Howzat Photography

Where is the Line Between a Photograph and a Graphic Image?

There was a time when David Yarrow would put into motion his skill in the darkroom, affecting chemical changes to film and prints in such a way that his photography would evoke emotion, imagery, time, place and a sense of the moment. That skill took years to develop, as well as involving the personal development of something equivalent to a degree in chemistry to understand how light, exposure, time, and chemical treatment produced award-winning photography. Today, much of the same can be produced on software with an equivalent photograph never, ever seeing the treatment tub or the red of a darkroom before being created. So where is the line between traditional photography and what is possible now digitally? David Yarrow would be the most likely to know, having produced professional photography in both.

Things Are Possible That Took Hours in the Darkroom to Make

Software programs like Photoshop, Corel, and similar today provide extremely powerful image-changing tools that took photographers years to develop skill-wise, yet now they can be applied with a mere mouse click and an amazing degree of accuracy. And, if one makes a mistake, the motion can be reversed in a matter of seconds with layering, a digital concept of creating multiple versions of an image for seeing different effects without changing the primary image. Folks often ask David Yarrow now whether such software-produced images are real photography anymore. His answer may surprise some.

The Primary Focus is the Image Purpose

David Yarrow’s view is still about the image. What is the visual that is being created? Whether it’s a camera or a computer, things still come back to, what is the concept the photographer is trying to create? This is why David Yarrow spends so much time preparing his workflow first. Long before the first digital image was snapped with the latest cameras, David Yarrow, like many professionals, spent an incredible amount of time planning the image first. By the time David Yarrow is done documenting, archiving, and meta-tagging his latest images for post-processing, he has already put in hours of work creating the shot that becomes his next piece of work.

Even Beginners Know When a Graphic Image is Created

Granted, there is a line even David Yarrow would admit crosses from a photograph to a graphic image. Once the fundamental nature of the image is altered into another visual through special effects or changing the nature of the image as a whole, it has crossed well into the graphic image territory. It’s still a work of art, but more a computer-generated imaginary one than the real photograph David Yarrow took with his camera. There’s nothing wrong with that transformation; it just simply isn’t photography anymore. Just like the way David Yarrow sees the sun going up and down each day as well.

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