It seems a lot of artistic skills that once took extreme ingenuity and learning are being made so easy now that we may end up shaping a generation not willing to solve artistic problems. There’s such a thing as making art too easy to a point where there isn’t any concerted effort to create something straight from the soul and through trial and error. The best art is either a happy accident or true skill manifested due to sheer necessity of not having everything handed to us on a silver platter.
In photography, you still need a lot of skill to stand out from the crowd, no matter all the digital features that every DSLR camera has available. It’s post-editing features, though, that might be bringing on a whole generation full of photography that isn’t necessarily telling the truth. With digital editing tools available on apps and through our own cameras for more than a decade, the features have progressively evolve into better features that almost assure a perfect photo. Even the worst photographer can now look halfway decent using just a few tweaks on editing software.
Having this available has probably made judging photos in contests much more of a challenge, particularly when it’s expect that the photo be untouched digitally. While there aren’t always rules requesting this, how many brilliant photos have we seen in print or online that are completely digitally altered from what it looked like originally? Are the real photographers out there who take a photo and show us exactly what they took without alterations becoming a rare breed?
Now that Instagram is allowing more advanced editing features for photography, how will reality look there where raw photography is usually the name of the game?
Is Going Real Better on Instagram?
Back when Instagram first started, the rawness of the photography there was what made it such a great place in showing slices of life. And the filters there gave a certain look that we knew altered the picture, yet not enough to a point where it wasn’t obvious. The retro Polaroid style of the photos started a near movement of making photos look the same, including web designers stealing the same kind of concepts for images.
With their new photo editing tools, it isn’t going to be so obvious any more. Now you can make subtler changes that nobody will be able to tell were altered one way or the other. Based on some reports that basic editing features like brightness give a more balanced look without washing anything out, you have to wonder how it’s going to change perceptions over on Instagram?
For a business that uses Instagram for marketing, it might be a godsend since posting pictures of a business might not be the most favorite activity for a businessperson. Being able to look like you’re a professional photographer could help the images sell themselves and take away any notion that amateurism is involved in your business.
Then again, the rawness of photographic reality on Instagram may be missed. It was the real selling point of it in the first place and not to look like Flickr where the real professionals comment and grade one another on photographic quality. The good news is at least most people will assume an eye-popping photograph probably didn’t look that way originally. Any effusive comments about a photo will have to be followed by admittance of what tools they used to look so good.
The bad news here is that by making subtler photo editing tools available, the real skilled photographers may get too many Doubting Thomases who won’t believe a brilliant photo was taken without editing tricks. Then every photographer will be in the game together of having to convince someone that what was taken is real when the assumption will immediately be it isn’t. In the art of photography, that’s not a good sign of celebrating technique and true ingenuity.
Perhaps all digital editing programs will eventually leave a logo on photos that identifies them as altered so the real photographers can be called out for real skill when it’s deserved.