A Disturbing Trend
by Dennis A. Mook
Dennis Mook, Mott Street, Chinatown, NYC, 2006. Technical Details: Taken with a camera, with a lens attached. Photographer was looking through the camera at the time of exposure.
I have noticed in most publications, that when a description of a digital photograph is given, the accompanying technical information now contains much more information that in the past. For example, I am sitting here reading Popular Photography & Imaging (a mere shadow of its former self, by the way) and I see things such as "straightening in Photoshop," "dodging and burning in Photoshop," "curves adjustment," "sharpening," etc. Sometimes I even see the tripod named, as though it really matters which brand it is. It's almost as though this is something new. Didn't we dodge and burn in silver based photography? Didn't we crop and/or move the easel to straighten the horizon? Didn't we increase or decrease the paper contrast to match the negative contrast? Didn't we use tripods? Didn't we focus the enlarger lens to make sure the resulting photograph was sharp?
I don't understand why this all started and I think it's a terrible trend. I can understand another interested party wanting to somewhat know how the photograph was made, but this trend of including all of this technical mumbo jumbo is irrelavent to most viewers. It shifts the focus (pun intended) from the merits and esthetic qualities of the photograph to the technical aspects of it. That shouldn't happen.
If I have all of this new data, I also will need to know what the photographer had for breakfast, what clothes he or she was wearing and in what kind of car he or she arrived. Silly.
Posted by: DENNIS MOOK