If you got a notification about the Open Competition Results and already looked at them, you might like to check back. I accidentally published the page yesterday when it was in an ‘experimental’, and poor state. Now fixed!
A while ago, a friend and I went out to do an early-morning photo-shoot. We photographed a lake while the sun rose over still water, lighting the clouds with a range of colours and producing interesting reflections in the early-morning stillness of the water. Among other photographs I shot this.
Some time after the shoot, I had edited it and I showed to to my friend.
“I don’t like that. That isn’t the way it was. The colours were pinkish, not purple like you have them.”
I’m not particularly concerned by this reaction — image critique is certainly a matter of taste. But I was again struck by my friend’s apparent belief that the image should represent the scene ‘as we saw it’.
By its nature, photojournalism demands truth. Altering anything much more than exposure or contrast to allow the viewer to see into the picture, is a no-no in journalism, and rightly so. Documentary photographers need to record truthfully the events they’re involved in lest the audience that follows them is misled.
But landscape photography is not photojournalism.
There’s no more necessity for a landscape photographer to edit an image to be ‘exactly as it was’, than for Grahame Sydney to have included the trees that would have completely changed his famous painting of the Wedderburn Station.
If faithful colours were a requirement in landscape photography then black-and-white landscapes would surely not be legitimate. Nonsense, surely.
So, is our hobby art? I certainly think it is more akin to art than it is to news reporting.
For me, an image is successful if it conveys the mood, or features that I thought were interesting enough to capture, and if it does so in a way that would draw people’s attention (for the right reasons) if it were hanging on a wall.