The Argument for Photographic Purism

A different way to look at creative photography

Stan at Netflix, 2008

A disconnect is that photos present an optical illusion when it comes to the human visual system — we have an instantaneous visceral reaction to what we see in a photo — even before we do the higher-order processing for the question of its veracity. Like telling the jury to disregard the outburst in the courtroom, it’s hard to get the genie back in the bottle. Which makes the fakes that much more pernicious.

Two Kinds of Photos


Henri Cartier-Bresson, “Hyeres, France” ( 1932)
Sebastiao Salgado, “Firefighter and Fireball, Kuwait” (1991)

Fine Art Photography

(l) Stephen Sheffield “Ascent” (2009); (r) Irving Penn “Frozen Foods” (1977)
(l) Marion Post Wolcott “Unemployed Coal Miner’s Child Carrying Home a Can of Kerosene” (1938); (r) Erika Stone “Lower East Side” (1947)

Modernism in the Digital Era

A couple recent Instagram posts from friends; Nate (at left) usually shows photos that are organic, so for this “amazing shot” he has to qualify it as faked. It would only take one share of his image for that note to be lost and this to be consumed as a true photo; conversely Russell Brown (at right) is one of the pioneers of Photoshop and has to qualify that he really saw the bird and this is an organic image.
Half Moon Bay, 2017

Pure Seeing

Davenport Sea Glass Hunters, 2016

Formally, But Naturally, Composed

Lake Chautauqua, 2009


San Francisco, 2015

Moment, More than Object

Palm Springs, 2015

Without Commercial Intent



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M. H. Rubin

M. H. Rubin

Living a creative life, a student of high magic, and hopefully growing wiser as I age. • Ex-Lucasfilm, Netflix, Adobe. • Here are my stories and photos.