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Motivation is a photography blog that discusses the creative aspects of photography. The posts will include thoughts about images and their interpretation, photographers and their work, technique, workflow, my ongoing projects, and perhaps even the occasional off topic rant.

Photoshop And The Creative Process, Part II

This is Part II of this topic. If you haven’t already had the opportunity to read Part I, I invite you to do so here.

As I was thinking about this issue, the following occurred to me. Have any of these Photoshop ‘gurus’ ever claimed to be fine art photographers extraordinaire? Have they ever published fine art books of their images. For the most part, the answer to this is a resounding NO. In my mind, most don’t really claim to be fine art photographers. They are ‘software people’. The few that are fine art photographers are well worth paying close attention to.

Along the same lines, is Photoshop, the software, about photography? Well, sure, but only to an extent. Adobe never claimed it was only meant for photographers. It isn’t a program for photographers; it is a program for artists, of which photographers are but one subset. It is there for graphic artists, digital artists, layout designers etc.

I am not so sure that we should be complaining about the craziness surrounding the program (and, certainly, it can get pretty nutty), rather, I think it is the job of the photographer not to stop “tricks” from being developed, but to be wise enough to sort through, learn about, and adapt the techniques that are useful for one’s own vision. I am not so sure I need to be concerned that there are folks coming up with a million and one techniques that I, and perhaps even no one else, might ever have a use for.

Besides, who ultimately knows what one’s vision might become and what trick, while useless today, might ultimately become an important vehicle for our own expression? History is filled with discoveries and ideas whose use only became apparent at a later date. I have not been involved with the creative arts long enough to know if a seemingly unimportant or inapplicable aspect of Photoshop has ever ultimately been found to have a useful photographic application, though my guess would be that it probably has.

My feeling is let’s not lambaste those whose jobs are to develop, push, or impress using Photoshop. Instead, let’s be selective enough to sort out what is integral in achieving our vision and learn to use those tools to their utmost potential. No one says we have to listen to the snake oil salesman. If we fork over our money, perhaps it is our own fault.