Why Photo manipulation rules
The 21st century is an exciting time to be a creative, we’re fortunate to have a multitude of avenues available for digital creative pursuits, alongside the more traditional means of creating artwork. To be a Photo Manipulator is the ultimate in artistic expression – you can appropriate sketches, photographic elements, 3D, natural textures, absolutely anything to create original compositions. Of all the output produced in Photoshop, it is often the Photo Manipulations that are the big crowd pleasers, proving the pursuit to be an exciting new art form finding its place in the world. I would argue that Photo Manipulation takes the best from all disciplines, in particular the fantastic nature of fine art coupled with the hyper-reality of photography. In an era of cut, paste, sampling and remixing the Photo Manipulation is the ultimate postmodern medium.
Day of the Manipulation
Being a practitioner of this bold new medium is innovative territory, as many concepts and techniques are yet to be discovered. Each day artists are utilising the software in new ways and developing styles previously unseen, re-imagining prior movements in digitised form as well as bringing new aesthetics to the fore. As a new medium, Photo Manipulation is yet to have its day of glory – waiting for its Banksy equivalent to breach the stuffy fortress of the high-art world.
A common misconception held is that merely owning the relevant hardware and software is all that’s required for creating high quality visual works, but any sensible person would know that this is far from the truth. Photo Manipulation, much like natural media, is a time consuming process. High quality manipulations are often meticulously crafted, requiring a certain level of dedication and patience to complete. This isn’t an attempt to thwart the dreams of new practitioners, merely reiterating the point that ‘the software doesn’t do the work for you’ – something worth noting in the age of instant gratification. A positive aspect of working in Photoshop however is that the learning curve is more accommodating than other art forms; and with some initial leg work pleasing results can be achieved within a fair amount of time.
The great thing about being a Photo Manipulator is that it is still a relatively fresh field of artistic expression, and the true pioneers are yet to emerge. The Dadaists smashed boundaries with their cut and paste excess, and I believe that the Photo Manipulators can permeate the wider art scene with works delivering a unique message and style. Social networking and interconnectivity allows us to collaborate and inspire as a hive mind – so these are interesting times to be a practicing creative; and I look forward to what direction the medium takes.