This image started life as a photograph of a discarded length of plastic pipe on a building site. It was heavily manipulated in Photoshop using a variety of tools and filters.
In this form can it still be considered a photograph?
I know its history, as do you dear reader, but to the casual observer at an exhibition or here on the net, without the explanation, its photographic credentials wouldn't even be considered.
It would be considered an abstract image, end of story.
This image has more of a photographic feel about it with some recognizable elements that fit within the photography genre.
Those with an intimate knowledge of photography would recognize these elements, the motion blur, the chromatic fringing and the double exposure.
But, to the average viewer it would be considered a semi abstract if not just an abstract and again end of story.
This third photograph is closest to "real" photography of them all and I suspect would be recognized as such by most viewers. It has an abstract feel to it but the subject matter is quite recognizable.
That all 3 have had post production in the digital dark room in their creation, to varying degrees, is fairly obvious. Although the last one has had no more done to it than the usual tweaking of any photograph by a photographer with access to Photoshop.
For me the final image is what it is all about, how that is achieved is secondary. What the image says is all, be it a black & white photograph straight out of the camera or an abstract that any resemblance to a photograph is purely co-incidental.
When implicit rules are laid down about the authenticity of the photographic process being the judgment criteria of an image I am left cold. So much so that in my usual conversation I tend to leave photograph out of my vocabulary and refer to images, pictures or pics instead.