Over the past few months I have been able to interact with a lot of people and show them my work. Mainly at a few art fairs I participated in over the summer. So keep in mind these aren't curators or other folks that are otherwise familiar with fine art. Mostly just regular folks looking at photographs that they are drawn to. There were a few things that I heard repeated over and over again. One of them was, "is this photoshopped"?
I found it interesting that there was a fairly large chunk of people that thought it was bad to do any editing. Or that if you did in some way work on a photograph in post production that it made it easy or cheap. As if the post production process itself somehow demeaned the integrity of the photograph.
So I thought I would share my stance on post production editing. "Who cares"! That is it, short and sweet. I try not to have to do anything in post, but that is simply because it looks better directly scanned then if I get ahold of it in photoshop. There have been plenty of times when I have done some fairly serious alterations in post. But that is how I see the image.
For example the image above. When I photographed this it was a moment of opportunity. I was not sure when or if I would be able to return. So the lighting was horrible. There was a barbed wire fence running through the frame and there was one oddly placed cloud. I made the best of the situation and made as close to what I wanted in my negative as possible. Tweaked a little more in development (pulled the highlights back 2 stops). Then after staring at the monitor for an hour deleting my arch enemy DUST!!! I began removing a fence, a cloud and evening out the horrible lighting to get the photograph I wanted.
It turned out to be one of my favorite photographs taken over the summer. So what if I had to work on it in photoshop. The point is I made it. I took the vision I had for it and made it work. I have never quite understood the criticism of "oh well that was all done in post". Yeah, so? It was first created in the mind and only finished off in post. We all know that photo manipulation has been around forever. You can check out one of the masters of darkroom manipulation here. We would we criticize a painter for their choice of brush? I doubt it.
I make it a personal challenge to get everything as close to perfect as possible in camera. But it's just that, "personal". I like placing these sort self imposed burdens on myself, I feel like it sharpens my skills as a photographer. However some of the greatest work I have seen has had extensive work done on it in post production. For me it's the final content that counts. How you see things as an artist. Not how you create them.
Well thats enough out of me for one day. I have been busy working on my Anderson farm series. I have created a lot of new content that I just haven't had time to put finishing touches on. I began working at the farm a few months ago and that has given me a whole new perspective on the project. More on that soon. Until then let me know what you think about post production. Have you had similar experiences?
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