Like many things in this world photography is full of people with lots of opinions. On the one extreme, and I met a person who said this recently, he doesn’t do any post-processing at all, he records it like he sees it. Given that a RAW image does not look anything like the way a human eye sees the world I have to question what it is he thinks he is preserving but that is his way. In the middle you have people who will correct exposure and color balance but stop short of moving, removing or adding elements. The other extreme is to have no creative limits and the digital darkroom makes this much easier than the wet darkroom every did. For example, Luminar lets you easily replace the sky from one image with another with a couple clicks of your mouse.
I have always laughed at the phrase “a photograph doesn’t lie”. Even in photojournalism, which strives to tell the story as true to life as it can be told in moments fractions of a second long, a photograph is a reflection of what the photographer wants you to see and feel. What was outside the frame of the photo or behind the photographer? Would those things change the narrative?
Where am I going with this rant? I think it reflects how my path has changed. When I shot slide film I got what came straight out of the camera. When I started with digital I did very little processing and now I feel it is my art and my vision so I will use whatever tools I can to create something I like. If other people also like it that is great as well but not required.
The two images with this post are examples of something I saw on the side of a road while walking the dog from a remote camp somewhere in Idaho. It was a scene that could easily have been overlooked but I saw something I wanted to capture. The original RAW images look nothing like what you see here but that is because they were simply recordings of what the camera saw and not what I was seeing. I cropped them, I removed things and I used light and dark to direct your eyes. They are mostly about texture and contrast. Maybe the resiliency of life if you want to get philosophical.
What do you think?