Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Too lifelike?

Now I'm as much of a technology freak as the next photographer. I can be convicted of my share of spot coloring, vignetting, sepia toning, etc. a photo. But I found this use of technology very interesting. Photographer (perhaps artist would be a better term?) Sanna Dullaway, as this blog entry says, "re-imagines photos from the past in vibrant, realistic hues."

Essentially, she has taken famous photos from the past (like the famous Times Square kiss photo from the end of World War II by Alfred Eisenstaedt here) and colored them in a realistic manner. They kind of remind me of the old hand coloring techniques used in that era before digital photography became so popular. They are beautiful, artistic and well done.

But (you knew it was coming, didn't you?), does the technique cheapen the photo? Sure, Alfred Eisenstaedt probably saw the scene as it appears at right. But history remembers the scene in black and white. So is it strange to see a historic photo like this in color, as it was originally witnessed? Or does the photo become less historic because of Dullaway adding a level of non-truth to the picture (if it truly isn't truth she's adding. I'm making an assumption she wasn't there and doesn't know whether lady in the background has on a blue dress or a yellow one, for example).

Don't get me wrong, it's intriguing to think of what Albert Einstein or Samuel Clements looked like in color. But I wonder if these iconic photos lose their icon status when made more "real."

1 comment:

Anthony said...

I don't think the re-imagined rendition of the photo (or whatever one terms the doctored photo) cheapens the original to any extent. That is because the original still exist and we can refer back to it. Something that would "cheapen" the photo much more is if it became ubiquitous; in other words, if everyone had a copy/re-print/lithograph in their homes.