The Digital Design of Photography: Digital Photographic Manipulation and its Representation of Reality

By Ariel Body.

Published by The International Journal of the Image

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper will explore the topic of designing photographic representations of reality from digital artifice and will contemplate the notions it inspires about the correlation between the photograph and truth in the digital age. If a photograph typically stands as evidence of something’s existence, is it possible to create a photo of a memory or a dream? This paper will explore this idea through a discussion of relevant techniques and practical examples of digital manipulation as a means of recreating reality. The key theme of the paper will surround the use of computer generated imagery (CGI) in place of and as photography, exploring the idea of blurring the boundaries between the ‘real’ world and the ‘digital’ world by recreating snapshots of memories using 3D computer modeling and photo- realistic rendering in conjunction with photography. Considering that, arguably, manipulation in one form or another is found in nearly all photographs anyway—from pre-shutter staging to a variety of post-processing techniques—this particular digital manipulation technique offers a unique perspective on designing photography. The paper will seek to inspire a shift in thinking about photography from something that captures the present to something that recreates the past, using modern digital manipulation techniques that push the boundaries of the definition of the photograph and what it represents.

Keywords: Photography, Computer Generated Imagery, Digital Manipulation, Role of Photographs

The International Journal of the Image, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp.153-162. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 2.423MB).

Ariel Body

MA Multidisciplinary Design Student, University of Ulster, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK

Ariel Body recently completed an MA Multidisciplinary Design at the University of Ulster in Belfast, Northern Ireland. With a background and passion for graphic design and photography, Body currently lives in Arizona and is self employed as a freelance visual communicator, exploring new and innovative ways of visual storytelling. Her research and current work explores the future of the photographic medium by investigating the relationship between the real and imagined by challenging the traditional techniques of photographic imaging, particularly in relation to the use of computer-generated imagery and digital manipulation.