Altered Photography: A matter of taste

Digital photography is great not only because anyone can become a photographer, if she or he has a bit of talent, but also because it makes damn easy for almost anyone with editing skills to alter the state of that image. It is all bunch of pixels that can be recolored, moved, changed, transformed or deleted. There are no limits.

But, this means in most of the cases that a photographer will spend a huge amount of time in front of the computer. Of course, we must consider that the photographer has to know how. Getting to know how to do postprocessing is a really long process of learning for which some people pay quite a respectable amount of money. And I understand why. It is much easier and way faster to learn from someone than learning all the time by yourself.

When it comes to to “advanced” photography, I have never seen a professional photographer at work. I don’t know anything about how a professional photographer is “functioning”, except from books, magazines and online articles. I am learning everything from there and from a handful of conversations with Barbu, a good friend of mine. I’ve been told that photography is practice, not reading. But how can one practice if he doesn’t have sources of inspiration and/or access to techniques, which in my case, I can only learn about them from reading? As a result, at this point I am still reading and learning a lot more than actually going out and using my camera. And I love to use my camera.

Today I took everything one step further and did my first actual intended creative editing. I’ve been avoiding for a while to dive too deep in post-processing because of two things – a sense of purism, meaning that I like classical and black and white photography the most, and second, because I thought and somehow still think, that I lack the talent to do it. Of course, I definitely lack the skills, but that implies learning. By reading and practicing, one can learn anything he wants, right? Programming, Photoshop, riding a bicycle and survive in Amazon; because humans are awesome and their minds are amazing. Yes, I mean any human, including you…

Now, to get back to my today’s performance, today I have altered one of my favorite images of all time. Tada! I give you soft light/hard light blending and other neat techniques and filters and whatever. The time invested in this was insignificant, but the time invested in watching Nicolesy’s 5 minutes tutorials a month ago payed off today. I love that person’s teaching skills.

While doing all this I realized the plane obvious – today the difference between “anyone can be a photographer” and “passionate enthusiast photographer” is in post-processing. A passionate is investing a huge amount of time in altering the state of his photography to a point where he feels content about the result, thus generating a style, his own personal style. Of course, it takes you years of practice to have your own style, if you are not some born prodigy. And it worth every minute spent on it. Becasue when you arrive to that point when you feel that you have your own way of showing things and people actually get it, man, that is an amazing enlightening feeling.