Monday, 22 October 2012

Real photography, or….not?

A lot of my work lately has been quite heavy on the Photoshop side of things. And I have had some negative comments about it from fellow photogs.
 Many of them tell me that its not real photography if its been manipulated, and that only SOOC (straight out of camera) images are worth their time of day!

Now there is of course no real answer to this conundrum! I consider photography as art. Weather its reportage, or portraits, landscapes or astrophotography. It is simply an expression of the mind of the creator. This of course is going to mean that some people are not going to like it! Not everyone likes expressionist works of art, and not everyone likes sculptures of roman emperors !

It’s the same thing with Photoshop. I consider myself more than capable of producing beautiful images SOOC (they are to me anyway, and that’s all that matters) But why should I stick to this singular form of producing images?

First of all, to get to the image that I produce I have normally got a fairly strong idea/concept of where I want to go with the image, then I have to set up the shot and take it, and this has to be with the editing steps I will be using at the back of my mind. I fail to see how this isn’t photography ! It is no different to the pre digital age of dodging and burning and producing composites in the dark room.
One of the images on which I got "Trolled"
So I consider the use of Photoshop as just another medium with which to produce the image that I visualised before I started. To say that using Photoshop is cheating, would be like telling a sculptor that using wood rather than stone makes a less worthwhile piece.  
I didn’t really mean to go on such a rant, and in the end the opinions other people have are of course their prerogative. But I just wanted to shed some light on why my stuff is sometimes postproduction heavy. Some of the shots I have taken over the last year simply would not be possible without doing it. And for all those SOOC hardcore purists, bear this in mind. If you shoot film, you more than likely choose the film for its properties, i.e. better contrast, nicer grain etc, so you are in fact processing the image in a way you’d want to see it, and not as it actually is. And for the people who shoot digital, the processing done in the camera and the sharpening on images as the raw files are converted are all processing steps too. So what’s the difference if its done during the image capture, or after it ?


  1. Pete, you do what you do and the stuff you mess about with produces some amazing, fun and often quirky shots that quite frankly others probably just wish they could come up with.
    Every piece of work you do is meaningful to you, has taken time, thought and effort and I know you are doing that for yourself and no one else and that is the key to having such fab shots.
    I don't like van Gogh particularly but don't mind Picasso and in the same way some will like your work and other people won't. Don't ever justify yourself to anyone - take the thoughts to make you even better:-)

    1. Thanks lou :-) I didn't mean to go on a rant. ust venting some of the inner workings of my complex mind !

    2. ahaha pete you dont have a complex mind ahahaha :P ! ! its like a cornflake :D :D

    3. Oi, respect your elders :-)

  2. All the SOOC purists will be telling us next that you can't dig a good hole using a JCB, you have to use a spade for a good hole! Or even further with the same argument saying that a good hole is dug with nothing more than a pointy stick, or even further 'purists' saying you can't dig a good hole using nothing but your bare hands.

    Pah, all just digging themselves into holes......

    As I've said before people ought to treat opinions like it's a penis. Some of us have them, but don't go waving it around in public and definitely don't start shoving it down someone's throat!

    A question with a question is usually only the best option, the more intelligent will get it and just simply shut up, the extremist will pontificate until the cows come home.

    "Why do you ride a motorbike and not drive a car?" is a question I often get asked and I always reply with "Why do you drive a car and not ride a motorbike?" The more astute look back with a smile, the others won't shut up which is simply a cue for you to move on and leave them to their rambling :-)

    Keep going Pete, you're doing a bloody grand job of what you do. You'll always have extremes like a dedicated film user screaming the words of Ansel Adams whilst clutching a copy of "The Negative" tightly to their chest like a suicide bomber!

    Some people need to realise the oxymoron that we're all unique......just like everyone else on the planet.

    (Perhaps they are so unstable and unsure about their own beliefs that they need to confirm it with others and only happy if you reach their same conclusions damning you if you have a different opinion.)

    Keep up the good work Pete.

  3. Ha haaa. opinions are like a penis...thats the best metaphore I have ever heard for an opinion.
    I agree that all have and should be allowed an opinion, but I dont tell them that theirs is wrong, so I should be afforded the same respect.
    On the subject of "Trolls", I recently had an idiot htrowing very nasty racial abuse at me! That was an interesting exchange to say the least :-/