In this video, MIT Associate Professor Ramesh Raskar says that photo-realism is dead. They're discussing machine learning and technologies working to give us evenly exposed night-time images on our mobile phones. If these technologies are not available in professional cameras today, will they ever be, and would you want them as a professional photographer?
If you've used the night-time photo feature on your smartphone, it can almost be argued that the moment you've captured never existed and that it's only an algorithmic interpretation that tries to give you an image you could share. For my past self, photography was about documentation, capturing a moment in time. This has changed over the years, where I do a lot more retouching and color manipulation to render an image I believe best describes the vision I have.
I am comfortable with the camera assisting in bringing my vision to life instead of capturing reality as is. I do a lot of fashion and beauty work, so this lends itself to this mindset. But, I suppose in genres such as documentary photography, the point is that reality is captured as is.
Do you think photo-realism is dead? Let us know in the comments.
Realism in photography has never existed in any meaningful sense due to the fundamental differences between cameras and the human eye.
If you think of all the variables: white balance, tone, dynamic range, depth of field, motion blur/freezing etc, then realism is just an attempt to make the photo look like what you see - or more accurately what you think you remember you saw. And that ignores individual differences in perception.
What the eye/brain sees is not reality but a construct. A photograph is simply a different construct, neither more nor less real.
and the basic fact you are transforming 3D into 2D. I suppose the only way a photograph could be called 'realistic' is if you were to photograph another photograph and then compare the two - otherwise all photographs are approximations (based more or less on some engineer's taste)
I don't think it's dead but I think if camera manufacturers were to mimic camera phones, it could be detrimental to them.
"For my past self, photography was about documentation, capturing a moment in time. This has changed over the years, where I do a lot more retouching and color manipulation to render an image I believe best describes the vision I have"
Or is it that cameras are just incapable of delivering "what we saw" straight out of camera. What we see is made, invariably, of what we felt, how the scene made us feel or a combination of the two. Since cameras can't deliver that bit of "realism" just yet, post processing will have to suffice.
Photos are photos. They can show whatever photographer wants them to show and interpreted however the viewer perceives them.
This is just getting started. Because of their always-connected processing advantage, "phones" will be able do things that "cameras" simply can't; the question is, how do we feel about the resulting images? I have a blog post on this which some here might find interesting: