Digital Photography and Honesty 

The word photoshop used to mean to alter in a fictional way. To say something was photoshopped was to suggest there was something invented or fake about it. Things were removed or added that weren’t actually there. One response to this is to fully engage in composing fictions, as Gary Irving does in his work. While they are lifelike, realistic in representation, they are never meant to be seen as scenes that really happened, but are fantastical visions more along the lines of Dave LaChapelle. Other photographers have used photoshopping techniques in photojournalism to great effect, such as Pedro Meyer. There’s nothing about photoshop itself that has to be used for artifice and it wasn’t a necessary technology for doctoring images. The Russian propagandists under Stalin continually erased important figures from official photographs after they were purged by the State.  I’m more interested with my work to investigate honesty rather than the questions of fictionality. I don’t consider myself a photojournalist. I use photography for a variety of different purposes, but the main one I’m interested in is as a way of expressing my feelings. Photography is a way of writing love letters. Ultimately, these love letters are to the divine, to the mysterious force of creation and being. They are little ways of expressing gratitude and wonder, of investigating the unknown. To photograph for this purpose is to use the world as a mirror. It is to engage in an extroverted form of self-reflection and introspection. In this way it is very similar to abstract expressionist painting. It is in this way that photography becomes an abstract art form.

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