Digital Photography
E-lmanach No. 1



What is

as art

What is


Ms. Metagraphy

The technique
of digital photography.

About the Author

What is digital photography?
That's amazing, but there is no direct answer to this question. Most citizens of my wonderful country hold that this is any picture taken with a digital camera. This opinion is widespread and remains deep in people's consciousness. If you, God forbid it, tell somebody that you happen to be involved in this digital photography, you will most likely be treated as a person who was deprived of toys in his childhood and now tries to catch up.
Alas, alas, only a small group of experts and critics, who scrutinize contemporary photography, knows this great mystery: a digital photograph is not necessarily taken with a digital camera. This is all about processing methods. Most works in digital photography are taken with a regular film camera and then digitized. A film or a picture is scanned, processed through a computer (not necessarily with "hot filters", sometimes all it takes is just removing a speck of dust), and then the output comes out of a printer or a special photo printer that transfers an image onto photo paper.
So, here comes a digital photograph…

Digital photography as art. Part One.
Of course, this is all easy in words, especially if you consider an opinion of an average non-computer-literate individual who truly believes that a computer does everything itself, and ahuman role is narrowed to various small dirty tricks, such as creating viruses (one popular newspaper assured, though, that viruses have arrived from space).
Yes, certainly, art does not represent anything complicated-as Mr. Michaelangelo said, all you need in a sculpture is just to cut everything unnecessary off a marble block. The same principle holds for graphic two-dimensional arts, or, more precisely, not to allow the unnecessary. To an artist, if he is a true artist with a gift from God, it does not matter how to create the Eternal. A brush, a computer, a camera-all are the Instruments for expressing his Secret Knowledge.
"A-a-a," a disenchanted Philistine says, "he did it with his computer, and I was about to like it..." Well, that's how our mentality works: If this is oil and canvas, be it even three times bungling, this is a piece of art. But a computer is "cold and soulless"-as if an artist's brush had a spirit. An average individual totally nullifies a genius artist and always suggests that something is wrong, something supernatural must help him, he could not create all of this himself-I cannot do it, for instance-an average individual thinks. "This is all from the devil," he said in the Middle Ages and joyfully dragged an artist and all his works to a fire. "A-a-a, this is Corel," I hear behind me at the end of the twentieth century and, looking back, see an exhausted by his life youth who pronounces this revelation, and beside him a young tender creature looking at him in awe. How to explain them that Corel has nothing to do with it?
This is all from the devil, i.e., from Corel…

What is metagraphy?
Once upon a time, at one of the numerous exhibitions, having been tired of proving that I did not have a digital camera and that I was not an advertising agent for a computer firm, I ended up with a term "digital photography" conclusively. To be more precise, I apply it carefully now, like the first kiss-looking into my vis-a-vis' eye with caution-whether a flicker of fear crosses his face.
Since 1998, since an exhibition "Metagraphy. An Introduction", which was held at Eugene Zavarzin's magnificent gallery "EZ", I have called this technique "metagraphy". Because this is something beyond graphics, because some of the ancient philosophers, I guess Aristotle, called philosophy metaphysics, i.e., the science following physics. In the same way, metagraphy is the next step to photography. Not that it is better or more perfect, God forbid it; this is just the next technological stage.
In general, it is quite a childish business to argue about what is better-AAA or BBB, who is stronger-an elephant or a whale. If there is something New about an artist's creation, which has not been in the World so far, if this New makes people see this World, if it gives people a key to the Mystery, this is a masterpiece, be it made of gold or clay.

The technique of digital photography.
We will discuss it in the next issue.


© 1998, V.Kharchenko