I hear people often asking if a photo is “Photoshopped” and wondering if “it really looks likes that”. David duChemin, my favorite photography author, has a great answer to the question “how do we know it looked like that?” David’s answer: “It did to me.” When I read the Introduction to David’s book “VISION & VOICE REFINING YOUR VISION IN ADOBE PHOTOSHOP LIGHTROOM” it literally brought tears to my eyes to read that a respected photographer had written the words and feelings I’d been saying and feeling for so many years.
This is what art is all about, showing others your vision of the world around you. The artist is happy if their artwork evokes an emotion, moves you to take action or you simply find it pretty. But they are happiest in the creation of the artwork itself. We can only hope that when somebody views our creation they will like what they see and that it moves at least one person in a meaningful way.
Photography is no different than a painting by Monet or da Vinci or any of the great masters. There was no one great process or style that every painter used to create their artwork. They each expressed their vision in their own way using the available tools, and probably making use of tools not previously thought of in many cases. It’s the same with photography, every photographic artist expressing their vision in their own way using available tools, and yes, making use of things not thought of before.
The creation of photographic art is a process. It starts before the shutter is tripped. Starting as a silent whisper inside the artist’s soul. It’s that little voice telling us to “look at that”. If you’re the one creating the art, don’t worry about what others will say or if they will like what you’ve created. Create your photograph your way, not because some rule said to do it like this or that. It’s your artwork, your vision. Keep it that way through the entire process from the idea to the final piece of art.
If you’re not the photographer, don’t wonder if we use software to show you our vision of the world. Most of the time we have. It’s not “cheating”. It’s art. If you feel the photograph you’re looking at is worthy of being called art, thank you. If you don’t, that’s ok too. Photography is art and art is a subjective thing. Always has been and hopefully always will be.
~ Daniel Kmiecik