Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Pixar's The Good Dinosaur & The Future of Photography

I watched Disney Pixar's latest animated film The Good Dinosaur yesterday. It's not a bad kid's movie. Actually, it's better than I thought it would be based on the previews. Pixar has a reputation of digital animation hits, and this one didn't disappoint.

What struck me most about the movie was the amazingly realistic scenery. The background and foreground--pretty much everything that wasn't a dinosaur, animal or human--was super realistic and beautiful. It didn't look like animation, but actual pictures! You could take frames from the movie and never know that they're not photographs.

My first thought was that photography's dead. Someone in front of a computer screen without ever leaving his or her office (or basement) can create a perfect "photograph." You can make the scene whatever you want with the light however you want, just using a computer. You could create perfection.

Perfection doesn't exist in nature. The digital "photographer" has a big advantage over actual photography! So why should photography survive?

Photography is not about perfection, but about emotion, about communication. It's what the viewer takes away from the image that's important. Was the photograph able to speak to them? Was it able to move them?

Whether a real photograph or a fake computer-graffics photograph, what makes it good is the same. And either way, what the artist makes it to be is what determines if it's successful or not.

Photographers need not worry that CGI will replace real photography. Photography will survive just fine, but only if photographers nonverbally speak relevant messages through their images. It's up to the photographer to ensure that the genre continues, by pushing himself or herself to create stronger work.

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