Out with the old, in with the ... well, what exactly?

Just pondering the quote, below, from Robert Frank and, in light of it, thinking about the direction photography in general is going.

It seems to me that there is much less realism now than Frank was talking about. (Does that also mean that, as a corollary, there is therefore less humanity? Perhaps, and we’ll have to think long and hard about that).

It is arguable that the paradigm has reversed. It seems that vision is now to the forefront, and realism takes a back seat. I enter photography contests fairly regularly, and look at exhibitions when I can, and often view blogs and what-have-you. Photoshop is everywhere. There is so much image manipulation going on that the question of “what constitutes a photograph” is something that cannot help but be raised.

The post-processing taking place, at least in the art-oriented field, is increasingly pure “vision”. Pretty much universally, it seeks to alter the “realism” of the image (OK, in many cases, nothing more is done than would have been done in a darkroom - I do that myself - however these are not the images to which I refer). So where does this leave reality/realism? And what about humanity?

I really don’t know. But as far as photography is concerned I’m more comfortable with the unchanged paradigm, where vision and realism are more or less in balance.

Perhaps this is just the typical reactionary feelings of someone who can’t accept that things need to change.

Well, maybe. But if the art is decreasingly based on any skerrick of reality and is increasingly pure vision, then where does it cease to be photography and become illustration - or something else? What forms the basis of the vision, if not in something tangible? Apart from some pseudo-hallucinogenic trip vision thing of course (which is perfectly valid!).

Over to you. How do you feel about it?