Why an Art Photograph Needs to be Processed - Part 1

All our art photographs are processed using specialized software and a computer. For us, this is an essential step in our creative process. The development of a photo still called processing strengthens our artistic approach and our photographic vision.

This black and white photograph of a deer has been developed to provoke questioning.
This black and white photograph of a deer has been developed to provoke questioning.

A Camera Does Not See as The Eyes

A camera is a machine designed by humans. It does not think so. It just takes what the photographer tells it to do. The way it records photos in memory is always the same whether for landscapes, animals or portraits. Yet every element of a scene is different. A camera does not distinguish between clouds, the fur of a mammal and the scales of a fish.

How to compare the texture of clouds with the Grand Canyon's rock structure? It is not possible. A camera is not able to see all these differences in the photographic elements. For it, they are all similar and the internal computer processing of the device is identical for the entire photo.

The human eye can cut out all these subtle nuances. The brain will build the final image that will give the final emotional feeling of the scene or the plan.

To overcome these weaknesses of digital cameras, a photographer will have to use external tools to show his emotional response to the scene. The only means at its disposal are computers and software. But before going further, it seems important to clarify a crucial point.

Admittedly, we agree that shooting is important in the creation of an artistic photograph. If several photographers are facing the same scene, it is certain that all the photographs taken will be different because of the choice of the points of view, the framing and the compositions. But if these same photographers decide to choose the same settings for the placement of cameras, all photographs will be similar. Just as the choice of cameras will influence the images created. Indeed, some of them have a better sharpness than others. Some are also more precise in the focus. But overall the images will all be about the same.

How then to ensure that each photographer can affirm his photographic signature? The answer is simple. The photographic development makes it possible to affirm its difference.

Processing is the way to affirm a photographic signature

The shooting is the first step to express an artistic approach for a photographer. Computer post-processing is the second step to strengthen it. The advantage of development is that if several photographers use the same software, the results will be totally different. They depend completely on the sensitivity of each of them.

Indeed, the techniques and methods of development are so many and varied that the creative palette is infinite.

The development of art photographs is limited only by the imagination of the person who develops.

The post processing information of a photo is the guarantee for a creator of artistic photographs to have a unique and very personal signature. The condition is not to reveal development recipes.

Processing an art photo is not cheating

Developing an art photography is in no way an act of cheating if you follow certain ethical rules.

We must not forget that art is above all a means of expression for an artist. He shows his vision of the world.

The development of a photograph for an artistic purpose is just to reinforce a photographer's emotional response to a scene.

This is still one of the big differences with documentary photography. As we discussed in the blog post dedicated to the creation of art photography, the two types of photographs are very distinct.

Documentary photography is factual, descriptive. It reports on a scene or it shows an event. Since it is intended to illustrate an article or to be published in a book, the photographer cannot develop it in an artistic way. He must report exactly what he saw. The development of a documentary photo is mainly to crop, improve the sharpness, change the exposure and contrast. It cannot go further because it could distort the reality. In this case, it would be cheating.

Artistic photography also has its limits as we will see in a next paragraph, but they are broader.

Framing a photograph is already telling his own truth

For many people, computer post processing is heresy. They consider it nonsense for a picture worthy of the name.

We answer to them that at the time of the shooting, a photographer makes a subjective choice by choosing to integrate or not photographic elements. This choice causes a specialization of the scene.

The framing of a photograph does not accurately reflect the scene. By pushing the reasoning a little further, a photographer shows what he perceives. In framing, he cheats.

For us, this is a rearguard debate that no longer needs to be.

The rest of this article will be published next Friday.

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