Too Much Photoshopping

The winner of a photography contest in the United Kingdom was dubbed "Landscape Photographer of the Year" last week, only to have the title—and large award check—taken away just a few days later. Why was he disqualified? For "too much Photoshopping." Aside from Adobe bristling at the use of Photoshop as a verb, this is disconcerting to folks on both sides of the argument. I’m mostly concerned about the idea of Photoshop invalidating the success of a photograph. Isn’t it about the end result, rather than the specific techniques used to achieve that result? To me it is, although I certainly understand how reality can be—and often is—distorted for effect in all sorts of photographs—even the "straight" ones. I think that’s what bothers me; the underlying idea of photograph as fact. It’s an interesting discussion, of which you can read more at the Online Photographer. He even includes a comment from one of the judges who explains that the disqualification was not for philosophical reasons, but for simply entering a photograph in a category that specifically prohibited compositing. My favorite quote in the piece comes from The Online Photographer himself, Michael Johnston, who posits, "Has Photoshopping in photography competitions gotten to be like doping in the sport of cycling?" I think only time will tell.  

Leave a Comment