter with a subject. After he has finished depicting reality, his artistic compulsions take over and that’s what makes each picture unique. Between the camera and the computer, a lot of artistic inputs can be added.
Then again, you have the other point of view that it is a science. If it weren’t for science, would digital cameras be? I think not. In a painting, everything from scratch springs from the artist’s eye. Here, one can argue, the picture exists and then the photographer clicks and contains it within a little chip for posterity. When it goes onto the computer, it goes on as a picture. What the photographer or anyone else does with them is to change and make them better. The camera while taking pictures can be adjusted perfectly to ensure the best possible picture. The computer has digital tools that are used for all the functions like contrast, color adjustment, quality enhancement, etc. There are very specific steps that one needs to take in order to make a great picture. This is why the people who argue it is a ‘Science’ feel strongly about it.
Can we really judge from this? It’s tough. So perhaps it’s just a paradox. That no matter what anyone says, it need not be the one or the other. Or it could be both. It would really depend on the person who is taking the picture. How does he or she look at it? This is usually a good touchstone to determine how people look at digital photography.