Camel Race, Nijmegen 1995
Every once in a while I run into articles and interviews by people who think it’s necessary to redefine the term ‘photography’.
In often convulsive efforts they try to put multiple, completely different disciplines into one, obviously unaware of the fact that the essence of photography has nothing to do with the developments concerning digital photographic techniques and publication platforms or that drawing and painting on photographs as well as applied ‘cut and paste’ techniques are as old as photography itself. Think for instance of the picture of US president Abraham Lincoln, who’s head was photographically put on the body of former vice-president John Calhoun as early as 1860, or the impressive collages that Hannah Höch made during the 1920’s.
Admittedly, these were produced with glue and a pair of scissors and not with the aid of Photoshop and a computer, but they’re at least as striking and revealing.
Also the fact that it’s possible to show digitally manufactured images to an audience of millions within seconds doesn’t change what photography is essentially about: the depicting of a personal vision on a for everyone visible reality in order to communicate.
Or like Edward Steichen once said: “When that shutter clicks, anything else that can be done afterwards is not worth consideration.”