During the current module of studies, I have finally started giving post-processing methods some serious thought… and some use. I had planned that during this module I would produce work in relation to my final major project that stood least in my control (see more about this here). I foresaw myself producing work that significantly misaligned with my previous image production methods. Having been a staunch opponent of Photoshop for a very long time, I now find myself glorifying it as an image-producing medium in its own right, with no less potential and validity than the photographic camera itself, providing me with a plethora of tools that have capably destroyed all my previous convictions about the sanctity of the ‘pure photo’ and my nurtured age-old aesthetic sensibilities.
I have so far produced edits of some of my previous work-in-progress images, carefully replicating traditional printing processes such as the cyanotype printing process and the screen printing process (click here to see samples of this work; these new edits appear at the end of the gallery, so you will have to scroll down and click to see the last page of the gallery in order to see them).
Through these post-processing methods, I have come to witness the fluid exchange that exists between the pictorial and the photographic: the photographic is latent in the pictorial, the pictorial embedded in the photographic. We should not simply equate the pictorial with the drawing and the photographic with the photograph. The pictorial and the photographic are two independent sets of dynamics that layer themselves in an image much like geological strata, each layer capable of performing itself in its own right and of compounding itself with its kin.
Realism in painting and photography has nothing to do with aesthetics. We do exclaim: “It looks like a photograph!” Or: “It looks so real!” Etc. And these exclamations do point to some truth. When we stand in front of realist works, the experienced sensation that makes us ejaculate premature statements of the aforementioned kind is born out of the said works’ ability to catch us unawares, leaving us with no time to formulate deceitful statements. Realism in the visual arts acts as a suppository. The creators of such works are craftily producing truthful, deceitful works. The public, heavily intoxicated with the realism, swallow whole the lie and euphorically exclaim, “It is real!” It stands to reason that the realist artist is the ultimate master puppeteer and also the chosen, most loved, one from the artist clan. It is understood that the realist artist is poor, filthy and somewhat badly dressed.
The reason that prevented the invention of photography from occurring earlier in that long stretch of time we now define as the dawn of the end of history was simply lacking technological means… or mere laziness. Photography appeared at the end, but the photographic has always been with us.
Featured Image:Thomas Couture [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons