I just read this article by highly respected photographer Mr. Don McCullin in the Guardian newspaper entitled “Digital images can’t be trusted”.
I’ve always had a huge respect and admiration for the man and his work and I still do but I find myself at odds with some of his statement such as “photography has been hijacked by digital cameras and art world”. and he goes on to say “I’ve always thought photography is not so much of an art form but a way of communicating and passing on information”. Yes, good photojournalism certainly qualifies in this respect but what about fine art photography?, does it not communicate anything?
I agree with the can’t be trusted statement in the sense that it is easy for anyone with the required skill to alter digital imagery but there’s no sin in doing so as long as one is honest and doesn’t try and deceive others into thinking that it is an un-altered image, that’s why I’ve always identified my works as art and used such words as painterly, textured, surreal, abstract etc.. Where I do produce a photographic work I choose to identify it as a “straight” photograph ie. one that has not been altered artistically both in content and/or style.
I cannot see that basic adjustments such as contrast, brightness, colour balance etc. fall in to the realm of altering an image any more than the long established photographic techniques of dodging, burning etc..
Maybe what he is doing is drawing a line between photo journalism and fine art photography as if one really needs to do so.
Mr McCullin you and your work have my great respect but please note that nothing is being “hijacked” there’s plenty of room for everyone to express themselves in whatever form this may take.