‘Screw it – we’ll fix it in Photoshop’ may well be a favourite turn of phrase among the most shamelessly lackluster of ‘professional’ photographers; yet there are – and will probably always be – those who claim that Photoshop should play absolutely no part in photography, big or small, ever. Period.
However much naysayers decry that ‘It’s cheating’, let’s consider one untouched reality for a second: that Photoshop is in no sense (big or small) the only way of ‘cheating’ imagery.
For a start, no camera lens sees the world around us the exact same way human eyes do. If our own eye on the world is orga, and the other is mecca, then what is photography itself if not a retouch on reality?
Cameras and lenses themselves are a form of retouching. Strobes and other lighting aids are an additional form of retouching.
Photoshop is merely the icing on a cake that, if not baked correctly during the shoot itself, can never really be turned into a passable Vogue cover in Photoshop.
To the retouch critics: Did you put your makeup on or have a shave before you left the house this morning? That’s a form of retouching! And you don’t even have to be a professional photographer to be guilty of it either. Make no mistake: we’re all in the business of editing how we want others to see us.*
Us photographers are often in the business of taking viewers of our work beyond actual reality; producing inspired imagery to make you dream and wonder – or aspire towards.
Quite simply: to denounce Photoshop is to denounce Canon, Phase One, Hasselblad and Profoto et al.
Retouching exists in a number of art forms outside of photography – not least of all music. What are cover versions if not retouches on original songs?
Now I’d just like to leave you imagining a cover version of a Divinyls song called I (Re)Touch Myself.
*This blog post has been retouched. Twice.