“No Such Thing as a Straight Photograph”: Computational Photography Pioneer

Computational photography pioneer Marc Levoy argues “straight photography,” an idea popularized by Ansel Adams, is a myth.

Levoy, an Adobe VP and Fellow, was recently elected to the National Academy of Engineering and was recognized for his work in computer graphics and digital/computational photography. In a recent interview with Adobe, Levoy was asked for his thoughts on the photography industry and one major aspect of it stood out: his argument that the concept of straight photography does not actually exist.

The Concept of Straight Photography

The term “straight photography,” sometimes referred to as “pure photography,” refers to the practice of depicting a scene in sharp focus and detail with a camera, which is in contrast to other methods of recording a scene like painting. Though found in use as early as 1904, the term became popularized by Alfred Stieglitz as a more “pure” form of photography than Pictorialism, another popular method of taking photos.

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