January 15, 2019
Since its inception, photographs have sought to bring viewers into the photographer’s vision of reality, if only through selective composition. Modern digital post-production processing, however, has raised legitimate questions about what is actually a photograph and viewers rightly wonder about the authenticity of what they see. The verb “Photoshopped” has taken on a negative connotation as a technique to trick viewers into falsely believing an image accurately represents what was seen by the photographer.
From the start of my interest in photography, I have been drawn to edgy or playful subject matter. I became a devotee of Jerry Uelsmann, who pioneered photomontage techniques in his darkroom often using images from multiple negatives. In high school, I experimented with sandwiching two negatives together to make a double exposure as well as assembling still life tableaus (two examples below).
I don’t want visitors my site to be or feel manipulated. So to be upfront, I do sometimes experiment with techniques that transform images in some way. For example, in one current exhibit, I make long exposures with a handheld camera to convey a sense of motion or energy. In another current exhibit, I use an in-camera reflection tool through which I can compose mirrored images. I will inform viewers when the final image has been altered such that the integrity of the subject or composition is affected.