To Edit or Not to Edit
…that is the question.
Maybe not as fundamental as Hamlet’s “to be or not to be” but one that every digital photographer must answer for themselves.
Asking and answering this question is part of my continuing “Find Your Eye” journey. This week we have been asked to determine which aspects of the photographic process inspire us. Is it the process of image capture? Post-processing? Sharing the results with others?
By carefully exploring what truly inspires and excites us during each step of image-making, we can concentrate our energies on the aspects that support our inner creative desires.
For me, the editing process has always been a core component of my digital work. This interest began nearly a decade ago when I transitioned from paper arts to a keen interest in digital creations.In the beginning, I created digital art pieces using the images of others as my starting point. My first love was editing – the reverse of most photographers. I didn’t come to digital photography as an art form until much later in this journey. Therefore, image capture and post-processing naturally go hand in hand as equal partners in my artistic process.
I certainly do not intend to get on a soap box about this issue. I recognize that many in the photographic community consider SOOC images to be the Holy Grail – I respect and admire their commitment to this standard.
In addition, it is not my intent to try and convince any one else of the “rightness” of my position on this issue. For me, editing software is a tool, equally as important as my camera, that I utilize to create my images.
The image above is a good example of how I use post-processing to further my creative vision.
In Photoshop, I cropped, straightened and corrected the perspective distortion caused by shooting up at the window. I increased the mid-tone contrast via a High-Pass filter and the color saturation by layering a copy of the image and blending with “Soft Light”. I finished off my adjustments with an overall Levels adjustment.
Will these adjustments be to everyone’s taste? No, of course not. Art is subjective after all. But the edited version expresses my unique vision of this scene, playing up the beautiful texture and color of the brick and the window with its patterned grid overlay.
We each choose the combination of steps that are meaningful to us as we create images. Those that inspire our creativity and fill us with excitement. Post-processing gives me another avenue of exploration, experimentation and expression for my art.
What I hope for is that the photographic community is large enough to encompass all methods, whether our images are straight-out-of-camera or straight-out-of-Photoshop. That we are open enough to see the beauty in the final image, regardless of its method of creation. That we do not create artificial boundaries, judging some methods as better or more worthy than another.
Each of us has something to say. May we all be heard.