Transforming Media: Painting, Photography and Digital Imagery


Savedoff, Barbara E. ‘Transforming Media: Painting, Photography and Digital Imagery’ Transforming Images: How Photography Complicates the Picture (New York: Cornell University Press, 2000) 185-209


[on painting and photography] the relations between these two media have undergone important changes, from the time of photography’s first struggle to define itself against painting, to the present time, when with the help of digital technology, photography again finds itself moving closer to painting.


Maynard describes how technologies can generally be understood as amplifiers of our powers of locomotion, of communication, or of production, among others, but he points out that while a given technology will amplify certain of our powers, it will, typically, suppress others.

Maynard describes photography as a technology that enhances our powers of depiction and detection, and he calls on us to investigate the suppressions to which photography may be subject.


New technologies alter, rather than simply extend, the resources of art.

The development of a new medium can change the way we see and use older media, and can thus change our readings of works produced in those older media. Once beliefs and practices have altered, artists may find that certain types of effects can no longer be obtained.