This is a piece of digital art that I created using the tools of modern photography; both hardware (digital camera + lenses) and software tools (image processing computer programs.)

There was a time when I would have thought anyone describing his work in that way is …perhaps pretentious(?!) Why not just say “photograph” or “digital photograph” or even… “Photoshop job” and be done with it. What’s all this about tools of photography and digital art? Well, now that the shoe is on the other foot and I too use such tools to create imagery, I can answer those questions. And the answers have to do with definitions.

Definitions are indispensable when it comes to developing a body of work in any human enterprise; art, or science, or commerce. What is the objective we are after? Unless we have a clear idea of what kind of house we are building, how will we know when it is finished? The Winchester Mystery house comes to mind. An interesting curiosity, perhaps, but not the best way to shelter, comfort, nurture and inspire a human family. There was never a clear plan, never a definition of what was to be built.

So, how do we define this image? Perhaps by answering the common questions:

* Is this a “photograph”? Not by the common definition. A “Photograph” is, essentially, the record of light interacting with either chemical compounds, as in film, or photo-electric elements, as in a digital sensor. This image, as shown, was never recorded on any such media.

* Is it a “photograph” by my own definition? Actually, no, it is…two photographs, blended together, plus digital enhancements in light / composition / contrast / and color.

* Did I see this image with my own eyes before attempting to photograph? I saw and photographed it’s major elements; a howling wolf at close quarters, and a trail in a forest. Did I see the two together, as shown in this image? Yes. I “saw” them… in my imagination, with my “mind’s eye” (see my last blog post).

* Is this scene fictitious then? Yes. In the same sense that most visual art is likewise fictitious, depicting imaginary events, and sometimes, objects.

* So, is it something like a “photographic fairy tale?” Close. Except that, strictly speaking, fairy tales are about mythical characters. A wolf and a forest trail are not mythical or imaginary.  And seeing a wolf in a forest trail is not an unlikely event, either.

So, gather round, friends, and let me tell you about a time, long ago, and a place far away, in a dark forest…

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