Photography, Art and Digital Manipulation

2012 Nostalgia

I had an intriguing conversation with a friend of mine a few days ago. She has been a supporter of mine artistically for some time now. She told me she liked my new botanical series because, she noted, a lot of people ask photographic artists if they have used Photoshop (or something similar) to produce a work. She thought I may have transcended that question, because it is so obvious that I did! (use Photoshop, I mean).  Whenever I am asked the “Photoshop question,” I’m never sure what answer is the right one but I suspect that “no” is preferred.  But I almost always say, yes!

Now I certainly understand why digital manipulation might be frowned upon in a photojournalist or an insurance adjuster. They are recording reality so accurate and exact representation is critical to their credibility. Just last summer AP dropped freelance photographer, Miguel Tovar, from their roster because they said he cloned his shadow out of a picture.

Over time I have come to understand that for a professional wedding or portrait photographer it saves enormous time and money if they don’t have to do much work in post production. Get it right in camera, they say, and they can accomplish far more in far less time. It’s the only way to run a successful business they claim.

But for an artist? I am neither a journalist nor a professional portrait photographer. I think of myself as an artist or at least I aspire to be one. It’s true there are still art shows that do not accept photography, so the question of whether photography can be art is apparently still up for discussion.  Perhaps my aspirations are in vain. Nevertheless, once I capture an image then my work really begins. Perhaps I am not a photographer at all, but a digital artist.

Above is an image I captured in my new studio. And yes! I did use Photoshop.

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