There is a controversy over the image that won the World Press Photo award. The photographer did some desaturating: read about it here.
Personally, I think that in a press photo, changes are allowed only if they do not change the nature of the photo (i.e. cropping, exposure adjustment, white balance are OK), or if they bring back the image to what a person would have perceived. But when the adjustment is done to make a political point, as seems the case in the above example, I am against it. There is no well-defined line, so it is a tough call, but if I did that for a press photo, I would not work in press again.
However, in art, all is allowed. The question there is: is it OK to still call yourself a photographer, when you do such trickery?
Like this image from a few hours ago, showing, um, me:
The original, “actual” image, was this:
But then I added some Lightroom effects to desaturate the image, and increase the contrast. Cropped, it looks even better (can you tell, I rather like negative space, and the rule of thirds?):
View at original size to get the idea. Nice, no? And very fashionable. This desaturate thing, like HDR,is all the rage.
But if I do this, am I still a photographer?
On balance, I think so. If I do not overdo it, yes. If the original is still recognizable in the end product, yes. If I don’t do it every time, yes. If I do what can be done in camera, in the camera, yes. After all, photographers have always spent lots of time in the darkroom. Ansel Adams spent more time in the darkroom than in nature. And in the past, you would have chosen a film to give you the effect you wanted, and filters.
So I think that you can do dramatic post as long as:
- You do it well.
- You do not overdo it.
- You could not have done it in camera.
- It’s not journalism.
What do you think?