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Photoshop IS Art

I’ve been saying this for years: these days, it’s no longer enough to just be a creative headshot photographer…
…especially with the introduction of Photoshop way back in February 1990, and with the birth of digital photography, which, coincidentally, was around the same time. (The first recorded attempt at building a digital camera was in 1975 by Steven Sasson, an engineer at Eastman Kodak. The camera weighed in at 8 pounds (3.6 kg), recorded black and white images to a cassette tape, had a resolution of 0.01 megapixels, and took 23 seconds to capture its first image. This camera used the then-new solid-state CCD image sensor chips that were developed by Fairchild Semiconductor in 1973.) But I digress…

My point is, what the advent of digital photography and Photoshop has done to the average photographer is to make him proficient in two mediums. First, you have to be a competent photographer, knowing, understanding, and being a master of light and composition; and then, there is the whole other world called Photoshop. There has been a lot of talk of Photoshop making the graphic world convoluted with regard to “old-school photography”, making everything seem “fake.” I say, it’s just another art form, and these crotchety old photographers need to get over it.

I’ve attended the world Photoshop conference in Las Vegas on two different occasions over the past 4 years, and I will say that the amount of information and skills that I’ve learned simply blow my mind. I have now become a photographer, and a painter!

I believe, as time goes on, that you gain skill sets in your life that enable you to become a more productive, creative person. From a technical standpoint, I feel that the computer is not merely a shortcut for what is possible with a camera, but instead, it is an extension of the camera and it allows me to discover what is possible in many other mediums, too. However, with the digital realm being so forgiving and offering so many options for exploration, that discipline becomes part of the challenge: The paint is never dry, the exposure is never fixed, and the print is never final – as a Photoshop expert all components can be done differently at any point.

Here, the art form is realizing the sweet spot of actually having done what you set out to do, and then knowing when to stop. That said, it’s still up for interpretation, as it is art, and therefore, you can be done with a piece when you decide you’re done. Part of the fun for me is hearing what others have to say about it and what their interpretation is.

I think in this day and age you need to add slashes to your resume and in your life. It used to be just “photographer” now, its photographer/painter/graphic designer/artist. And I’m not saying be a “jack of all trades, master of none”, I’m saying be a master of all trades that you embark upon and become a more diversified, valuable person. That is what I’m trying to do with my art. That, and change the world… too ambitious? I think not. It’s all relative anyway, isn’t it?

Posted by Los Angeles Photoshop Expert Dan Warner