Is clicking the shutter really enough ? Do we spend too much time post processing ? Should we be ‘pure’ in our art. What comes in the lens, comes out in the print….
I’d say NO. Clicking the shutter for me, is only the beginning of the process.
Whilst digitally enhancing images has become far easier, it’s nothing new. The practice has existed since photography began. There was an exhibition in New York in 2012 which examined this whole thing. Click HERE for the link. The exhibition featured images created in the period 1840 – 1990. Look again at the first date…… 1840 !!! The photographs were altered using a variety of techniques including multiple exposures, combination printing (images used from more than one negative), painting, and retouching. Nothing new really here, apart from the speed – it was much slower then to get the same results as nowadays.
Unknown Artist, American School
Man on Rooftop with Eleven Men in Formation on His Shoulders
Gelatin silver print
Collection of George Eastman House
Photo Courtesy: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
The earliest example I could find was this one…. a two headed man – created in 1855 !
So why is manipulation such a huge problem for some people?
My all time hero – Ansel Adams was one of the greatest landscape photographers of all time. He was probably one of the perfectionists. His images were printed, edited, printed, edited, and printed again. His ‘zone’ system is complex, and, for his time, revolutionary. Google him – look at his images before and after editing. One of his most famous pictures – Moonrise over Hernandez, New Mexico’ – is a perfect example of his post processing skills.
So, next time the ‘purists’ start shouting about images coming straight out of the camera, because that’s how it should be done, just remind them that although sometimes it’s done that way – most times it’s not. That old adage that ‘the camera never lies’ is bunkum. It lies most of the time.
The reality is that the people who make the cameras in Japan, or where-ever are the people who are ultimately telling you what your image will look like – especially if you are shooting in JPEG. They decide the colours, the saturation, the sharpness. You decide on the crop.
The ultimate decision of course is the photographers own. There is no right and wrong way to process (or not) your own images. There is also no need to preach about perfect out of camera images – nor is there a need for people to stop manipulating images just as much as they would like.
There’s space for all of us…….
No go out and MAKE some photographs…………
Maurice Guibert (French, 1856–1913)
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (French, Albi 1864–1901 Saint-André-du-Bois)
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec as Artist and Model
Gelatin silver print
Philadelphia Museum of Art, Gift of Henry P. Mcllhenny, 1982-14-2