I use Photoshop. It is an integral part of my photography. I know people who think that’s blasphemy. I want to explain why I don’t. Photoshop is a tool. It is a tool that helps me to create my art. In brief I will say that if a photojournalist is taking pictures then there is no place for photo manipulation. It would be like altering the facts in a court case, but for art I think the benefits strongly outweigh the drawbacks.
With the amazing images modern camera sensors can capture in a split second, and technology improving with every generation, it’s good to question the need for a program like Photoshop. The problem is that cameras are still nowhere good enough to display what the human eye sees. The subtleties of light and color perceived by our optical receptors are astounding. If you want to test this out, next time you take a picture look closely at the back of your camera and compare that image to what is in front of you. The difference is vast. This would be my argument for Photoshop helping to communicate a scene to the final viewer as close as can be to what the original viewer perceived.
Another wonderful part of Photoshop is the ability to enhance an artistic vision. For instance, a picture taken in an ice field could be tinted a little bluer in Photoshop to emote a cooler feeling of the overall image, or heat ripples could be added to convey just how hot the lava was flowing from an active volcano. The possibilities are endless. For this reason I look at pictures in a different way than I used to. Not necessarily skeptically but just accepting them as I see them and not as the scene actually was.
Then we have the crazy putting people's heads on other people, increasing body features, or unrealistically manipulating images that are in no way supposed to be realistic. I compare this to illustrators, or painters, etc. If Monet didn’t like one of the water lilies in the pond he could have left it out of the painting, or added more at his discretion. He could have painted them black, orange or hot pink. For all we know they were really chocolate brown. I have seen some amazing art come from no holds barred Photoshop use, and it is definitely an art form. My skills pale in comparison to many Photoshop users but sometimes making a picture look different from reality is exactly what a client wants. The picture below brought a huge smile to the girl in the picture when she saw it, and I have Photoshop to thank for that.
Nikon D800 Sigma 85mm f/1.4 @ 85mm f/2.5 ISO 800 1/60 sec