I’m not going to get into the debate about iPhone photography or special effects software. This picture was made using both, and it probably took a few seconds to take the picture and a few seconds to choose the effect (on my phone) and apply it. Contrast this amount of effort with the hours, if not days, that it takes to edit a “real” photo with “professional” software. (For the purpose of this discussion, I’ll omit the wet darkroom). I like the picture very much, and I didn’t have to go cross-eyed from visual fatigue to make it.
Recently I saw the show “Faking It: Manipulated Photography before Photoshop” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a wonderful show with beautiful examples of carefully manipulated photos from the 19th and 20th centuries. Let’s make a supposition: photography is a lie. It always has been. Now we can move on.
Across the hall, the Met presented an exhibit of contemporary manipulated photographs. Some of the photographers omitted the camera entirely from the equation; one of them downloaded a series of Google Maps images and presented them as a travelogue of the United States (most of the images looked alike – a statement of sorts) and another downloaded and manipulated pornographic images from the Internet. Is this photography?