“Maybe, these days, the question isn’t “What is a photograph?”; it’s “What is reality?” touts David Pogue, an NY Times’ celebrated technology columnist in his personal tech column.
Pogue enlisted 14 things we do to and for our photographs; in reality, we do much, much more than what he suggested; just like how we care our pets to the ends of manicures & fashion, enough is never enough.
Particularly, I was (have always been) intrigued by this very topic in photography. Photography itself, is a fabrication of reality formulated by the lights and optics in a manmade device called camera; in the digital age, the projected image that we see on-screen is an illusion of digital signals with millions of color combination as the result of a complex computional calculation, interpretation & manipulation of analog data.
In simple terms, what you see on-screen is a projected digital reality of an analog objects.
Coming to the heart of the matter, competitions, awards & public recognition are the most sought-after prize a photographer could hope for, so important to some, they would go to the length of unethical manipulation of reality, breaking the holy-grail of ethics for those who are the eyes & ears to the public to win the hearts of the public. Such incident happen today when World Press Photo winner, Stepan Rudik was disqualified for altering the content of his winning image. World Press Photo:
The content of the image must not be altered. Only retouching which conforms to the currently accepted standards in the industry is allowed.
What remains is our moral capacity to say enough is enough, leave it to the eyes of the people to see, or judge for themselves for the reality they want to believe. There are things that you can change, adjust; that is us and the way we can cope with the moment and our vulnerable ego, I often found that when I don’t get the image I want, it simply isn’t meant to be, great things happen when we just surrender and let the event unfold naturally. Our alteration before or after the image was capture would only devalue it.
From the archive: One summer in Shanghai, circa 1999 © Will Wiriawan