From: shannon stoney (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: 10/31/01-07:12:37 AM Z
It is possible that I oversimplified Elkins's argument, or maybe he
did. But I think that new media--and other examples he gave were
things like video installation, neon sculpture, and the like--do tend
to look to older media for starting points. Photoshop can be thought
of as "merely" a tool to make photographs that are simply better than
the photographs you could make without it. But in our program we are
supposed to think of it as a whole new medium. That is, if you just
used it to touch up your photos, that wouldn't be enough.
What I ended up doing to solve the problem of figuring out "what it's
for" is copying the look of early 20th century German Dada collage.
But then I pushed the image a little past that by making some of the
transitions a little smoother than you can in cut-and-paste collage.
The result was very strange, by general consensus, and still
interesting to me. To me Photoshop has always seemed like the
ultimate surrealist's toy.
But I also like thinking of PHotoshop as the ultimate montage tool.
Instead of using multiple enlargers, elaborate masking, or a
negative sandwich, you just put things on top of and next to each
other in Photoshop. Rejlander would have loved it! In that sense,
maybe it is just another tool, rather than a whole new medium. But
the montage thing with Photoshop can be pushed past its previous
limitations with more ease, and maybe that is when it begins to
becomes another medium.
>On Tue, 30 Oct 2001, shannon stoney wrote:
>> ... The author of the book says that all new media
>> have this problem, and that usually they take another, older medium
>> as their "ideal method." His example was wood engraving, which took
>> photographs as its "ideal method," that is, wood engravings were used
> to reproduce photographs, and they imitated the look of photographs.
>I plan to get that book, but if the author is in the habit of sweeping
>generalizations of the sort you quote -- uh oh. True, early repro of
>photographs used (some rather wooden) wood engravings, but wood engraving
>had an honorable history back to Durer & earlier... (I'm not an art
>history maven either, but -- I hope the statement was more nuanced than it
> Another example might be the way in which early photography imitated
>> painting and drawing,until it found its own "voice." What I'm
>Again, sounds like this guy has a terminal urge to the sweeping fallacy.
>There was plenty of early photography that was quite itself, and there are
>STILL plenty of photographs without a "voice" except imitation -- or what
>single "voice" could one say it found? There be schools, groups of
>clones, trends, bandwagons, experimenters, oddballs, etc.... with much
>photography STILL in reference to painting and drawing, even if
>(sometimes) in irony.
>> wondering is, what is Photoshop's "ideal method"? It could be
>> photomontage, a la Jerry Uelsmann, or collage, like Dada collage as
>> done by Johnny Heartfield and Hannah Hoch. I know this is a little
>> off topic, but since many on this list are well versed in
>Photoshop is a tool, period. It's like saying what's the ideal method for
>a scissor, or a camera, or a paintbrush. You use it for what you have in
>mind or need or can devise. An "ideal method" for photoshop would put you
>in a box at the starting gate (which would at least be an ideal mixed
>> photographic history and are using digital media for whatever
>> purposes, I thought you might have some thoughts on it.
>I desire that photoshop make my photographs more photographic -- adding
>the *control* of detail and tone I couldn't get in a grab shot. Who would
>dare imagine an overarching purpose?
>Then again, on 2nd thought, we've had them telling us these 50 years what
>real, or ideal, photography is -- from Beaumont Newhall in the '60s & 70s
>to Bill Jay in Photo Techniques year before last.... Uh oh again.
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