Understanding Digital Synthesized Photographs Through Theories of Knowledge
Main Idea: This article shows that digital art and digital photography editing has meaning and is more than simply a culmination of techniques within applications such as photoshop. This idea is further supported by the case study about Bramberger’s work and his understanding of art itself. According to Bamberger, art is about finding the truth, and the truth is found through beauty. The “truth” is how Bamberger referred to photographs representing and depicting exactly what he had seen through his eyes and in the real world. Photographs on their own, however, do not necessarily perfectly portray the real world or phenomena within it. Bamberger stresses that “beauty” must be added into the photograph to find the “truth,” through various photography techniques, such as artificial lighting and combination printing. This is comparable to contemporary photographers who use digital methods of editing where the image is not necessarily about the technical skills needed to make it, but what the image itself is and how truthful it is to what it represents.
Supporting Key Concepts:
Shift in art-making from traditional methods to digital
Comparison in how traditional photography methods are comparable to digital editing methods
This shows that there has been a similar amount of editing in photography before digital editing
Understanding digital artworks
Teachers are encouraged to not make their curriculum in digital editing solely surrounding techniques; students have a tendency to retain the technical knowledge learned and connect with their pieces if it has meaning to them and there is not a certain “technique quota” to fulfill
An exploration of Bamberger's work
Influenced by darwin/cell reproduction
Believes in order to tell a truth, the photograph must be beautiful
Photographs themselves do not necessarily represent the truth; must have elements of beauty, such as artificial lighting, to enhance and accurately depict the image
Example and Assessment: An example I think that exemplified what the author was trying to get across was how Bamberger discusses how he attempted to find beauty in his photographs. He consistently had a sense of doubt that motivated him to experiment with different techniques, such as artificial lighting. This experimentation with his pieces allowed him to slowly but surely uncover what he believed to be the “truth” in the beauty of his photographs. I believe that this example exemplifies the main points of this article because teachers are continuously encouraged to have their students create more meaningful pieces that are not necessarily a display of technical knowledge. It also supports the idea that students will inevitably retain those techniques at a stronger level through experimentation and discovering how to add “beauty” into their own pieces.
Personal Response: My personal response to reading this article was overall positive. I thought it was interesting reading about Bamberger discussing his philosophy of artmaking and the intent he strives for. Specifically when he talks about how in order to make a “true” artwork, it has to be beautiful. I think that this can be contradictory though because not everything in the world is beautiful. For instance, if a war photographer is documenting mass amounts of carnage, that wouldn’t necessarily be considered “beautiful”, although this is historical documentation, making it a “true” artwork. The biggest takeaway I had from the article was how it is more beneficial for students to learn through experimenting through their art-making process and creating meaningful work versus them learning techniques to better their skillsets. Students will be able to retain more when they are creating work that is relevant to themselves and the world around them, rather than being able to create a meaningless piece that has good technical skills in it.
Questions: Some questions I had throughout reading this article were: If artwork is documenting a gruesome and/or horrific event in history, would that be considered “beautiful” since it is a piece that depicts “truth” according to Bamberger? How does one determine what is truly “beautiful”, since art is subjective? If one person were to find a piece “beautiful” but another person found the artwork off-putting, or overall didn’t like it, would the artwork still be considered “true” since one person considered it to be “beautiful” (according to Bamberger’s philosophy)?