It's time to abandon PhotoShop

Started Jan 9, 2013 | Discussions thread
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Re: Graphic Artists or Photographers
In reply to RobBobW, Jan 26, 2013

RobBobW wrote:

MrMojo wrote:

Ansel created the darkroom equivalent of extensive digital post-processing: The Zone System.

Ansel combined camera exposure, film development and darkroom techniques to produce his iconic images. Many if not all of his most famous images were only possible because of his extensive "post-processing."

Years ago I had the opportunity to see one of his negatives and a straight print from the negative. The print was awful: it had zero contrast and it was muddy and gray in appearance. But Ansel knew what he was doing; it wasn't a mistake. He knew what he wanted in the final print so he exposed the 8X10 film and developed it so he would have the best foundation for working his magic in the darkroom. If he exposed the film to achieve the best possible result in the camera it would not have been possible to produce the image that he had pre-visualized.

I'm all for getting it as right as possible in the camera; post-processing is no replacement for poor technique. But there are times when the subject requires lens filters, skilled post-processing, etc. in order to obtain what the photographer wants and there is nothing wrong with it.

Photography has always had inherent technological limitations. Skilled photographers develop techniques using the available tools (film, chemicals, printing paper, software...) to get the most out of the medium.

I could not agree more. Truly great film based prints always involved lots of work in the back ground. Pushing/pulling the exposure/development of the negatives to dodging/burning the print exposure to selecting the correct paper contrast etc. Thankfully I can do most of that digitally now with a combination of camera adjustments and post processing of the RAW image file without having to come in contact with all those nasty chemicals anymore. I guess part of this argument depends upon what is meant by "getting the exposure correct out of the camera." In my definition, getting the exposure "correct" allows me to do what I need in PP, but that exposure will not necessarily mean a direct print of the file without PP will look good.

I think a line can be drawn at local adjustments though some correctly done dynamic range compression (eg, make a window in an inside shot darker) requires local adjustments. But once I have multiple windows in a scene and make one of them darker or brighter but not the others you go beyond making the perception of the scene different (something very central to photography) to changing the scene.

Imagine a photo of a building with a lots of windows, if you were to make some of the windows darker or brighter so that they form letters, you have created something that was not there.

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