Monday, January 14, 2008

Second Life Photographers or Image Makers?

There is a debate on " New World Notes" about what should we be called. Photographers or image makers?
I like to call myself a SL Photographer, and I have been doing that from the beginning that I am on the grid.
But reading the comments of this article, it is not very obvious for everyone that we are making photographs.
"Photographs, after all, are created by exposed light hitting a film or data strip. That doesn't happen in Second Life. " according New World Notes.
If that is the definition, then we have to admit that they are not photographs. But I think there is more to it than that. Pictures, taken with a digital camera, aren't exactly photographs either, to my opinion, as they are not photosensitive material being burned with light. So all the professional photographers, who were taking pictures with a reflex camera, and now with a digital camera, are no photographers anymore?
The composition, light and subject of a picture are still important to catch an image, to make it more than just an image, and for being called a photograph.
Ari Blackthorne wrote an interesting view on this matter, by saying "Being a 'photographer' is a process of envisioning the image before it can actually be seen - anywhere. You look at the scene and mentally place your camera around the vicinity, imagining the viewfinder to obtain the look you want. Then, position your camera there and decide if it's what you saw in your mind's eye. So a really good picture is rarely accidental."
This is a well put answer, I think, to define in our view, what a photographer is doing, and why he is called a photographer. Even though the polls, at this moment, show a little advantage for screenshots, images above photographs.
Another interesting question would be, if the pictures seen on flickr are photographs or not. Because a lot of images are being post processed, that it is not clear anymore if they are brushed or filtered in such a way, that it is more the skills of Photoshop which are being applied, than the skills of a photographer. But that is a whole different issue, which was not the object of the article.
So, in general, I don't really care what it is called, but I am convinced that I make photographs in Second Life, as you have to use the same skills in SL as in RL. There are other factors, okay, but it doesn't change the real vision of a photographer.


Winter said...

Great post Looker.
And I totally agree with you. We are indedd doing photography in SL. Afterall it is like we are using a digital camera and we use the light and filters that are provided by the software.

As for the post processing there is a lot of discussion concerning that among RL photographers, some defending that the photos shouldn't be post-processed, others stating the opposite.

As I see it, there is nothing wrong in improving a photo by post processing. If we want to be purists, then why use filters on cameras? Using enhancement techniques after the photo is taken is the same.

Looker Lumet said...

I agree Winter, although I think there has to be a limit. You can enhance a photo by post processing, but you can also rape the image, and it still can be a great picture, but would it then, still be a photograph?
Maybe something to blog about later ...

Anonymous said...

I agree with you, i think we are photographers (maybe better SLphotographers). Image maker woule be ok if we were "making" all what you can see in the image (including even the sky).