it’s already amazing!
[inˈteɡrədē] integrityThe quality of being honest.
I had a moment this week when I saw an image posted by a respected, long-time photographer who had his start in the days of film, as did I. Now I have no issue with editing a digital photograph, particularly when you shoot it in RAW and the camera has not imposed it’s algorithm onto the image. SOOC (straight out of camera) is often waved as a badge of honor but those images, when shot in JPEG, have already been altered by the camera and the settings that you’ve pre-programmed. I used to be more judgmental about the digital editing process until I’d educated myself about it. Dunning-Kruger effect…google it for more information but essentially it breaks down into you don’t know what you don’t know until you learn more about the subject.
This image I saw was a nature one and was so edited that it hurt my eyes to look at it. As a test I took a similar image I’d taken and edited it in his style just to confirm my thoughts. It matched…I could make my image look identical to his “Oh my God, the most brilliant amazing _________ I’ve ever seen shot.”
Does it matter? Probably not, but as an ethical photographer it irks me. Why? Because it creates a completely unrealistic expectation with people who don’t know better.
The problem with this is, I recently had a photograph widely shared where one individual stated that I’d painted in the lightning strike. Is that possible? Yes. Had I done that? No. Have I ever done that? No. I’d crouched at the edge of a field during a lightning storm to get that shot. Today’s image is a new lightning shot and if you decide to try this, know the risks.
I’ll bring my rant to a close. Be ethical in your photography. I love beautifully edited images but if it’s digitally enhanced or filtered to death, why not admit that? If it’s a composite, say so. Nature is amazing enough as it is. That’s good enough for me.