Is this a real Image? Are we facing a dilemma in Photography today with all this software around us? Photoshop-Lightroom-APERTURE 2 – Plug-ins, new filters, the list goes on and on…how can we prove it is a real image… or been manipulated?
Coincident…? Maybe…? Probably yes…?
But maybe not sure…?
Confusing isn’t it?
© Gunther Deichmann - for more images go to
Image above...lightning over Manila Bay...the Typhoon
and Monsoon season is approaching.
Having send off this riddle I better explain… a visit today by a young and up coming Photographer who is studying at a prestigious school in Berlin…sorry no names, made me think during our conversation.
We talked about the good old days…back in the film days, photo labs, processing and how things have changed now.
Do you know about push processing, clip test’s etc., etc., I asked?
He looked at me and said, what are you talking about?
Don’t they teach this at your school? No, we all study digital and only had an hour or so with a little Black and White film.
Now here is my point…read below my personal thoughts and philosophy about Photography today…bear in mind this is only my opinion.
Lets put aside the commercial photography for a moment, like fashion, products and many other subjects related to advertising…yes they have to be around and will be with us, there are some great Photographers out there shooting some real nice stuff, we all have to make a living, including myself, right!
But when it comes to travel or plain and simple Journalistic/Geographic type Photography, I have to think…
During a recent exhibition I overheard some of the visitors saying WOW what a great shot, but he did this in the Computer…not believing that the image had been taken on Kodachrome 25 and was as real as it gets, taken some 25 years ago.
Now here is my point and concern, when do we know these days the difference between
a real image or a manipulated one?
How far can we go with our computer…it is a creative field after all…in commercial work, advertising, FX, or experimental creative photography we can go wild and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that…the computer and the software today allow us to do some amazing things, I have seen some pretty cool stuff and do some of it myself.
But when do people say WOW what a great shot and he or she did this for real… not using Photoshop and only the minimum tools in the editing software?
I guess these days we all, well almost all have to use our computers and software to do the editing and processing…it is the digital age after all, no turning back.
But it is a bit of a worry… personally I am not fond of all those filters and certain effects, (some manufactures even claim, "helping create the world's greatest images.")
Yes some of these filters and other plug-ins have a place in commercial photography, but then who can tell these days that they have not being used on other images, how can we show how the image really was at the time the shutter had been released, very difficult indeed.
I guess we have to believe the photographer and take his word for it, not much else we can do.... or do we have a choice?
I am using Aperture 2 as my darkroom and I love it for it’s speed, simplicity and management system, it is just great, plug- ins for me are out, except for the ones which can make my life a lot easier e.g. Exporting and the delivery of images from one destination to another, this is very cool stuff.
Aperture 2 unlike Photoshop let me work on my images up to a point…and this is the part I really like, you don’t get tempted to move some “heads around”, a great management system, nice editing tools you do need for digital files and a few other cool tools and applications.
But manipulation is out…if I like to do that then I switch to Photoshop or buy some new plug –ins for Aperture 2, the nice part is and this is real great…with Aperture 2 YOU can choose and set it up the way you like it, customizing to suit your type of photography.
With most other software you buy everything, it is all inside, if you use it or not, plus the temptation to “fix things” is always there.
When I shoot commercial work I try to get it right in the first place, I had to do it for some 30 years, why change now…but not adopting the attitude oh well, I can always fix this in the computer later, maybe I sound old fashion but it is so true these days.
I like the way Aperture evolved, but I feel to much attention has been given to all these plug ins, yes if you do commercial work go for it, but NO if you do serious creative, Journalistic and real life work, because you like to look into the eyes of your client and say… YES this is the real thing you can take my word for it…
If we forget or not been taught the old traditional ways, then a few years from now, we cant be sure anymore what is real and what is not.
Only a few years ago we had our negatives or slides and could prove what was real and what had been manipulated…I guess now we can only rely on our Raw images, one more reason to shoot Raw only, what I am trying to say is, that it is getting harder and harder to prove these days what is real and what is not…please think about and form your own opinion like I have with all my blah, blah above.
But isn’t a great feeling to look somebody into the eyes and say...
YES, this is the real Mc Coy.