I’ve been on the fence about this one. For the last 15-20 years I’ve lived without any photo editing software besides what came with my Kodak and Nikon digital cameras and we all know how good that stuff is. And believe me I started at the bottom of the barrel with it on a Kodak D50. And while the Nikon ViewNX 2 is light years ahead of what I started with, its still an infant next to the to big hitters from Adobe.
But it did what I wanted and in trying to keep to some photo-journalistic standard for some reason, along with being poor, I haven’t invested in the Photoshop or Lightroom products or others of that nature. Hell I don’t even know if those two have any competition.
Don’t get me wrong. I was using Photoshop version 1-4 so yeah I just dated myself a bit, but by the lack of skills on this blog I figured most would know I was older. I have nothing against using these great tools to create fine images. But where does it cross the line between art and the original photo? I’ve always considered overall brightness, sharpness and cropping acceptable basics in still maintaining the original image.
And yes I’m old enough to have used and enlarger and dodge/burn techniques to make images. And I was kind of uncomfortable then as I am now about physically changing selected properties within the image, unless I’m changing it to artwork. I don’t know what makes me feel this way but I do. I don’t think less of others who use brilliant tools and techniques to create wonderful images that just stop me in my tracks. I know there is skill associated with good use of these tools. And I wish I had the skill and imagination to create some of those wonders.
So as I can remember from my print newspaper and magazine days, there were two things. Photo by, and Illustration by and maybe graphic or chart by credits. I’ll check with our former production manager and art director on this but I believe that was it. And the rules were pretty strict.
So in getting these tools sometime in the future, I think I’ll make that immediate distinction on my site when I say Photo by or Illustration/Graphic by Mike Hartley. In the old days, there were these skilled people called photo editors who maintained rigid standards and rules and ethics. Now we have to rely on each other. Then again I really don’t see many people practicing this distinction. Am I just too old school, or of a publishing mindset from print days that doesn’t need to be translated into the digital publishing world?
Who knows, the wonderful thing about creating digitally is that we are making the new world with new rules. So when you look at this image below. know that I will never change the height of the seats to make it look more interesting or add another bike or change the color of the frames and call it a Photo by Mike Hartley. It will be Graphic or Illustration by Mike Hartley.
Not trying to preach or say it can’t be done another way or not at all, but that is the way me, myself and I will proceed on this site. And I will still struggle someday when I tweak an image and have to make that judgement call. And I hope I make it from watching Photo Editors and Art Directors for many years.