The San Francisco Chronicle ran an opinion piece
that has become something you can expect periodically: a rant against "Photoshopping."
I get tired of the sentimental and wistful attitudes people have toward what they think is photographic purity. Certain, the drive for visual perfection gets a bit silly, but why blame Photoshop? In the past, people used airbrushing, scraping, paintbrushes, dyes, and pencils to "fix" images.
Do I heavily use Photoshop in my work? Absolutely - because if I'm doing something digitally, that is the way I crop, balance color, adjust contrast levels, spot dust motes, create unsharp masks, and a number of other niggling issues that were formerly considered responsible darkroom work. Do you really want that photo to look literally off-color, badly composed, and speckled?
When people "rework ... every shot," is this total transformation, or the normal twiddling that an art department or photographer must do? Are critics so lacking in technical understanding that they have no idea just how limited and misleading camera technology is? Guess what, folks: no photograph is actually what the photographer saw. Why not eliminate the distortions of lenses and limited color palates of both digital capture chips and film? Why not upbraid writers for even worse transgressions: bending quotes, hyping tension, enhancing drama, and otherwise recreating what they actually saw? What bigger fantasy-making machinery is there?
Labels: magazines, Photoshop, retouching