Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Edit Art

I recently saw a post on a fellow photographer's blog that said "don't tell me that this photograph isn't heavily edited."  Let me say this about that.

That's the craft.  I applaud the capture of "unedited" images and appreciate the skill in that, but dialing in the setting on your equipment (camera) takes time and is a type of edit, "pre-edit" if you will.  It does with digital systems AND it does with analog systems.  All art photographers, like Ansel Adams, do this...  add a second here, take a second there.  He "edited" every one of his images with chemical mixes, silver chrome papers, different film stocks, cropping, exposure times, filters, dodging & burning.  "Half dome" and "Moonrise" are creative masterpieces because he made precision edits.

"Editing" is not a cheat or trickery to make photographs look good- it's a way for the artist to get his product together.  It is no different than a painter mixing paints until they get the perfect color blue.
"Editing" is simply using tools in your toolbox.  As an artist, the photographer can manipulate the images until they are happy with the result.  It is then up to the viewer to digest and absorb the result upon which they can make their opinions of it.  Additionally, editing alone cannot create the core image.  The original capture is important also.  For that it takes they eye and creativity of an artist, the photographer.
So when viewing photographs from now on- don't make a judgement one way or the other based on editing.  Respect the image and the artist, they stand alone.
If you don't know how to do some basic editing... you should learn.  Your may turn your snapshots into art after all.


  1. Thank you so much for the wisdom in the commentary. Where can I get a dog that looks like that? I LOVE the magenta color..I am not a fan of pink however that magenta really rocks!!!!

  2. Well said Jason. These are many thoughts I have had myself especially when it comes to the masters. Many of whom took their techniques to the graves.
    “Pure Photography” should never be defined by one group, person or doctrine.

  3. Great edit. I recently wrote a little about editing myself. More real basic how to stuff. I did one last Friday and I've got another one in the can for next Friday. Maybe the guy who said "don't tell me that isn't heavily edited" would say to a painter "don't tell me you didn't use brushes and imagination on that".