An issue I frequently come up against is whether my work is photographic or a graphic representation of my photography. In trying to create fine art my process relies heavily on post production with Photoshop. I choose to do this. It’s not to cover up bad photography; I’m consciously striving to bring my images to a higher state of visuality.
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Is the use of Photoshop cheating?
I think there is a prejudice [or tradition] of what a photograph should be. I perceive some people believe an image may be Photoshopped only to the extent of enhancement – in the tradition of darkroom technique. If composited or effected with Photoshop filters, the image goes out of the tradition of photographic to become graphic… It goes beyond the intent of truthfully capturing a moment and is perceived as – in an old-timey word – “trickery”.
This series of skateboarding shots probably come under the category of sports photography. Though I spent many hours in the role of sports photographer, I didn’t shoot with an intent to document “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat”. Actually, I didn’t have a clear intent of what I would do with the shots. All I wanted was to practice my camera work, stopping action and playing with blur. In photo review I came to see the images as posters – begging all the color and action I could bring out. So I did.
I applied some trickery, hence the graphic look.
“I see the shot as a beginning – as an image I can get
‘painterly’ with – giving it visual richness, abstracting it, or making it more conceptual. As darkroom technique has always been an essential part of the photographer’s mastery of imagery – Photoshop is my darkroom. This process of
post-production enhancement completes my relationship
with the image.”