Is Post-Production a Form of Art?

Post-production can be defined as the work done added to still or moving image after recording has taken place. A necessary part of the practice, post-production allows us to go further with our story telling by adding in elements that will fill the piece with rich layers of context.

POST-PRODUCTION VS EDITING?

Post-production and editing go hand in hand but distinguishes should be made between the two; Editing is the way colours are processed and the way pieces are linked together. In film, editing would be connecting the shots together to create the story, whilst editing in photography may be limiting down your shots down to a concise series that will tell the desired narrative.

Post-production is what happens within your frame, perhaps you want to smooth the model’s skin in your photography, or add a grey scale for effect, or in film CGI may be included to create characters that couldn't be played by humans.

If we look more specifically at still image, for us Beyond Photographers, Photoshop is basically an extension of our practice and included in most of our work. Released in 1990, Photoshop became an industry standard program for photographers globally. But post-production does not begin with Photoshop and it doesn’t end with this fantastic program either. Artists like Jean-Paul Goude, May Ray, Andy Warhol, were adding and removing elements to their photographs before digital was even a word associated with cameras. By distorting their work physically, they were creating something that couldn’t seen with the human eye in real life.

The world within these images is one that cannot be seen in real life, and therefore to ignore post-production as an art form would be to ignore the vital role it plays in the narrative of their work. For many, post-production isn’t an after thought, and when using their camera, artists will be thinking about how post-production will be added to continue their work.

PHOTOGRAPHER VS. IMAGE MAKER?

How can an artist be considered solely a photographer if they continue to create their work after the shutter is pressed? In this way they are an Image Maker, as they are using several processes aside from photography to create their piece.

For us, the definition of an image maker, is someone who uses images in their work, but is more than a photographer. And a photographer is someone who captures what they see with a camera. If we are adding layers upon layers of context to our work through post-production, then to call ourselves a photographer ignores the work that post-production has played in the creation of their piece.

Post-production is a fantastic area of technology and is developing rapidly; it can be found in many forms from retouching, rendering, glitching, cgi, physical editing (distorting the image away from digital technology such as painting or cutting) and a million other possibilities!

LOW DOWN

Post-production may not itself be an art form, it needs other forms of context for it to work, whether this be stills, video, music. When these forms include post-production they are no longer purely in the same genre, the lines are now blurred. To ignore what post-production does to photography or film is to ignore how the art form was made. When looking at a piece of work that has had post production involved in the process ask yourself, would the piece have the same message, themes, narrative if the post-production was not included? If the answer is no then the answer to the title of today’s blog is yes.

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