A good friend just sent me a link to an article published by George Maciver titled “That’s a Photoshop!” This article focuses on the central issue of photography as art, and specifically asks the questions “Is digital photography an art?” and “Is photoshopped digital art (which involves post-processing using one of several computer programs which are designed for that purpose) somehow different and maybe even less pure than photography itself?”
I shoot “raw” images with my Nikon D300, obtaining images in the .NEF (Nikon electronic format) proprietary format. I select the ISO, the shutter speed, the aperture, and the composition and framing of the images I shoot, so I make decisions that influence the resulting image every time I take a picture. And I post-process my images using Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4.1 so that I can fine-tune the exposure, adjust the sharpness of the images, and crop out extraneous edges to adjust the composition.
I use Lightroom for almost all of my post-processing, and occasionally I’ll use the magic of Photoshop (Content-aware fill is amazing!) to remove an offending background spot or twig. If I didn’t use that software I would have to depend on the in-camera processing Nikon offers for producing .JPG images. Other software is available, but the point is that I have to use something for post-processing since raw images are not finished products.
If you are at all interested in photography as an art or photography as journalism, I recommend that you read the article and join in the discussion that has resulted over at DPS. The link in the first paragraph will take you there, and if you’re like me the article and comments will keep you there for a while!