Capturing…and Editing…the Moments

Photography is one of those things that I’ve always wished that I had an eye for, but just don’t. When Karen and I visit art galleries, I tend to be drawn to the photography exhibits more than many others. There’s something about capturing real life as it transpires: the hope and pain in people’s faces, the tragedy and comedy of the play of life immortalized in picture. I love seeing the composition that my photographer friends place in their gorgeous images. I love how they transform certain moments by rendering them in black and white. The humanity captured through photography is so evocative.

I guess that’s why I don’t understand the trends I see in my Google + stream, or on Flickr, or on various other social media, in altering digital photographs in such a way that the colors are far too vibrant, far too “touched up” to be real. I see many photographs, and I feel as though I’m watching a classic film suddenly rendered in technicolor.

I’m not against editing photographs. I love the ability that technology has given us to improve our photos. I have forgotten what it was like to not be able to take three shots and choose the one that I want to keep on the spot, or to not be able to deal with red-eye later and save what would otherwise have been a glaring blemish in a photo of a family member or loved one. And all I use is iPhoto.

It’s when a landscape of an exotic location, for example, appears to have been suspiciously optimized for a retina display in a way that real life simply cannot appear, that I have a problem. Are we culturally so given to altering the aesthetics of our natural environment so as to “improve” it that we no longer want to view our landscapes as they really are?

I’m walking in slightly risky territory here, as I’m discussing medium in which I have no ability at all. I just think that there’s a difference between placing a creative lens on immanent beauty, and altering that beauty to something that we perceive as more beautiful.

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