To Fix or Not to Fix – That is the Question

I think I need to vent… I have spent many years of my life learning photography and photoshop for the purpose of capturing a moment in time (such a cliche’!).  Capturing that moment comes with its penalties and I am going to talk about the “dark side” of having such creative control over one’s images.

Camera manufacturers do their darned best to create cameras that capture detail and sharpness, recording every fine line and detail that can be extracted from a scene or portrait. In many cases, this is pleasing. In the case of portraits, it can be terrifying. I swear the image of that woman’s face is downright scary in its unaltered state! Moles, wrinkles, sags, pimples, stray ingrown hairs, unexplained red spots, scabs, cakey white… well you get the picture. I have to admit that I am excited to get started on an image like this, to “aestheticize” (verb-to depict as being pleasing or artistically beautiful; represent in an idealized or refined manner) it as soon as possible. Hurry up and FIX it! I don’t want anyone to see it, not even the person whose face it is! Does she know she has all of this on her face? I have used the ultimate tool to capture the “ultimate truth” and now the moral dilemma is, do I reveal this truth?  

How young do you want to look? I charge by the year: 5 years younger – $50, 10 years younger – $100; how much do you want to weigh? I charge by the pound: 10 pounds -$50, 30 pounds – $100. One could actually do it this way.

The age old question…to fix or not to fix.

It comes down to this:

1. I have the permission of the subject to capture a likeness using a camera.

2. As the owner and creator of the image, I have the artistic license to render the final product as I see fit.

3. The subject can accept or reject the outcome.

Simple. I don’t need anyone’s permission to create art from images. On the other hand, I am going to be smart to create an image for the subject that is exchangeable for appreciation and profit!

In the end its like riding a surf board. I have to use my skill, strength and intuition to stay on top of the board during the ride. Likewise is the relationship with the client or subject; all must be balanced so you conquer that wave and a true exchangeable product can be produced. The examples are of an image that I copied from someone else and then made art out of it.

All the railing and fits that have been thrown regarding using manipulation in photography come down to two issues in my mind: The right to freedom of expression and not committing fraud.

Fight me back on this point of view if you will. I would love to hear the counter arguements!

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