A Commentary on Photo Legitimacy.

Started Nov 17, 2012 | Discussions thread
jbf Veteran Member • Posts: 3,502
Re: A Commentary on Photo Legitimacy.

Issues like honesty in journalism and unrealistic glamour images have been discussed to death and I don't have anything interesting to say about them.

When it comes to art, most people agree that anything goes.  Of course there are people who put down post processing.  I believe a lot of those people are simply tired of seeing bad edits posted on the web.  They don't have the patience to accept that anyone can post a photo to a photography site, including people who are new to editing or are experimenting with new techniques, and they don't take the time to sort the good from the bad.  Some critics of editing are purists and prefer minimal editing.  I respect their opinion as long as they aren't negative toward people who have a different aesthetic.

There is one great comment on the limits of editing that I read a long time ago (I don't remember where I read it).  I don't think it has been discussed:

Say you take photos at a birthday party, wedding, or other special event.  Then you post process those photos.  It can be fun to try the latest processing techniques you've learned.  However, when people look at those photos in future years, ideally they will get lost in the memories of the event and relive the emotions they experienced on that day or at a similar event that they attended.  If any attention is drawn to the way the photos are processed, it's a distraction from the memories of the actual event.  It's like watching a poignant scene in a movie and noticing the way the director moves the camera and cuts from shot to shot.  The processing can make it more difficult for the viewer to get lost in the scene.  Distractions cannot be completely avoided.  Some types of processing can even evoke nostalgia.  The important point is to be conscious of how the processing will affect what the viewer sees and experiences.

As compelling as that argument is when it comes to not going overboard with editing, it in no way deters a photographer from creating heavily processed images, even if those images are from an important event like a wedding.  Create as many imaginative versions of a photo as you like, just consider how the processing affects the viewer... and be sure to save the original files.


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