adobe photoshop is probably one of the most, if not most powerful pieces of image editing software on the planet. when you see a master user working with it, you feel dumb that even if you are good with it, you realize how much more there is to learn. the days of testing alpha and beta software are over for me. i think part of it was simply you had to do that to get the latest and greatest features to make new things, but as i got older, the reality that to keep up with cutting edge was a 24/7 job where the results i needed did not dictate spending 95% of my time to eek out a .5% gain. through all the various modeling , animation, rendering and graphic software tools i had to try to learn, photoshop is just the one that probably is my favorite. i also know how little of it i use, simply because i still remember the photographers at reuters saying "you can't modify an image."
at the time, my world was creating entertainment ideas that simply did not exist, and as such, i knew if you could imagine it, one could create it in photoshop. this is where the two worlds collided and lead me to a truly great respect for the photographers of old, and a sense of sadness and disappointment with where photography and the manipulation is heading today.
after living a life that was based on entertainment and illusion, i somehow lost my path and internal compass where the illusion and imagination of the future was more important than the reality and truth of the moment, which usually is quite simple, not really glamorous, and requires no hype. call it truth. the old photos of the past, before image manipulation software and autofocus lenses and the ability to fire of mulitple images a second in "why do you need so many mega-pixels?" resolution - those prints tell stories where no words are really needed. you can stand and stare at them, and in a sense they talk to you without speaking a word. it was a time when analog met someone that used light, aperture and hand focus to "get lucky" and capture a moment in history.
despite today's technological advances in the ability to capture a moment, including super slow motion cameras that only the govt used to be able to afford the film and production costs of hi-speed photography - are we taking better images?
i walk by a magazine rack and can't see one image that is not manipulated and had its color juiced or modified to present a better "image" than the reality that was there. i guarantee that if we looked at the original images of all the fashion models and magazine cover headshot's that most of the people would be shocked, much like meeting most celebrities in real life - they usually don't look as good as they do as in the images. my favorite visuals is walking in nyc past the fashion models and seeing the illusion of just how thin they really are in real life versus how the camera lens and computer manipulations make them look. a part of me wants to buy them food, much like the homeless folks i walk by who say, "brother can i get some food?" the difference is that i fear if i did that with the models - some black helicopters would appear as part of the fashionista illuminati to take me out. . what i see the message causing people to do is go beyond digital manipulation, to physical alteration - cosmetic surgery to fill in or make-up what either is an internal or external void looking to be filled.
why man doesn't evolve through the ages? i really don't know. he simply is great at making new tools. today, i look back at the older images and marvel. the reality is, if they had today's cameras, they would be shooting just like people today. i guarantee they would be looking for ways to juice colors, change exposures, take out undesirable elements to make the image "perfect" to view.
all i am saying goes back to that point that the old timers would say, "you never change anything in the image"
when i asked why, the answer made perfect sense, "because photo journalism is the documenting of history and moments in time."
it took me a long time to walk out of the glamor of what the world and others think and say you must look and act like. perhaps that is why i loved the capabilities of where computer software and the unlimited ability to create anything came from. today, my camera is a simple iphone, i think i paid $1.99 for an amazing app that does panoramas. while i know how to manipulate with photoshop, i am happy that i really don't do much. anymore the photos have me make the silly cards, send them out, if someone like it, that is great, if not...that is fine too. what i am learning is that everyone has a different way of seeing everything. no matter what i say or do will make someone smile, or be miserable. it doesn't matter what my heart intentions are - most of the world expects the perfect magazine cover reality, that is simply what i know is a manipulated illusion.
i don't worry about a photoshop nation destroying anything. the reason is the it takes too long to really learn how to use the software. what worries me is the sheer amount of data and images that will be take and shown. i pray the "selfie" dies a rapid and quick death, but i know better, the illusion is just going to get bigger, need more rapid fire edits, sound fx and dazzling moving imagery to present what used to simply be, a picture hanging on a wall - no words required - you simply knew it was real.
the problem with knowing how to do the illusion, is you see how much is not real anymore.