Misc.: February 2006 Archives
We are entering an exciting and, for some, fearful era for photography. The transition from analog film to digital capture is coming to a close. As I've mentioned before, more research resources are being applied to using digital processes in ways that traditional film-based photography could not rather than simply replicating silver-halide-based resolution and processes.
One of these is developments is called High Dynamic Range processing, suddenly popularlized by its inclusion in the latest version of Photoshop. You can read several more detailed explanations of the concept elsewhere, but the short description is one photograph is created combining multiple overlapping exposures of the same scene so that it contains a much wider range of exposure values than is possible with a single image. For examples, check out the HDR pool on Flickr. (As you'll see, one drawback is that you have to take several shots of the same scene, limiting its use to landscapes mostly and some particularly postcard-esque landscapes at that.)
One of the side effects is that the color processing tends to be either over or under saturated, like early 20th century film stock.
Photoshop has become the defacto darkroom of this new era. Can a photographer today or even 10- years from now have full control over their media without a thorough understanding of Photoshop? Diane Arbus didn't process her own photographs, but that seems to be a historical oddity, though today we are living in the era of project manager as artist and many auteurs don't have much hands-on time with their own art, so perhaps this isn't all that critical.