We became surrealists

–impressionists, and abstract artists.


photos at bottom lne

All photography and variations, Jessie Carveth


1. Everyone is a photographer now. The global evolution from snapshot to photo art happened quickly, challenging professionals and other art critics to devise new ways to distinguish themselves.

What makes the new photography notable is that, because photo editing tools became accessible and popular, not only did everyone become photographers who document, but artists, too.

My definition of surreal is so broad it includes impressionism, abstract, any manipulation of an initial capture that leads away from the unfiltered capture. If you think about it, we are artists, impressionists, abstract, surrealism, the more we take the original snapshot away from the unfiltered, initial capture.

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Image editing programs wrenched serious photography from the darkroom, galleries, and experts’ magazines.

Every photo editing program offers its own tools. Making art from a camera capture requires care, but not talent.

Realism (unfiltered)is only as good as the subject is interesting, in contrast to image editing.

Photo filtering often catches the eye even when the subject of the capture is what’s least interesting, because the true subject in image editing is filtering artistry.

 2. We used to shoot casually.

To share on social and other forms of media, photographers (people) have to pass through a warehouse of filtering options. It isn’t easy being a pretentious art critic , especially the teacherly type who isn’t needed anymore.

So many people became really good photographers in such a short amount of time.

The arbiters of real vs. amateur, who tried to resist apps for the masses, have ingenious ways to insist they still own photography, though they gave in to filtering, editing, digital, color, and photoshop.



3. Research. One year. A sample of people taking pictures, not identifying as professionals, who started sharing their photography on social media at least once a week (not only on vacation, for example) were tracked.

The improvement in picture quality after a short period of time was dramatic. Most became careful for the first time, eyes opened, interested in a more serious level of picture production.

That wasn’t the surprise.

The surprise is that, within a year, It isn’t easy to tell the difference between the work of those who identify as professionals, and anyone who has started taking photography seriously.


4. Last

I happened to be around the year leading up to a particular wedding, researching more.

A still photographer was hired. A videographer was hired. All the friends and family took pictures. The couple took pictures. There was film. There was digital. There were zoom lenses on Leicas, and smartphones, tripods.

Unless you define quality as “the amount of money spent on equipment”, the wedding pictures taken and edited by brothers and friends, strangers on the street passing by– were as beautiful (or not, but in equal amounts) as those taken by the hired professionals.

This is not an exaggeration. Afterwards, looking at mountains of pictures,  no one could tell who took what, Fancy Professional Wedding Photographer, or Hipster Videography Art Weddings & Video Stills., or Ryan, Aunt May, and little Callum, Jr.


Varying Degrees of Abstraction

All photo and edit, Jessie Carveth, 2017

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IMG_7554St. James St.

Canon, iPhone, Mirrorless