Process Alone Never Makes A Good Photograph

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A good photograph is a good photograph in such a way that the process itself might be an integral part of it, but it’s not the focal point. In other words, the moment you can almost separate out the image from the process – just like you’d think about Hipstamatic as picture plus filter – you’re in trouble: Suddenly, the process itself becomes part of what is being evaluated. But who cares whether it took you three days to make a picture or whether you got that great picture seeing something and then snapping it very quickly?

via Conscientious Extended | On Process.

There Are 8 Comments On This Article.

  1. Ilia Jerebtsov

    You’re not judging the photograph when you look at the process, you’re judging the photographer, and the photographer must be judged as long as his name is on the photo. A good photo can be a matter of luck or coincidence. But it would be unfair to praise the photographer or to give him high merit for simply being the lucky bearer of that coincidence.

  2. Reasonable point, but at the end of the day, the image is what you deliver. Process you may try to charge for, but when the chips are down, the frame is what counts.

  3. Ilia Jerebtsov

    It depends on the context. If the photo is detached from the photographer, such as in stock photography, publishing, or advertising, then yes, the only thing that matters are the visual qualities of the final product.

    However, if the photo is presented as a reflection of the photographer, like in a portfolio or a gallery, then the process matters, because the photo is as much about the photographer as it is about the subject.

    Hipstamatic plus filter is a great way to make a nice picture for your facebook profile, but you shouldn’t expect to call yourself a photographer just because the final result looks neat.

  4. Art took a wrong turn eons ago, when the image maker &/or process became more important than the image. The intrinsic (and actual) value of an image should be based on the final image…whether it took 3 seconds or 3 years or was done w/ a pencil, paint, camera or computer. Won’t ever happen but that should be the ideal. There are still plenty of people who believe photography is a few wrungs beneath brush and canvas, based solely on process.

  5. As a general rule, perhaps. But I have a certain respect for someone who goes out and learns their craft, shoots a handful of wet plates & processes them by hand as a process versus “photoshop process”. To me it’s not just about the resulting picture… technology can take us a long way to making something presentable… there is something incredibly worthwhile about photography craft. And process is surely a part of that underlying craft.

  6. That being said, photography is as many things to as many people who create, consume or admire it. There’s a place for everything, it’s a big field.

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