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Painting with light
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“Art is a way of seeing the world. It challenges perceptions, evokes emotions and stimulates thought. All great art changes the way we see the world around us, or perhaps creates a new world all of its own. That’s what sets art apart from crafts, which are solely concerned with craftsmanship and aesthetics.” (David Cohen de Lara)

The word photography comes from the Greek and means as much as “drawing with light”, and yes, photography is all about light. The light determines the settings on the camera, points out the object and creates the composition. The camera becomes the third eye of the photographer, listening to the light and capturing a painting created by light. Photography is painting with light and the camera is the brush.

Nowadays there is some confusion what a photograph is, the genuine image or the photoshopped image. My personal view on the matter is that the genuine photograph is a photograph and a photoshopped image is a photoshop artwork. I hope that soon these two categories will be separated. That a photograph becomes a photograph again and photoshop images become an independent discipline.

With all the confusion about what photography is, many people think they have to photoshop an image in order to do photography. That lead to the situation that all images look the same, there is no recognizable signature of the photographer anymore. Everybody is copying the style of the images of everybody else and they end up looking all the same. It is almost like a pressure, that if the image doesn’t look like the others it is not good.

A photographer has an own signature, recognizable throughout the entire body of work, without photoshop, just like a painter. A Van Gogh or Rembrandt are so distinguished in their way of seeing and painting that even until today unknown work can be recognized. Photoshopper should develop their own signature as well, in their own art form photoshop. Hopefully they will separate soon.

I was looking for a term describing genuine photography and could only find it in music, it became “unplugged”. Maybe even a beautiful analogy of what needs to happen with photography and photoshopping, they need to unplug.

And why should we “unplug” them? Darmesh Shah puts it very nice in his blog on organizations, just replace the word organization with the word Photographer and it says it all. “Photographers (organizations) that try to portray themselves as what they think people want instead of what they are don’t win over our hearts and minds. In an age where everyone is connected, falsehoods are fleeting. The world does not expect perfection. In fact, perfection is troublesome. When we see something that seems too perfect, there’s a small part of us that knows something’s not quite right. Don’t hide your limitations and flaws. Be genuine - we like that sort of thing and reward it.”

Thank you for reading my thoughts on photography and I hope you will enjoy unplugged photography.

Sincerely yours,

Ute Sonnenberg

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