Is it cheating to use Photoshop?

That was a question posed on a photographers forum that I came across recently.

And one of the answers?

I think using Photoshop to enhance your images is cheating. I was proudest of my 35mm and 2 1/4 film photos that were perfect, directly out of the camera. Maybe just some cropping, but no manipulation of the image.

Although, as regular readers will know, one of my photographic beliefs is ‘GIRIC’ (Get It Right In Camera), and although you can easily overdo it with Photoshop:

(Image copyright: Rama)

... there is nothing wrong with image manipulation within reason.

Photographers have been doing it ever since the medium was invented. Here are two versions of an iconic image taken by Dorothea Lange in the USA during the Great Depression of the 1930s.

This is the version displayed at the ‘Family of Man’ exhibition, held at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 1955 ...
(Copyright: Library of Congress)

And here is the same image used in the BBC’s television programme ‘The Genius of Photography’, broadcast in 2007 ...
Just like manipulating images in a darkroom, I believe it’s okay to use Photoshop (or any other image editing program) to ‘develop’ your images. After all, photography is an art form in its own right.

But remember one thing. ‘GIGO’. Garbage In. Garbage Out.

Photoshop can’t make a bad photograph good.

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