On Photo Manipulations

I don’t subscribe to the notion that the image you capture in the camera is the image you have to end up with. At age 97, with 85 years of photography under my belt, I have come to believe that my photos are just a starting point. From there, I bring my creativity and artistic sensibility (I am also an oil painter) to bear on the images I create, some of which I call “derivations”.

And as such, I fully realize that my work may offend some purists who believe that absolute realism should be every photographer’s goal.

“The purist does not create anything new”

The purist does not create anything new unless they actually create a drawing, a painting, a sculpture, etc., and then take a photo of it — thus, it is a photograph of their original creation. When the purist photographs outdoors, or takes a portrait, they are just making a copy of what Mother Nature has created.

When we were all shooting film, we tried very hard to improve the color slide with all kinds of sandwiched filters or double images, darkening parts of the photo, etc. We did a lot of manipulation of both color slides and prints. In the darkroom, we would dodge and burn parts of the print to improve the impact of the image. Even Ansel Adams used various methods of exposure to get his great photos.

“The original image is just the beginning”

The original image is just the beginning. I believe the photographer should be allowed to be as creative as other artists, and use whatever means to create the desired image.

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