There are no "chemical rays" and definitions based on that are therefore useless and should be discarded.
A photographic negative does not naturally exist in nature. It is an abstraction of the scene. Tones are not in identical relationships as in the scene, colours are transmuted, sometimes radically into shades of gray, the dynamic range is limited compared to nature. It is absolutely an abstraction when you remember that it is rendered as clumps of silver. "The map is not the territory."
We accept prints and prints made from internegatives as bona fide photographs, even though they are made in places far removed from the location of scene. Astrophotography scenes are far removed from even the camera. Proximity is not part of the definition of photography.
It is very amusing to see people criticize digital photography simultaneously for both being "mechanical and automatic" at the same time as "mimicing painting and drawing", within the same post even!
It is also amusing to see people claim that what they define as true photography does not mimic painting and drawing on a site that is filled with discussion about retouching and spotting and localized reduction and burning and dodging and painting a night scene with light and scraping negatives and artificial light, flash or continuous, and localized bleaching, ... and on and on. Even the word 'photography' literally means "drawing with light".
People also forget that film photography is fundamentally electronic too. Photons knock electrons out of silver halide ionic crystals to create the latent image which is then read by the developer and converted into silver atoms.
There were no sensors or film involved when da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa. This should be obvious.
There are many people who fall into the trap of not only seeing the world in black and white, but in binary only black and white with no shades of gray. Ironic it is, when they are chauvinistic about B&W film photography. The reality is that there are no sharp bright dividing lines between many categories in the universe and no amount of yearning for prissy pigeonholes is going to change that.
Just like there is no clear boundary between dance music and classical music there is no boundary that meaningfully excludes digital photography from the realm of photography. To claim that there is would be as ludicrous as claiming that a digital recording of a chamber orchestra is not music or that a little amplification of an acoustic guitar in a 1940s big band was music but a lot of amplification of a Jimmy Page guitar performance is not music.
Ansel Adams is often invoked as an example of the epitome of 'true photography' as a silver gelatin fine art. This should be of interest to all who think that digital developments are antithetical to 'true photography':
"I eagerly await new concepts and processes. I believe that the
electronic image will be the next major advance. Such systems will
have their own inherent and inescapable structural characteristics,
and the artist and functional practitioner will again strive to
comprehend and control them." -- Ansel Adams, in "The Negative", 1981 edition
Last edited by Monito; 07-02-2011 at 09:00 AM. Click to view previous post history.