Sunday, September 28, 2014

Do The Ends Justify the Means?

Up until recent times, I think most people accepted photographs unquestioningly as depicting something that really happened. Unless it was outrageously altered. The introduction of Photoshop changed all that - despite the fact that people have been modifying pictures almost since photography's inception. There is a famous photo of several people standing with Josef Stalin which was "re-imagined" over the years as Stalin had them eliminated one by one.

Almost any professional photograph you see has been altered in some way. So the question is not "if" but, rather, "How much manipulation is acceptable?"

I read a lot of photography magazines where photographers claim they have only adjusted a picture to depict the scene as it appeared when they took the image. Well, guess what? Eyes can be fooled and, for that matter, so can memories. Even those of a photographer. That is a proven fact. That beautiful orange you saw in the sunset may not even be close.

The original unretouched photo straight out of the camera

So, I have to ask: If I can adjust a photograph to take it from very nice to spectacular, should I? My answer is, "Why not?" Glamour magazines are notorious for "polishing" photographs of models and other celebrities.

After opening in Adobe Lightroom and making adjustments to color, tone, etc.

For me, it boils down to the context in which a photograph is presented. Standards for journalism (a field where truth should prevail) are far different than the standards used to create a movie poster.

After opening in Photoshop and using it's capabilities as well as a plug-in to "polish" further

I don't sell my photos, so my opinion concerning my personal photographs is that I can pretty much do whatever pleases me - even if that involves some heavy "polishing!" I may not sell my photos, but if you see something you like, let's talk.

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