Digital art is an interpretation of reality. 

 Photography itself has always been an interpretation of reality, and these examples of digital art are an extension of that interpretation.  All of these images are based on photographs. 

Some are simply photos.  All have been interpreted through the physical and digital processes that capture the images and then adjust them to control or alter the interpretation, through color balance, contrast, intensity, sharpness and so on.  These are the tools any photographer uses.

Others have been further interpreted using tools in computer software.  Art filters convert some images to the semblance of familiar art techniques, such as watercolors.  The interpretation in these cases involves finding a filter that conveys the feeling of the scene, as experienced by the photographer, that is somehow different from, better than or more effective than the underlying photo

Retouching is a traditional tool in photography, and digital images extend its use.  It’s acceptable practice to remove flaws that were introduced by the camera.  Software also makes it easier to alter images, for instance to erase the tip of a tree limb that intrudes into and distracts from an otherwise perfect scene.

Composite images stretch the use of retouching but can overcome photographic limitations, such as when two parts of a scene present such extremes of exposure that each has to be photographed separately and then combined.

Art is about seeing.  The eye and the mind “see” things different from plain reality.  The mind silently crops a scene, ignoring some things while concentrating on certain parts of the picture.  The photographer/artist translates this mental experience to mechanical reality by framing and cropping.

Augmenting the focusing mechanisms of the eye, the mind can also combine or separate objects in a scene.  The photographer/artist translates this vision by depth of field, lighting and other techniques.

The eye and mind can perceive a wider range of light and shadow than conventional photography can capture.  The photographer/artist translates this combination by careful exposure, lab techniques such as burning and dodging, and other tools such as compositing. 

The mind also interprets a scene, “seeing” colors brighter, shadows darker, details sharper than a camera may capture.  Software extends the laboratory tools available to the photographer/artist to translate these characteristics of an image.

There’s no one correct interpretation.  Every picture can be presented in a rainbow of light, dark and color.  In the end, a print or a digital image represents just one of many possible representations.  It’s up to each viewer to decide if that image is attractive, effective, appealing, meaningful … or, in simple terms, a good picture.

What’s the point?

 Each of the pictures presented here had some kind of appeal to the photographer.  Each viewer may find his or her own appeal, or find that a picture lacks appeal.

The subject of a picture may simply be a shape, color, texture or interplay of light and shadow that appeals to the eye.  It may present some interesting aspect of a scene.  The subject may convey a visual or emotional impression, a setting of surpassing beauty, serenity, comfort, contrast or disquiet. 

A picture may also lead the mind to connect history and humanity.  It may inspire the viewer to consider, for instance, who were the individuals who helped create an object, what was their purpose, and how well did they succeed?  Or more simply, what happened here?

A picture may inspire emotions, which are creations of the mind.  Whatever inspired the photographer/artist to represent a scene in its current condition, it remains for the viewer to interpret whether the picture conveys any emotional impression.

Each of these images held some special appeal for the photographer/artist, who hopes that you will discover a similar appeal.






All photos © R. E. Perkins
For information about photo use, click here.

If you have comments, criticisms or questions, e-mail me at



Wednesday, November 09, 2011 11:05:58