The debate over CGI

The Creative Review has published a provocative article titled “The Traditional Studio Photographer Is About to Die,” on the increasing popularity of CGI and what it means for photographers. If you’re a commercial photographer and haven’t added CGI to your repertoire, you might want to read it. “We’re fast approaching the tipping point,” car photographer Carl Lyttle tells writer Diane Smyth, who is the deputy editor for the British Journal of Photography. “Those photographers who aren’t moving into 3D won’t be around in three or four years.”

Smyth says art directors are drawn to CGI because it gives them greater control, while Chris Christodoulou, managing director of British CGI specialists Saddington & Baynes notes that it also enables ad agencies to avoid model-release fees. “You would think that with all the people in the world it would be easier to shoot someone but we get asked by agencies all the time, eager to avoid the issue of model release fees,” he says. “With CGI you could design exactly the person you wanted.”

“Those photographers who aren’t moving into 3D won’t be around in three or four years.”

CGI doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing proposition, though. Back in May, I wrote about how Jim Fiscus—who has always made it a priority to be at the cutting edge of photographic tools and technology—combined straight photography with CGI to create a personal project called “The Unfortunate Moment of Misunderstanding.” The project, which Jim conceived as a sort of photographic novella, is highly moody, brooding, and psychological. Not, in other words, an exercise in technology for technology’s sake. As the industry grapples with how to integrate CGI, we’re betting that the photographers who use it well and wisely will have one thing in common: old-fashioned creativity.

From Jim Fiscus's "The Unfortunate Moment of Misunderstanding," a personal photo project that incorporated CGI.

From Jim Fiscus's "The Unfortunate Moment of Misunderstanding," a personal photo project that incorporated CGI.

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