Saturday, May 31, 2003

The National Geographic web site carries a discussion of digital imaging on its Message Boards.
Apparently some readers were upset by some of the surreal photo images which appeared in the magazine. Images were distorted and superimposed – one showed a goat suspended by spider silk growing out of its back. The point being that a silky fibre has been extracted from the milk of a genetically modified goat, the ethic of this procedure merits a debate of its own but it seems odd that people might be taken in by an obviously contrived photograph.

Now that photographs can be digitally manipulated so cleverly it could be difficult to detect whether the image is an accurate representation or not. The National Geographic has built up a reputation for objective photo journalism and it was the fact that some images shown in the magazine may not be what they seem that upset some readers.

On the other hand digital photography offers a creative tool for artists that needs to be explored. It rarely gets used in an imaginative way outside the world of advertising. By using Corel Draw or Adobe Photoshop to merely make copies of their paintings artists are missing the creative potential of these programs. There are artists with the necessary skill and training who use graphics software to create original digital images. Their new art form has been described as ‘Digitalism’. Examples of Digitalism can be found on the internet at

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