Etchings in the Sand…

Thoughts and Photos from the Desert…


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.


4 responses to “Editing…

  1. allanblogs April 23, 2007 at 9:31 am

    Rightly concluded in your last paragraph. But that doesn’t rule out the fact; even the Chief Photographer, working with some of the biggies in Journalism, get their photos edited. Because in the end its about better presentation.

  2. citrus April 23, 2007 at 10:19 am

    Thanks for that comment! That has to be true.

    I would guess that is a sticky wicket in the press room! Or, could be.

    I used to write movie and stage reviews for a local paper and was a bit sensitive when some editor reworded some of my masterpieces.

  3. shoofoolatte April 23, 2007 at 12:20 pm

    I like photography that helps me to SEE what is there, and editing sometimes really helps (like cropping, lightening, etc.) I even like artsy photography, where major tampering has been done, but the essence of what is seen is focused and enhanced. I don’t like photography that is garish and strays from its visual home. This is done a lot in marketing and feels almost sacrilegious to me.

  4. lookingforbeauty April 24, 2007 at 3:59 pm

    I take photos for my own uses – so far not for publishing in a journalistic way. I use them as a tool for finding composition for my paintings and love the crop tool. Since I’ve been playing around with the editing features of Adobe Photo (with a little help from Geek Nephew Hugh), I’ve found it a lot of fun to push editing images to the extremes offered by the program. I’ve even started using the editing possibilities for creating something quite different from the original through collage, doubling images and the inclusion of scanned images.
    I agree with much that you say when one is presenting photos as if they were real, but on the art side of things there is a whole new cyberworld out there for exploration and every edit tool is game for amending the original photo.

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