Friday, 20 December 2013

Photoshop: Obliging or Obstructive

Would this picture look better with an improved
sky and some colour enhancements?
Although I’m not that good at it, I love photography and can see myself doing a lot more of it in the future. I was in a beautiful part of the lake district earlier this year on a stupidly long but enjoyable hike with my friends and some others. We were taking pictures of the unique scenery as we passed it and then at the end compared images to see who had the images with the best quality, best view, best aperture, ect, ect…

Then one of my friends, who had an amazing shot of some hills and a lake, suggested that we Photoshop the image and put better skies on the image instead of the cloudy ones that looked over us that day.

I am familiar with what Photoshop and other similar computer programs are however I’d never used one before. They’re not only ridiculously expensive, I've never found the need to, I've always thought that it is cheating if you start enhancing your pictures on a huge scale like that.

The only good reason I can think of for why you would want to use Photoshop is if you’re editing wedding pictures. People like those pictures to be, well, picture perfect and look enhanced so the focus is only on the people. However not all of the world is perfect and we need to embrace that fact through photography instead of cheating our way to have slightly better looking pictures.

Also, surely, it takes the skill out of photography if you are re-editing your picture after you've taken it. Why do people buy cameras where the manufacturers have put a ton of settings into the camera when people are going to make it perfect in post-production anyway!

The airbrushing feature on Photoshop is definitely the most controversial thing about Photoshop. Magazine covers airbrush celebrities to make them look thinner, prettier and more attractive in general. I, and millions more, are against airbrushing because it isn't a true reflection of what the celebrity looks like and it deludes young people (especially girls) to make them think that they need that perfect – unachievable – figure. You hear about this in newspapers every day; girls starving themselves and being bulimic just so they get the dress size that magazines say ‘all the celebrities have’. It’s stupid and magazines need to stop changing what celebs look like.

Jenifer Lawrence (right) has recently been the subject of controversial airbrushing. Unlike many celebrities, Jenifer has been fighting pressure from the press to loose weight as she is happy with her figure - and so she should be. However she was made to look thinner on the front cover of 'Flare' which has sparked a debate about her body image.

Overall, I believe that all post-production on photographs (apart from the occasional crop) will ruin the art of photography. It will make photographers lazy. Eventually the best photographers will no longer be the people with a good 'eye for a picture', it will be the people who know Photoshop and other softwares like the back of their hand.