Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 1998/12/02

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Subject: [Leica] Ranting and Raving
Date: Wed, 2 Dec 1998 11:20:14 -0700

>>My point is, someone can completely manufacture an image in the darkroom
>>and it's OK. But run it through Photoshop, and it's a crime.

Yes, very true. However, Photoshop is most often used by incompetent
photographers who feel digital is the be all end all solution to
photography. Why worry about correct exposure when you can fix it in
Photoshop. The software is good at fixing problems people are too damn
stupid to correct in the camera and I hate it. It is though one can't
possibly make a good image unless it goes through some digital

So when I hear people praising Photoshop, I have to laugh. The mark of a
good photographer is not how he uses some bloody computer, but in how good
his negatives are. Start with that and then manipulate if you must. But do
not equate good photography with Photoshop. Use it only when needed and not
to correct every GD image. You should be doing that in the camera. If you
can't make good negatives then you are not a very good photographer.

There is very little I can't do photographically, with film and a good
camera. If I do need to improve or correct the image, I do it with changes
in developers I might use for the film and dodging and burning during
printing. I can't think of anything Photoshop can do for me. I start with
extremely good negatives and work from there. Photoshop users tend to start
with any old negative or slide and then add change and manipulate the hell
out of it, calling it good. Computers can take most crap and change it.

As far as what is and is not art, it is too bad every Nutball idea that
comes from the minds of equally Nutball photographers is considered art.
BS. First of all, crap is crap and art can't be defined anyway. My idea of
crap and art differs from yours, and the other persons. As far as the
person knowing Ansel Adams, and thinking his so called Straight Work not
being a pretty sight, I disagree. The stuff most of us see is not
everything he did, and he made some wonderful unmanipulated images. I
wonder just how well you knew him.

Although not a pal, I did sort of know him as well. I have some prints of
his and they were not changed. Actually, he spent some time in the darkroom
I was employed at when he started promoting and working with Polaroid and
came to my town. I watched him make a few prints, standing next to him in
our darkroom.

So, all of you, take some time and learn how to print. do not rely on
Photoshop, it is not going to make you a better photographer. Learn to make
good negatives in the first place.

Rant is officially over.