The camera freed artists from the constraints of being able to represent people and objects accurately to earn a living.  As I understand it, in the pre-photography era one way for a client to signal his great wealth was to commission a portrait with two hands showing, hands being the most difficult part of the human anatomy to represent accurately.  (Might even be true, look closely at President Obama's official portrait.)  The emulsion in the camera was indifferent to whatever was exposed to light.

Thus came all the various approaches to painting, the "isms" if you will, which the gallery director aboard Regal Princess explained to me served as a classification function for art historians and for interior decorators.  Thus, for instance, a painter can render the impression of a scene under different kinds of light and the term "impressionist" conserves on transaction costs for the decorator.  Or the painter can capture the essential elements of a scene using primary colors, and perhaps that is "expressionist" (or, this being an academic convention, you'd rather call it fauvist or dadaist, or argue with me for playing fast and loose with the categories!)

That noted, let me illustrate a feature in my latest digital camera, a relatively straightforward Canon Power Shot SX620 HS.  What it took Claude Monet years of work to do, an algorithm can do with one setting and one push of the shutter.

Natural light

Algorithmically modified light.

Fish-eye filter.

Then I took the algorithmically altered light and ran that picture through an old Seattle Film Works "posterize" function.

There are probably fancier programs out there that permit distorting the images and otherwise messing with them.  All the techniques of the art world, but without ever having to clean up?

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