I just got done reading Alain Briot’s article titled Just Say Yes. If you shoot digital photography, I highly recommend you read it… go ahead, I’ll wait.
Well I’m going to guess that most digital photographers started out like me. Originally I wanted to accurately capture the moment or whatever, but then I realized that it just wasn’t possible. Film, digital sensors and lenses are all flawed compared to the human eye which is itself not perfect. So I started making small adjustments in contrast and saturation to try to recreate what I saw. Then overtime, I not only improved my composition and exposure, but I found myself wanting to express my creativity a little more.
Slowly, I’ve gotten more and more comfortable with using Photoshop, both as a tool and as part of my art. Honestly, I usually still do very little manipulation of my photos, but there are occasions when I do major enhancements like merging two exposures to improve dynamic range or improving the color to my taste. So far I haven’t tried doing things like removing ugly buildings from landscapes, but I’m not really sure that is any different. I’m not really sure if I can or should still call these images “photographs”, but that’s not really important to me- I’m no longer trying to create photographs, but images to be enjoyed.
What is important to me though is realizing that no camera/lens can capture the “truth”- whatever that truth may be. But when a photographer creates an image he express that truth as his “reality” for others to enjoy. As always some realities are closer to the truth, but unlike trying to record history, there is no right or wrong reality- at least as long as you’re honest about making changes.