After Photoshop Manipulated Photography in the Digital Age
This installation explores various ways in which artists, including Nancy Burson, Filip Dujardin, Joan Fontcuberta, Beate Gütschow, and others, have used digital technology to alter the photographic image from the 1980s to the present. Featuring approximately twenty-five works drawn from the permanent collection, it serves as an addendum to the special exhibition Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop.
Over the past twenty years, photography has undergone a dramatic transformation. Mechanical cameras and silver-based film have been replaced by electronic image sensors and microchips. Instead of shuffling through piles of glossy prints, we stare at the glowing screens of laptops, tablets, and mobile phones. Negative enlargers and chemical darkrooms have given way to personal computers and image-processing software. Photographers have always used manual techniques to alter their images, but digital cameras and applications such as Adobe Photoshop have made the process quicker, easier, and more accessible to many more people—both amateurs and professionals—than ever before.
Today, the manipulation of photographic images is ubiquitous—in magazines and advertising, in police work and medical imaging, and increasingly in the snapshots of vacations, weddings, and graduations that we email to friends and family and upload to social-networking websites. It is not surprising that artists have seized upon these new tools to realize their visions and to spur reflection on the medium's past, present, and future. This exhibition presents a selection of photographs and video in which artists have used digital technology to modify and transform the camera image or, in some cases, to generate convincingly realistic photographs with no real-world counterparts. Whether imagining alternate realities, reinterpreting classic works of art, or exuberantly defying the laws of gravity, these artists and others are pointing the way toward a new conception of photography as a malleable medium with an exquisitely complex relationship to visual truth.