Newsweek recently asked this question and its author critiques the use of software like Adobe’s Photoshop for digitally distorting “a record of something real that occurred in front of the camera.” This criticism seems like that of the art “establishment” who railed against French revolutionaries in the late 19th century for creating “mere impressions” of their subjects. Still, how real is the “real” photography of the pre-digital world? Isn’t it reasonable to think the great photographers have attempted to “control” their images with camera settings, filters, lens manipulation, and darkroom dabbling? In the end, if the two dimensional image viewed isn’t exactly the image seen by the naked eye at the time of the shot, is it real, or just an impression?
As for Newsweek’s question, one commenter wrote something like, “there’s a website called Flickr. Go visit it and then tell me photography is dead.”
For now, I’m too cheap to spring for photo-editing software, so pics from my new Nikon D40 will be um, digitally unaltered. Even a blurry shot can capture a memorable moment.
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