Thoughts on Digital Art and a Few Before & After

Last week on my Facebook page I was nominated by a fellow draft horse artist Alan Waring from Denmark to show 5 days of my draft horse work. So I posted 5 images of photographs that I turned into fine art pieces. Which got me thinking about digital art versus traditional art. Here are my thoughts on the subject.

Many traditional artists do not consider digital art as a valuable medium, not sure if it because they are not embracing change and feel digital is an easy way of creating art or as one of my friends had told me she feels digital art does not have the feel or energy of traditional art. 

Yes digital fine art  can be reproduced and there is no  "one original piece" (unless the photographer deletes the file) but I believe it is just as original and authentic as any other type of art.  An example would be like comparing downloaded music to music produced on vinyl albums it does not take away that it is a song and a creative piece of music.

As a fine art photographer I have a vision, and concept of what it is I want to create. But the vision sometimes does not appear until I recognize the perfect moments when all the elements line up  or the perfect expression happens in a split second.  Then it is up to me to capture that vision in that very second and also try and compose it in a way that will attract the viewer. A skill that has taken me over 10 years to accomplish.

 Many traditional artists create their work in the same way only they do not have to wait for the perfect light as they may draw or paint these elements on their canvas. Both methods take skill. But the digital fine art photographer has to be one with their camera to create an amazing image. They must know quickly the exact settings to accomplish what they see with their naked eye to create a compelling image. Then what comes next is where the real work starts. 

 It takes many different forms of software to bring out the our vision for a photograph. The learning curve on such softwares can take months to years to master.  Daily practice is required to get comfortable in creating what you have visioned in your mind, no different than the traditional artists does to master their techniques.  There is one difference, the digital artists has major expenses to accomplish this in their camera equipment, computers, software programs, and storage backups, along with keeping up with updates and new software where as the traditional artist can still use the tools they have had for years.

Another skill the digital artist needs to learn is the skill of the print. To reproduce a digital image the photographer needs to learn about color calibration, what paper or product would be best for print  such as canvas, metal prints, wood prints, acrylic prints, knowing the best medium to print on can be an expensive endeavor by trial and error to figure which print product best represents the vision the artist has for that image. I am sure for many traditional artists have many choices to make as to how their work will be viewed also but it is a decision they make first not later and then create from there.

One difference between the digital artist and the traditional artist to me has been what social media has done to the value of digital fine art photography. The internet has made it possible for people to view many images of different artists work with  just a scroll of the mouse. So much so that many do not value the work and effort that goes into creating a compelling image. It is just another pretty photograph to them. Today because of social media we are able to view very fine work from talented people every day from all around the world but I am afraid that this has come at the price. When something is so common it is not valued.

After posting my 5 images last week I recall reading a comment from one viewer stating  "Keep them coming" like as if all I have to do is push the shutter and out comes amazing images of images. Art has never been like a factory, there is much more to all of this then meets the eye. 

How we fix this is beyond me. If I do not share my work then who will see it?  The internet is good in the way it helps the artists get their work in front of people who would have otherwise not known about about the artist, but it also also has become to common and has devalue digital art  just by the amount of images that can be viewed daily. I think traditional artists are feeling the same. But I am afraid it is the double edge sword we both have to accept.

So whether you value traditional art work as only true art or understand digital art takes just as much skill and time is entirely up to you. I just wanted most understand it takes more than a camera to create a piece of fine art photography. 

I also thought it would be helpful to show you where I start when I have a vision for a photograph to become a piece of art. So here are the before and after of each of the images I posted last week. Then you can see where I began and then the vision of the final piece.

I would love to hear your comments and how you feel about all of this. Or if you have any questions about the images please share your thoughts below. 

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