A friend who’d recently bought her first D-SLR came to our digital camera club meeting with her husband last night. At the break, she told me she was having serious issues with the whole ‘I can do anything with Photoshop’ mentality that’s so pervasive. She asked ‘what then makes a good photographer, if you can just fix your mistakes in Photoshop or add things that aren’t even there?’

That’s a good question. But my feeling was that it comes down to the intent of the photographer. If he or she is a photojournalist, creative license is not allowed, in my opinion. But if you’re doing it for fun or in your work as a practicing photographer, then you’re going to clean up and/or edit your images in a digital workflow that pretty closely imitates the chemical darkroom process that photographers have always used.

Here’s a quote I found that I really like:

“Ansel Adams post-processed his negatives in his darkroom to where the pictures weren’t necessarily reality as he had seen them, but the way he had visualized the photographs in his mind’s eye. It is very much the equivalent of today’s digital photographs, post-processed in a digital darkroom. If it was okay for him, it must be okay for me.”

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