Friday, December 17, 2010

39. Yellow Flowers on the Edge of Darkness, 18 x 12, digital photograph

Yellow Flowers on the Edge of Darkness by Bob Bickers, digital photograph
I read that the original Tron movie was excluded from consideration for an Academy Award for animation back in 1983 because any use of computers was considered by the Academy back then as "cheating", even though most of the movie itself was animated by hand.  Now we view computer-generated images (CGI) as an art form all it own, one that incorporates the skills and talents of hundreds of individuals during a major production.

Given that apparent shift in people's attitudes, I present you with the image at left.  Is it a painting?  Is it a photograph of a painting?  Is it "true" photography?

It is a computer-altered digital photograph made to resemble a painting.  Is it art?  It did take some effort to set up, photograph, and work out my vision on the computer.  It is not an accident or a random creation, like throwing paint at a canvas, but is the end result of an idea or image that first existed in my head and with some effort, was made into a form that could be seen and shared with everyone.  From that perspective, it clearly is art and I am the artist.   

Still, if I were take a brush and painted the exact image by hand instead of using a camera and computer, how would you feel about it?  It is obvious that while we may admire the technical and perhaps even the artistic skills of photographers, and to a lesser extent, computer geeks, we still have a prejudice for the painter who uses his own two hands to create a beautiful image. 

Perhaps it has something to do with the miracle of a person transforming blobs of mere pigment into something that can not only be recognizable, but even move the human heart.  In that sense, and as the late television artist Bill Alexander often said, being an artist is probably as close to being like God as mortals can ever come. Maybe.  And if that is true, then maybe all that comes with being an artist, the ability to acutely observe, see, appreciate and express all the beauty (and the ugliness) in the universe around us, maybe that is a unique and special quality in God that we all should seek in ourselves.  Click on the image to enlarge.

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