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.


I recently wrote a post entitled "Trusting Photographs" , in which I mentioned a two part post called "Photography And Truth". In these blog installments, I wrote that I was surprised that there was an expectation on the part of many, if not most, viewers that fine art photography should depict ‘the truth’. In reality, there are decisions made by the photographer including focal length, in camera cropping, and shooting in RAW format (to name a few) that explain why most photographs are ‘untruthful’ to at least some degree.

I was recently looking at a highly regarded photography magazine when I read something that I found to be totally absurd and which reflects back on this whole issue of 'truth' in photography. I won't mention the magazine or the particular photographer, but suffice it to say that the photographer had his superb fine art portfolio published and, in an the accompanying article, says " I very seldom change the actual situation, I just make it more dramatic. I use Photoshop, I never use any plug-in to make the photos more dramatic."

I find this a self-contradictory absurdity on multiple levels. The situation isn't changed...just the degree of drama?? It's OK to use Photoshop, but not a Photoshop plug-in (which itself just uses adjustments available in Photoshop)???? Methinks you protest too much.

Can't we just agree that there is no crime in using Photoshop or Lightroom to make adjustments to fine art photographs in order to express our artistic vision? Can't we just disclose to the public that with todays RAW format adjustments have to be made to the out of camera image in order to restore it to what the scene looked like, and that any such restoration is significantly related to our memory and experience of the location? Photoshop and Lightroom (or similar image editing software) is simply an integral part of photography in the digital age. In my opinion, using them does not somehow denegrate a photograph. And, yes, I also think it is OK to use plug-ins!