Faster and faster…or not


Terry Gipson

Creating photographic art has never been easier.

After reflecting on the events at a recent conference I attended, I became aware again of the growing ability to process images quickly.

Adding artificial intelligence-derived elements to one's images is easily done with selecting and dragging. Copying presets to multiple images is as easy as a click of a button.

Using presets from others can result in wonderful outcomes without having to know how it happened or how to create that process on your own.

This advance in digital photographic processing allows one to flood the market with more of one's work. Mass processing is easily achieved. And I see many migrating to readily adopt the latest in software development.

Yet when I see this massive outpouring of work online, I must confess I become bored. It is a huge quantity of images using the same type of processing and presentation. After a while, I tend to start ignoring the photographers who take this approach.

Technological progress in the photography and software worlds is exciting to see, and the draw to participate is compelling. However, is there something lost in this ability to create massive quantities of the same work?

Two questions come to mind:

  • Is your work defined by what you can do with the latest software and camera-ware? OR
  • Do you look at the latest software and camera-ware to see if it furthers your own path in your art and then decide if it is worth adopting?

The answer to these questions defines our work. Is your work defined by technology or art?

In art there are no right answers. There is only honesty about one’s work.

This technological pace becomes tiresome to me after a while. The only bit of creativity seems to be trying out a new device or piece of software without any concern for one's art. The art produced becomes stale, stagnant, and mundane. It shows the progression of technology and not the artist's vision.

There will always be someone more up to date on the latest software or camera-ware than me. I will never be unique in that area. I can only be unique in art by being myself and sharing my own experience. That is a much slower and less exciting process than staying up to date with the current pace of software and camera-ware development.

My inner pace is so much slower than the rest of the world. Nature is perhaps the only thing that moves slower than my personal experience. That's why I venture into nature to discover and express my art. In nature I can slow my own pace to hear into the stillness of my own experience. In that stillness I find inspiration for my art.

Becoming a master of the latest technology is far from becoming a master in one's art. Accomplishment in art is slower and takes much more effort and time than adopting the latest software or camera-ware. It is a life-long and complicated effort. Few want to expend the energy necessary to achieve that level of mastery.

Flooding the internet with one's work is also far from becoming a master at producing fine art prints on your own. It is harder now to find true hand-made art than ever before.

In photography it is even harder.

Terry Gipson is a practicing physician, who in his spare time is pushing the bounds of traditional landscape photography. He writes about the journey into creativity and art at