I have to confess that I've become a bit disillusioned over the state of "photography" on social media. More and more it seems that the "popular" images are computer generated creations that either blended multiple images that couldn't possibly exist together or super saturated enhancements to create light and color that just didn't exist in the scene. And less I get called a "purist" or a "snob", I have nothing against digital artwork. Some of them dazzle me. It's just that the honesty and integrity when these creations are display often times seems lacking.
And there is no shortage of tips and lessons to accomplish the goal of creating something out of nothing. This example was forwarded to my inbox but it's likely not unique.
In my world this is miss. By that I mean you plan and head out to a spot that might be great but the clouds on the horizon just don't cooperate. So you pack up your gear and, with determination, plan to fight another day. Or, I guess, you could just make shit up. And I guess all this would be fine, except for the rampant subterfuge which I feel harms photography, as defined above, in a number of ways:
- It eroded the integrity of photography, and the photographer, in the eyes of the viewer.
- It creates a fake standard that needs to be constantly cranked up so the next creation can eclipse the last ones.
- It creates a new normal where all photography is assumed to be "Photoshopped". Now my most answered question isn't "What kind of camera do I use", but "How much Photoshop is in this image".
I find this disappointing for a number of reasons, but probably the most is that the color and drama is out there if we're willing to be patient and chase the light. According to the definition of photography, that's what photography is all about.
I think this one of the main reasons I have taken up shooting film again. And granted every film has a bias of how it represents colors, but with film you can't create light or color that just wasn't there. In the shot below I happen onto the scene during the late afternoon and quickly knew I was gonna hang around and wait for the light to get better. The rich reds on the boulder and in the grasses were only going to get better as the sun set behind me. So I waited. And was rewarded with a shot that required almost no processing at all. (You should be able to slide the center line back and forth to see the before and after).
This shot is almost straight out of camera, I mean straight off the slide. I did up the contrast a bit and I had to sharpen the image a fair bit which is normal for scanned film.
I totally realize that this post is a rant and has "NO" chance of changing anything. So why even waste the time writing it? Because I need to hear it and remember it. And this post is way too long for a tattoo on my forehead.
So you'll never see a Photoshopped landscape image from me ever. I promise.