Photographs — should we change the word — Photography podcast #43

Pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast #43‚asks the ques­tion do we need to change the word pho­to­graph because it is not descrip­tive enough. With pho­tographs being so heav­ily edited in Pho­to­shop, do we need more spe­cific terms (or a new lex­i­con) to describe what kinds of pho­tographs we are look­ing at?‚

FYI — Next pod­cast will be less philo­soph­i­cal and more instructional/practical.

Pho­tog­ra­phy links men­tioned in this pod­cast:
Post pro­cess­ing thread

Thanks as always to Vlad,‚Andre_f,‚deb­bieT, ‚Elio and Alen for‚recent com­ments and sug­ges­tions. We LOVE com­ments and sug­ges­tions so please send more.

You can down­load this pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast directly by click­ing the pre­ced­ing link or lis­ten to it almost imme­di­ately with the embed­ded player below.


  1. admin says:

    Thanks so much for those com­ments every­one! There is no per­fect answer to this ques­tion and i like it when peo­ple tell me they think I’m wrong or debate any­thing with me. That’s how we all learn, espe­cially in this time of change!

    Thanks so much for that pod­cast on the his­tory of Pho­tog­ra­phy Michael! I added the link. I think it’s super-cool how easy it is for a pro­fes­sor to sim­ply record their classes and release them as a pod­cast. Long live Shar­ing spirit!

  2. Joseph says:

    Tra­di­tional pho­tog­ra­phy in black and white is very far from real­ity. Poor range of lumi­nos­ity, arti­fi­cial con­trast, absence of colours, poor man­age­ment of speed… every­thing is very far from real­ity. With Dig­i­tal and pho­to­shop trans­for­ma­tions we can get closer from human expe­ri­ence (or not after all it is just a tool).

    I think we are doing more and more pho­tog­ra­phy imag­ing. No need to change word.

    Debate between pic­tural­ists and nat­u­ral­ists existed in XIX cen­tury with­out dig­i­tal pro­cess­ing but the phi­los­o­phy was the same.

  3. Michael says:


    Pho­tog­ra­phy means “writ­ing with light” so I am not con­vinced that the term needs to be changed even in this “dig­i­tal era.” The SOURCE is still light. Even if it does, we were using “Dig­i­tal Imag­ing” dur­ing my stud­ies in the mid-nineties.

    Also, please take a look at Jeff Curto’s His­tory of Pho­tog­ra­phy pod­cast. You will find that even some of the “manip­u­la­tions” you say are only avail­able with mod­ern soft­ware, are not. Quite a few very sophis­ti­cated meth­ods were being used even before as well as dur­ing the 20th cen­tury with imagery, in the cam­era, the dark­room and even for mechan­i­cal repro­duc­tion (i.e. screens used on images to make neg­a­tives used to burn plates for off­set print­ing or gravure.) Even so called HDR images were being pro­duced by Muy­bridge (if I am not mis­taken) in situ in his west­ern land­scape pho­tographs by MECHANICAL means he devel­oped for use INSIDE his field cam­era! :-)

    Per­son­ally, as an Artist, I just don’t think it is as impor­tant what you call it as what it com­mu­ni­cates. I am more inter­ested in the con­tent of the image and not nec­es­sar­ily how it was made. But maybe that is just me…

    Greet­ings from Ger­many!

  4. Andre says:

    Hi, Marko!

    A good dis­cus­sion for sure! Today there are so many post processed pic­tures I can’t call them just ‘pho­tographs’. It’s dig­i­tal art based on pho­tog­ra­phy, with tons and tons of Pho­to­shop fil­ters and edit­ing… after the process, if you put both images side by side — the orig­i­nal and the edited one — you will see they are com­pletely dif­fer­ent that you can not say they rep­re­sent the same scene.

    For me, I like to get the image straight out of the cam­era, then apply a min­i­mum of adjust­ments (sharpen, con­trast) and leave it as it is. I don’t like when the image looks fake. But some­times is nice to play with PS.

    Well, it’s just a mat­ter of taste.



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