Peter Plagens wonders if photography is dead in this week’s Newsweek. Some didn’t consider photography art in the first place, but Ms. Plagens asserts that it is the last art form tethered to realism and now its factual validity has been manipulated and pixelated to the point of extinction.
Film photography’s artistic cachet was always that no matter how much darkroom fiddling someone added to a photograph, the picture was, at its core, a record of something real that occurred in front of the camera. A digital photograph, on the other hand, can be afairy tale, containing only a tiny trace of a small fragment of reality. By now, we’ve witnessed all the magical morphing and seen all the clever tricks that have turned so many photographers—formerly bearers of truth—into conjurers of fiction. It’s hard to say “gee whiz” anymore.