Thursday, 3 April 2014

When is a good image a great photo?

I've mentioned once or twice that I've been using Perfect Effects 8 from On One software (courtesy of a free download) in addition to Adobe Lightroom for image processing, although I've not really talked about workflow yet, and that's planned as another blogpost. The guys at On One are very keen on supporting and promoting their products, and offer an increasing variety of training videos and webinars with their own people and various well known photographers.

So in my inbox yesterday was an invitation to a webinar with Doug Landreth talking about the work he does in his company, Photomorphis. Embedded in the email was an image that demonstrated before and after: that is copyrighted, and therefore I don't feel able to reproduce here for you, although you can see the kind of effects on the Photomorphis site. The striking thing about this was that the 'before' image would have gone straight in the bin with a "what was I thinking". Grey, dull, bland and (to me) poorly composed.

Now it may have been shot like this on purpose, but the question it makes me ask is how many will see this kind of manipulation as a way of rescuing stuff that should otherwise get deleted: iffy composition, poor focussing, poor lighting etc etc. Does degrading an image, giving it a yellow cast and putting a fake distressed border round the outside really make it better, give it artistic value? Sure Instagrammies have been doing this for several years now, but was it really good, even when it was new?

There's an aspect to Doug's work that I DO like, but, as with so much digital manipulation, it's hard to see where enhancement stops and rescue of rubbish starts.

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