April 23, 2007
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Edited photos are generally prohibited in photo-journalism – as well they should be. It is too easy for a skilled photographer to misrepresent the truth by manipulating a photograph. The reader needs to see what really happened insofar as a picture can tell the story.
With photography as art the story can be different. Cropping out noisy or unnecessary details improves the photo. Makes us want to look at it more – and even think about it. Accenting clouds can bring the drama alive. Countless photo-editing tools are available to make a photograph live.
It has always been so, but in a different way. In the past, a darkroom, enlargers, chemicals, special lenses, etc. had to be brought into the mix. It was a fascinating thing to watch your pictures come to life in the developing tray, but believe me, it was a very difficult task.
Today, with digital single lens reflex cameras and sophisticated editing software it is even more interesting, at least it is to me, and considerably less expensive.
I see some photos on the web that are so sentimentally and dramatically over-edited that I cringe in embarrassment. Like everything else, things can easily be overdone. Discernment is an art in itself.
But when a photographer adds a subtle touch of color or insight to what actually came from his photo, he adds a touch of grace and we can all be thankful.