We're moving deep into Photoshop territory in class. We've already played with alpha channels and masks - amazing.
Today's lesson was very heavy and after seeing what can be done in post-production my classmate Carlos brought up a very valid point.
To what extreme should we apply these tools? If we change the hue of the sky, make it darker or lighter, add more contrast to the road, add a filter so the mountains in the far off distance pop out more --- is this a real image?? Afterall ... it's not what you captured. This all led to a nice discussion and got everyone thinking about the images we see everyday.
The truth is that every image has some adjustments. Even back in the film days ... it took longer and if you made a mistake you had to start all over, but each photographer altered the image to their taste. Back then (and even now) it was done with cardboard cutouts, filters for varying contrast, films with varying ISO, the list goes on and on. Now we do it all in photoshop.
The question I ask myself is ... Did photoshop create better photographers or is photoshop a crutch? As for myself I often prefer my film images to my digital images. Why? I'm not quite sure, perhaps I prefer the darkroom process over the in-front-of-my-computer-photoshop process. Maybe it's because I don't have the image instantly and I have to really stop and think about what I'm going to capture. Afterall, I only have 36 exposures and if I don't get it right I may not get an opportunity to repeat.
This is, of course, all subjective and will certainly depend on what you're shooting. But I think it's an ongoing discussion.
Interestingly enough, a few days ago I read about two French art students that entered and won a very pretigious photojournalism contest. Their story was fake and the images staged ... they did it to prove a point. It's one of those things that makes you go hmmm?!? I read about it on Chase Jarvis' Blog in case you're curious.
For your viewing pleasure below is a picture taken from my bedroom window. Should I have left as shot? Hmmm?
Original Photo: No Retouching
Subtracted Exposer in Camera Raw to keep detail in sky, added temperature to make it a warmer image, added mask and adjusted levels to buildings to bring out the white and detail in the cracks.
Critique, pointers, tips are always welcome. = )