COMMENTS ON DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES AS A TOOL

1.   The text references Walter Benjamin’s essay “the Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction”.  I researched this essay and found that Benjamin foresaw the potential manipulations of the technology of images—mostly the potential for abuse. Benjamin lived in Europe at the time of World War II and saw the beginning of the use of film and mass media by the Nazi regime. That may have been the reason he seems to object so strongly to mass media and mass reproduction of images.

2.   Digital photography and digital images create the “hyper real”. This is changing the basic concept of photography. Photography in its first form captured reality for the masses. Prior to its invention, anything “real” had to be captured and depicted by the person creating the image. Based on their skill, it was close or far from reality. With a camera, the artists now had a level playing field. The text talks about this real now goes into the hyper real, staging, manipulating and seamlessly reconstructing the images.

3.   The ability to refine images leads to a “dematerialization” of the natural elements of representation, or at the very least redefines the relationship between nature and the viewer. They use the example of the very detailed scanned image of the butterfly and moth. This made me think of the recent controversy in nature photography—there are now “ranches” where wild animals are housed. The photographer can pay to shoot pictures as wild animals are let out into a natural habitat. Is this the same as hiking into the wild? Should they be valued the same?

4.   Although many traditional artists may have some issues with this, there is no doubt that the artists who work in these digital mediums in a “paint” format create some truly awe inspiring work—the image #56. By Chris Finley evokes many of the early abstract expressionist paintings of the early 20th century.

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