At my gallery reception on Saturday, one of the things I think I was asked the most was how much and what kind of retouching I do to my work. This question usually came as soon as someone found out I was shooting digital. Fair question, in this day and age, I suppose. For me, the answer is white balance, maybe some contrast or brightness, and some sharpening, and that’s about it. I may tweak a twig or a spot from my camera sensor, but what you see on my prints is just about exactly what I saw in the camera.
Now, to be clear, I have no problem with folks adjusting images. Sometimes you need to, especially as the craft starts heading toward high dynamic range images — cameras just aren’t built to capture light across the broad spectrum of an HDR image. And of course, there’s other kinds of tweaks, I’m sure.
However, there’s a limit to what I’d do. For some folks, that appears to be a little less the case. Check out this article detailing a photo of Faith Hill, and what happened to it in the hands of Redbook magazine. Read the article, read the link about why they hated Redbook doing this, and see what you think.
I think they hit the nail on the head. The image was retouched to make a 40-year old woman look like a 25-year old woman, taking away so much of the humanity that was in the original image. I guess that’s what passes for editing nowadays: a distortion of the truth. Ya know, that’s one of the things I love about photography — the bare-naked truthfulness of the image through the lens — and I just hate to see that go out the window for the sake of making a lot of folks buy a magazine.
Alas, a mountain out of a molehill (or a FaithHill), I’m sure, but sometimes ya gatta call ’em like you see ’em!