Don Griffiths, PhotoArtist | "IS IT ART?" by Dave Griffiths


By Dave Griffiths


It is possible to radically alter the appearance of an image with the click of a mouse. Some are calling this phenomenon "pushbutton" art. And there are those who say it isn't art at all. To me, this is like saying that because it used to take days to make a pair of shoes that can now be made in minutes, they aren't really shoes at all.


Filters and plug-ins are marvelous tools, but that’s all they are. The fact that they work instantly and globally does not diminish their status as tools; tools have always made things easier and faster. In a few years, we will be able to accurately emulate all styles of art, and have many new styles at our fingertips. We will also invent our own. It will indeed be pushbutton art, but there will be thousands of pushbuttons, and they will have endless variations. These tools will enable us to create a tremendous variety of images and some of them will amaze us.


I am not a purist. If I can find a pushbutton that will create the effect that I want, I will use it. I am not talking about photojournalism where accuracy is imperative. I am talking about art where anything goes. I am amused by those who disdain the use of computer programs to modify their images as if they would be violating some rule. I am reminded of my Dad’s camera club where I heard photographers proclaiming that Ansel Adams would never make it as a photographer because his photographs never had a clear center of interest.


Digital painting and digital photography are so powerful, they will dramatically change the world of art and photography. Many will resist, but it will happen.


So, is it art? Of course it is. It will just take some artists and some viewers time to adjust to these new and powerful tools.