Do You Manipulate Your Photographs?

Ansel Adams, Before and After Photo Manipulation

Ansel Adams, Before and After

With the proliferation of software such as Adobe Photoshop, it is easier than ever to make models thinner, skies bluer and erase those pesky telephone lines from our prized photographs.   Somewhere along the way, the average person on the street, or the novice to photography got the incorrect notion that manipulation is a recent innovation developing alongside the computer age.
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Photo Manipulation – Ansel Adams, “The Making of 40 Photographs”

(Six in Series of Six discussions on Photo Manipulation)

This is a wonderful book written by Ansel Adams in 1983.  He selected 40 of his well-known photographs and goes into several pages of description for each of how he came upon the scene, went about capturing it as well as printing details and difficulties.  Keep in mind that if every photo was printed without adjustments or manipulation, there would be no printing issues to discuss, since one would simply expose the photo paper for a few seconds and that would be it.

Ansel Adams Winter Sunrise

Winter Sunrise, the Sierra Nevada, from Lone Pine, California 1944

©The Trustees of the Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust

Scan courtesy of Masters of Photography

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Photo Manipulation – Ansel Adams and Group f/64

Ansel Adams (1902 – 1984)

(Fifth in a series of six articles)

First, it needs to be noted I am not making a comparison between my photography work or skills to that of Ansel Adams. He is the subject here simply because of his popularity the admiration so many share for his popular works of art . I greatly admire his photographs as does most of the professional photographic community today.

Radical may be too strong of a word for Ansel Adams and his small group of photographer friends in the early 1930’s but they did represent an opposite view of photography than what was generally accepted at the time. This group of seven California photographers formed Group f/64 as an opposing point of view from the dominating New York pictorialist photographers of the time such as Alfred Stieglitz.

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Photo Manipulation

Animals Greet the Moon

Animals Greet the Moon

(First in a series of six articles on photo manipulation)

I hope that my photos spark wonder in you the way they do in me.  If so, thank you – it means a lot to me that you appreciate my work.  Some ask if my photos are manipulated.  For a meaningful response one would need to know what is meant by ‘manipulate.’   If one defines photo manipulation as an alteration to create an illusion or deception, in contrast to mere color and contrast correction, then no, I do not manipulate my photos.  However, Continue reading