Shadowplay; editing notes

People tend to ascribe a notion of purity and truth to photographs, as if the translation from photons bouncing off objects to pixel data recorded on a chip (or causing a chemical reaction with a strip coated in silver nitrate) holds some sort of absolute fact about the world with little room for deceit. Relatedly, I find problems with the term 'post-processing', as it implies excess actions that one has performed on a captured image that somehow dilute the validity of the photograph.

On the other side of the issue, I feel a responsibility to present an image that accurately represents my interpretation of the space, taking into consideration everything from the state of my eyesight to any romantic notions I have about how foggy alleyway mornings ought to appear. If I fail to translate my thoughts on a particular space to a viewer, have I failed to present the image appropriately? Does someone need to be able to identify this moment and location in reality in order for it to be a truthful photograph?

It's complicated. This is why I bristle when people ask me for technical details about my photographs, as if the pen I used to put together a piece of writing mattered just as much as the words I stitched together.

These images are a sequence of drafts, from the JPG that my camera's internal software rendered as a companion to the raw format I worked from, through several iterations of color balance adjustment and spot-editing to emphasize a specific sens of space and object definition. Some changes are more subtle than others, depending on your viewing conditions.

08 April 2014

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