“A camera is a tool for learning how to see without a camera”, Dorothea Lange
I chose Dorothea Lange’s above quote for a reason. It takes a while but eventually one’s vision becomes conditioned by the frame of the viewfinder. Photography is an art, photography is a passion. The frame of the viewfinder is much more than a perimeter delineating the boundaries of one’s view. In fact, the frame encompasses not just the subject but also a sense for colour, quality of light, perspective, depth of field, and even the finished product.
It also, often times, conveys a sense of false security. I remember “shooting” in certain conditions where had I not had a camera between the real world and I, I might have wished I were somewhere else.
Photography also goes beyond the act of pressing on the shutter release button. Although photographers all want the perfect shot which will require virtually no post processing. Reality is: post-processing is, in most cases, a must. It is a must because unless the image is taken in an environment where lighting, colour temperature, background and subject matter are all under strict control, reality is that the final product can be much improved by photo editing tweaks. As a matter of fact, most if not all, pros shoot in raw format in order to maximize the post process itself. In the “good old days” one would spend endless nights in the darkroom, dodging, burning, modulating development times etc. in order to achieve an end result approaching the initial vision.
Digital photography has freed photographers from the tedious chores of the darkroom and opened new avenues for their creativity.
I’m always a little bothered when I hear people saying an image was “photoshopped” when they really mean “Wow this picture was incredibly well enhanced!”
Photographers who want to enjoy the full dynamic range of the digital image use the raw format when taking the picture. This implies a post-processing step (whether Photoshop or any other photo editing software, it is really irrelevant). So when viewers ask whether the image was photoshopped, this should really be taken as a compliment.
Another thought came up in a conversation recently: is it alright to alter an image (again the “photoshop concept” is implied). Here I would like to make a parallel. If a painter decides that the scene he is depicting would look better with a few more clouds or the sun in a different angle, does that reduce the value or credibility of his work? My position is that an image is like a painting or any other form of visual art and it’s sole purpose is to render the creator’s vision. And that is the difference between a snapshot and a photographic image.
Copyright Fritschi © Photographs 2000-2014