“Never have I came across the limits of the photographic potential. Every horizon, upon being reached, reveals another beckoning in the distance. Always, I am on the threshold.” -W. Eugene Smith
The invention of the camera liberated painting from its reportage role. Gone was the necessity to generate a likeness, detail the events of the story, painting was free to express emotions. True what had opted before contained a mental content nevertheless now painting could experiment and through imaginative interpretation allow the emotional content to predominate.
As the 19th century evolved and through the 20th century painters from the impressionists through the cubists and expressionists to the minimalists could to make use of colour, line and form to go straight to the emotional content of these work. The representational aspect of the task become coincidental and was pushed to the stage so it became akin to lying on the grass making shapes out of clouds. Enjoyable as it may be it is secondary to the nature of clouds.
The introduction of the digital darkroom has given this freedom to photographers. The range of tools to repair and improve the camera’s capture when pushed to its extremes produces a range of fascinating effects. When put into the filters constructed into the higher software, images could be produced that any comparison to the original photograph is purely coincidental.
With the utilization of these tools, the skilled photographic artist may take the pop song and create, abstract photography in visual terms, the lyric beauty of a baroque symphony or the downtown jive of a jazz variation with out a tree or high rise in sight. Just the light captured by the camera and fine tuned into something completely different, something new that comes from the photographer.
The photographer has been liberated just like the painter before them by technology. Now photographs can explore the total selection of human experience including those who don’t have any words to express them. Large statements will be accessible by the photographer not only in physical terms. Like their painter counterparts a big canvas is becoming the order of the day. This canvas can express feelings rather than illustrate them denotes that the photograph has become a grown-up in the arts