The Art of the Digital Photograph
2, August 2009 § Leave a comment
Intensive Digital Studies / The Art of the Digital Print
July is usually a quiet month at the Center. This year was an exception. John Pack lead a two week intensive course in The Art of the Digital Photograph.
Many photographers share the idea that the print is the final rendering of the artist’s intent, and this demands an extensive and deep working knowledge of the tools and process of the medium. Using digital tools to produce that important manifestation of the idea in a print has become too dependent on the tricks of the equipment rather than the skill and judgment of the photographer. In two weeks of exciting and intensive learning John guided a small group – eight participants – through the intricacies of the entire digital workflow with specific attention to Adobe Camera Raw and Photoshop CS4 as photographic tools to an understanding of how to bring the image to the concluding expressive print that emerges from the printer.
John’s extensive knowledge gave us a broad understanding of the possibilities, which he then attempted to scale down to workable tools we could master in the time given. Time was a major factor. We worked 6, 8 and even 12 hours a day for 13 days. Yes, we did take one Sunday holiday.
After the first few days of deluge, the group rose to the challenge of learning myriad details while constantly reassessing its understanding of what the results would be. A list of the Photoshop and Printer techniques we studied would include extensive colour management, monitor calibration, tools, layers, masks, ICC colour profiling (building our own profiles), and much more; this would be only an outline of the wide scope of knowledge we acquired on how to see and feel the images as they progressed.
John’s enthusiasm for the digital medium, coupled with his deep respect for every detail, carried us through to a collection of photographic prints which were a great satisfaction to each of us. We all shared knowledge and ideas. The group, working together, became an important part of our learning, as John had intended. We concluded with a very stimulating sense of new knowledge and the ability to carry this forward to create the quality of photograph that was our goal.