My Unconditional Responsibility on Photoshop
I have been a professional photographer for over a decade. I learned photography in the darkroom, but I learned digital photography with a digital camera mainly in Photoshop. I now teach photography and Photoshop to others. Understanding the extent of my skills it’s helpful. I can edit an entire person out of a photo; I can add an entirely new background to a photo; I could even add a third eye to a person if I wanted. All of this to say, I could edit a photo anyway that I want. This is my unconditional responsibility on photoshop. I have an ethical responsibility NOT to Photoshop to the extent of my ability.
My Philosophy of Photoshop
My philosophy of Photoshop it’s simple. I want to enhance each image with brightness, contrast, color and exposure. I do not use Photoshop to alter someone’s appearance. Period. it is very possible to shave off ten pounds, reduce the appearance of a double chin, or make someone’s eyes exactly symmetrical. I could do all those things. But I choose not to do all of those things. Unconditional.
A Photographer Job
As a photographer if I do not pose my subject the right way, then I haven’t done my job. I don’t need to shave off ten pounds if I pose a person with a flattering stance. If a person tells me they’re double chin bothers them, then I will specifically make sure that area is not accentuated in each photo. Instead I will pose them in a way that minimizes that attribute.
We All Have Flaws
I can think of at least ten different flaws in my own photographs of me. My nose isn’t straight, my eyes are not even, my chin isn’t just a double chin it’s a triple or a quadruple chin. My list goes on and on. I have the ability to change each one of those things plus many more in Photoshop. But here’s a little secret, I never have and I never will. Changing how I look, or how anyone looks, is in my mind, unethical. Again back to the ethical philosophy.
If I think of photographs as a preservation of each person in this exact moment of time, I cannot justifiably change a physical characteristic of each person. I feel as though I would be erasing someone’s realistic existence. I find so many of these “flaws” beautiful because they are unique characteristics to each one of us.
If you cannot embrace these flaws, and learn to value them, you may have a difficult time loving yourself. It is not my place to judge anyone who is struggling with self-esteem. There is real beauty in learning to love and accept yourself the way you are.
The older I get, and the more I accept all of my flaws, the harder it is for me to understand wanting to digitally alter or remove flaws. It’s almost as if those thoughts take up real estate in your brain, but they should not. This is just common sense, my unconditional responsibility on photoshop, in my opinion.
*These images were edited for exposure, color and brightness in Photoshop and that is all.
** We had fun photographing this session in a sunflower field that has since withered away.