Jessie Carveth doesn’t know cameras, nothing about graphic design, html. She is an artisht like everyone in the world is now, taking pictures and using software. An interested machine operator.
1. Photo artists use cameras simply to transport snapshots into image edit programs to create something art–like.
The initial snapshot, for photo artists, exists to be tampered with, led away from the original pristine capture.
Image editing offers viewers who aren’t ordinarily interested in a subject an opportunity to be drawn in.
Photo artists are interested in “digital means”.
Document photographers aren’t.
The appeal of document photography relies on the viewer being interested in the subject.
Unfiltered photography records moments in time, or makes statements. It reports. Document photographers are reporters who aren’t inclined to stray into image editing for the sake of artis(h)try. They want to get the news out.
Document photography from The Pope In Philadelphia, 2015, J Carveth
The convergence of advancements in technology for taking pictures and software to transform snapshots, along with social media platforms for sharing, shattered the position (wish) that professional photography requires the kind of artistic talent that, for example, painting does.
Photos are gotten by pushing a button on a machine. Now these machines are available to everyone in the world, and everyone became a photographer.
The recent, rapid revolution in technology has made the entire world equal in photography.
Instead of editing after the capture, document photographers pre–process (aka “prepare”).
Most is black and white (that won’t last much longer), dramatic contrast between light/shadow, and annoying portraits, solemn, grave. Props. Poses. Tripods. The document photographer’s work is much pre-capture preparation of a subject, and ends when the button is pressed.
These two types of photography are very different in intention and presentation. The only shared aspect is that both start with a camera.
Liking the theme
If a viewer of document photography likes a subject (undressed bodies, war-torn villages, country gardens), or concept (bored couples), it doesn’t matter if Dorothea Lang pushed the button or you did.
If a viewer isn’t interested in the subject of a “document” photo, name, talent, fame, film, Fuji, training, tripod, renown, and good journalistic intentions are inconsequential..
Most of us imagine it’s artistry that’s admired in document photography when in fact it’s subject, theme, or concept.
Imagine that unfiltered nature photography is so boring that Viewer X, who loves photography, wants to die. He likes lots of subjects: architecture, aerial, floods, carnivals.
Not trees, or celebrities in Vogue, or celebrities anywhere.
X doesn’t care that Ansel Adams captured a picture with a machine, got fancy in a darkroom, used black and white film.
He doesn’t care that Adams is one of the most revered photographers in history.
As an experiment, X asked some young adults (today’s greatest photographers) to image edit (filter) this Ansel Adams photo (below) any way they wanted, to see if he might appreciate the snapshot if transformed through digital tampering.
Photo: Ansel Adams
Staten Island is also
Eggleston, Osinski, Mark, Doisneau, Erwitt, Gay Block, Maier, Mann, many , are exceptional only if we’re attracted to their subject or concept.
Here at Jessie Carveth Center we love Staten Island. Professional photographer Christine Osinski does, too. She went there for a shoot. We were so happy. What’s a shoot?
She walked down the block pressing a button.
You can make Staten Island as bare and powerful as Osinski did. Anyone with a camera–phone, Sony, Leica, Fisher-Price–who takes pictures of Staten Island, document-style ,has a unique and rare talent: loving Staten Island.
Photo: Christine Osinski –Staten Island series
4. Lilacs/Diane Arbus
Regarding photography, compelling subject has always been confused with artistic talent.
If Diane Arbus had shot #nofilter #mountain pictures, her camera skill wouldn’t have caught the interest of those who respond to mountain pics by falling asleep.
She’s recognized and appreciated for who and what she chose to photograph. The subject.
The document photographer is presenter of a theme. Is there such a thing as a “good eye” anymore? Yes, but it isn’t required. That’s what photoshop is for.
(Black and white used to be a requirement for superior photography. Imagine promoting the idea that black and white is anything more than two color choices. RGB is a revolution Carveth is so very happy to endorse.)
Here is some gorgeous photo art by photographer Mark Yankus:
Story Pieces About Variations Photography
A Baby Boy Production