I believe that Photoshop, and the ability to transform your images, is too many times more a foe than a friend. I am not talking about our customers, who may sometimes have unrealistic expectations, but for us photographers. We hide behind the “I’ll fix that later in Photoshop“, when it would take us few seconds to make a wrong, right. For too many photographers, Photoshop is just a reason to be lazy, to invest more in post processing skills than in actual photography ones.
The Curse of Photoshop
From one side, I am aware that the Boudoir industry is deeply linked to the beauty one. Too many times we, photographers, are under pressure to deliver perfection in our images, without realising that we are playing with people self confidence. I am a boudoir photographer because I believe that every woman is beautiful. I really mean it, but I mean it in the reality, not in a photoshopped reality.
The curse of Photoshop is that, with the right skills, everything is possible. Transforming a woman with a click, making her taller, curvier,skinnier, younger. Yes, Photoshop can do it all, just play with Liquify and Dodge and Burn enough and you can make dreams reality.
My point is that I don’t agree with this, I don’t like having to change reality to show beauty, I want to capture every woman’s beauty at its best. There is a huge difference, as the first is a simulacrum of reality, the second is reality as seen and captured by a trained eye.
Photoshop does not make us invincible
When I started using Photoshop, I was glad that I had a way of “subtly” edit my photos. Looking back now, I see plastic skins and excesses in every direction. In the past few year, not only my critical eye grew sensibly, but my appreciation of reality grew with it. Once the technique I used more was blurring,not show a smooth skin, now I want to see the actual skin, trying to retouch an image as little as possible.
The truth remains that only now I see how horrible my first processing style was. More terrifying than that is the fact that I considered that processing an enhancement to my photos. Only now I see it for what it really was: a delirium of omnipotence given by “Godoshop“.
Nowadays, if some comments one of our photos with a “nice snap“, I tend to get slightly offended. A “snap” brings to my mind many negative connotations which I don’t link to the idea of a thought process behind a photograph. This is because I started to value photography as an art, as the ability to capture a unique moment. You should make a good photo in camera, not in a digital darkroom, at least if you want to consider yourself a good photographer. If you think that Photoshop is where magic really happens, the I may consider you a digital artist more than a photographer.
I sound such a Puritan of photography, but that’s exactly what I think.
Can you accept a challenge?
Embark in a personal project. Be creative and let your art speak, but put yourself two limits:
- Photograph people
- Do not post process your photographs in Photoshop
Lightroom or something non-invasive is allowed, but no crazy skin cleaning, no reshaping, no digital artistry.
Can you do it?