Photographers, thou shall not edit!

A Writer writes his story. Then revises it. Going back time and again to re-phase, tighten and tweak. Till finally he is satisfied with the choice of words that best communicate his thought.  Even years later, after it has been printed, read and become well-known,  in a new edition he’s at liberty to tweak or add to his work.

A Musician composes. Then revises it.  Finally satisfied he considers it finished. Yet every time the symphony is performed, musicians are at liberty to interpret it’, in other words edit it, to their own unique style.

A Painter first sketches his vision. Simple charcoal lines which he paints over, Changing, darkening, highlighting as his creative impulse takes him.

A Chef adds seasonings, cooks longer or turns the flame off as he cooks. Enhancing the taste to his personal satisfaction before the last edit, the garnish on top once plated.

In Film making editing is a taken for granted step. Even documentary or journalistic films are edited.

We even edit ourselves. Enhancing our appearance by the choice of clothes, hairstyles, makeup…

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Yet a photographer should not edit!

This fastest of arts. A form dependent on complex machinery. Should be taken as is.

Straight from the camera preach the Classicists. The photograph should be perfect when it is shot. To edit a photograph means the photographer was not good enough. This expectation is the same as expecting a writer to have a perfect manuscript in his first draft, the musician a finished symphony in his first gathering of sounds and a painter his grand masterpiece in the first sketch.

Paean are sung in praise of film photography. Film Camera’s are touted as being superior to digital. Conveniently forgotten are the highly painstaking and evolved darkroom techniques utilised by the greats of film photography.

To all, critics and appreciators alike I would like it to be noted I edit ALL my photographs. A little or a lot as I wish. Till the image is not a mindless recording of a scene made by the camera but an expression of my experience of the moment. Which colour spoke to me most strongly, which object caught my attention most. Did it make me feel soft and dreamy or sharply alive.
It’s my shot, my editing, my expression.

And to all fellow photographers I say when a person disapproves because a photograph has been edited, know that they only understand the documentation. They appreciate not the art and seek not the creative.

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