From: Nick Makris (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: 11/02/01-11:52:14 AM Z
Your post sounds vaguely familiar - didn't you do one of these before?
My own take on this subject covers a fairly wide spectrum, "tools to purists
to downright reluctance".
The issue of bad work has been with us since the beginning, those that do
well will fair well and those that do not will fall through the cracks.
General acceptance has been the way and will always be the way. Who knows,
perhaps the public will come to accept the mediocracy you speak of - though
I certainly hope not.
True, the digital phenomena has brought about a plague of would be
artists/photographers. I for one find it a godsend - earlier in my career
it was not uncommon for me to spend 2 weeks making a montage for some
commercial project. Now, it is a fairly straight forward process and can be
accomplished in a matter of several hours or less. The application of image
creation has been forever enhanced.
I characterize the capabilities of digital manipulation as wonderful tool
and expedient. After all, it comes down to a matter of the creation of an
image as envisioned by an artist through the use of the available and most
useful tools. Adams comes to mind - how many of his images were in essence
straight photos with no manipulation or no use of tools to make the image
something it was not? I can think of numerous analogies in the world of
art. It's the degree of usefulness and the resulting acceptance that's
It's no different with digital. It's just another tool - you have to get in
there and find out how it works for you.
My 2 cents.
> I've been a digital advocate for over 30 years. My first modern computer
> was an IBM 360-50 with 120K of memory. (That's "K"!)It cost about 5
> as configured. We had some 1401 second gen stuff around but that was in
> phase-out at the time. I retired in 1996 as a managing systems programmer
> from the City of Los Angeles and managed the City's New Technology Group.
> My division was responsible for testing and evaluating new technologies
> the City. From bar code readers to mainframe computers.
> Just wanted to show that I am not a anti-digital bigot.
> I have however in the last year or so come to have some misgivings about
> the new digital art scene. I think the primary problem is that the ease of
> creation has lead to a flood of really bad art.
> I think there are two sides here -- digital media and digital creation.
> Look at music for instance. Almost all but diehard vinyl nuts listen to
> digital music today. I have no problem with listening to Beethoven's later
> quartets on CD on a fine system. This is digital media. Think of it as a
> transport mechanism.
> As a creation system in music we have Midi. Not bad, technically out of
> date, but workable. Needless to say I think we have a flood of bad music
> developed on home Midi systems. The ease of creation lacks the filtering
> function that writing a string quartet from the ground up with paper and
> pen or computer assisted composition.
> As for digitally "composed" photography, for the most part GIGO, garbage
> garbage out. Mind you this is not an absolute, just some generalities and
> observations here. I've recently seen a couple of "digital photography"
> shows here at Santa Fe local colleges. Abysmally poor compared to the
> "real" photography exhibits at the same schools at the same time. The
> prevailing notion seems to be that one can take several bad photographs
> jazz them up somehow and combine them to make something good out of them.
> Sort of like the fad in the 70's in alt-photo of putting fancy borders on
> mediocre pictures to hide the fact they were mediocre. GIGO.
> Another fad is to put something out of context. Done well it is perhaps a
> reasonable and credible trick. Dan Burkholder's now iconic turtle in the
> church picture comes to mind. Done well and striking. But you see over and
> over again bad pics of things put in out of context situations. Of course
> using bad images to begin with. Ho hum.
> Digital is a new creation tool and perhaps in time we'll see esthetic
> standards evolve out of it, but for now it's like bad money driving out
> good. I overheard at an opening here a leading art gallery owner musing:
> "If I see another digital picture...."
> --Dick Sullivan
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