When is a photograph no longer a photograph?

There's been some pretty heated debate lately about "what is TOO much Photoshop" or "when is a photo simply no longer a photo". And to be honest, who cares? The world is full of hate and negativity, why can't we, as photographers and artists, just get a long and do what we love to do... create.

Personally, I like my photographs to evoke emotion, to show a scene how I felt it, not necessarily how it looks to your eye. In saying that, my edits are generally pretty realistic - I don't add skies, or remove anything other than the odd dust spot, distracting tree branches or footprints. What you see is what you get. Of course, I put my own creative spin on an image with my fairly distinctive style of post processing, which typically involves local contrast and saturation adjustments, dodging and burning, selective vignetting and usually a nice subtle touch of Orton (especially to the highlights) to finish it off.

Photographers are artists. There's the photography purists that barely retouch their images at all, and then there's the digital manipulators who create photographs from multiple images. I like to think I sit somewhere in the middle. There is no right or wrong way to create your images, that's why they are YOUR images. However, I do think it is wrong to claim an image as "real" or to deny that the sky has been replaced, but thats a discussion for another day.

The point of this short post is just to share my opinion. An opinion that means no more or less than your own. If you take anything away from this post, let it be that honesty is your friend. Photography is art no matter how you look at it and we are all just trying to create in our own ways.

Let me leave you with an image that is something completely different for me. It's made up of two images, captured on the same dull and dreary day. Straight out of camera image is on the left; the highly edited image is on the right. Whilst the photograph doesn't depict the scene from that day, it was a good opportunity for me to push my creativity and Photoshop abilities. And yes, I said photograph... Hope you like it!

OtherMatt Donovan8 Comments