Ritchin (p.20 – ‘After Photography’ 2009) points to the convenience of comparing digital photography with photography. He identifies them as almost separate entities. As analogue photography imitated painting and Pictorialism, he argues, so digital photography borrows from photography in the same vein. But we must be wary of focusing upon initial similarities for fear of overlooking the differences. Only in this way will we transcend its beginnings and move towards its futures, in whatever direction that takes us.
What I take from this is that the rich diversity that digital photography offers us is tempered by its history, high-brow and otherwise. The speed at which it progresses, along with other digital formats such as video, dissuades and even scares people from trying to find the edge of the envelope which it invites us to test. As I commented on in a previous post, everyone who uses a digital camera of any type is complicit in this process, yet I suspect few would accept that they are. For them it is simply a case of convenience. They aren’t seeing it as photography, they are just seeing their world, digitally. They have themselves been digitally manipulated as have the images which they make with their devices.