Friday, May 28, 2010

How Much Of What You See In Photography Is Real

I've been a PhotoShop expert ( and I use that term loosely ) longer than I have been a photographer ( and I REALLY use that term loosely).

I had an excellent teacher in one Conway Norwood. He introduced me to the wonders of PhotoShop and passed on some sage advice. His words were to the effect, "I can send you to PhotoShop class, but it will take you years to learn it all." He was absolutely correct. Eleven years later and I feel like I am scratching the surface of this tool.

After marrying my photography with PhotoShop, because, let's face it, I made a lot of mistakes and still do in photography, I learned PhotoShop is a handy tool for mopping up messes. I did make a commitment to not make any major changes to any client unless requested. I will remove zits and scars, whiten teeth and eyes and enhance, but not change, eye color. At the client's request I can remove tattoos or anything else, within reason, they wish, except ex-husbands or boyfriends.

The ethical dilemma comes to weight. When should I make someone a tad thinner? When do I need to modify the body so that the image is more appealing? I think the answer is to take the 10 pounds off the camera adds.

Take for example this photo. Is this the original?

The answer is yes and no. The client needed a picture of her daughter to turn in later in the year for another purpose. However, the original photo, is not this one. It's this one.

The ethical dilemma is not something as simple as a family portrait. No, the dilemma is what newspapers and magazines show you. Modifying the news is a heinous crime and some agencies have been caught doing it. Film was difficult to manipulate. Cropping was about the most you could effectively get away with. Digital opens new doors that may need to stay shut.

Outside of that, I did a good bit of PS work, if I do say so myself.

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