Break down the word photograph and you get photo = light plus graph = write. So it’s about writing with light. A story. Hopefully, a compelling one.
But what happens when we take a photo and go beyond the actual image that’s been taken? Is it still a photograph?
As photographers, we all do post-production; color correct, crop, touch-up and enhance a graphic file to meet our needs or liking. Even photojournalists, who are held to the most strict standards of not altering the content of their images, do post. So it’s undeniable that there’s a blurry line, or in our digital world, blurry pixels that purely define what constitutes a photograph. Ethics drives the photojournalist. Creativity and expression would seem to compel the rest of our shots.
When I capture the “ah ha” shot, the 5-star photograph, that’s often an easy call. Leave that file alone and publish or print it as is. (Even the idea of printing “as is” not even a reality when I consider the countless choices in color settings, not to mention optional printing substrates.)
But what about those photo files that didn’t turn out so nearly perfect? what about the shots that I really like the composition but feel like there’s still more that could be done to express an idea? For me, I like to play in Photoshop, poking around creating layers with different affect. I know little about PS and am not a graphic artist. But I find mixing and meshing options often surprise and once in awhile delight. So every so often I’ll post the played with image in the gallery with the other shots because I like what came of them. To my amazement, last week one of these altered shots sold!