U of S | Mailing List Archive | alt-photo-process-l | Re: OT: Photoshop CS4 upgrade overpriced

Re: OT: Photoshop CS4 upgrade overpriced

Thanks for the response, Julian.

Were your statement below written in the first person ("...I believe that if 'I' do indeed get all the technical features of the picture correct at the time of taking the photograph...") then I'd be fully supportive. But in both of your posts on this subject, you appear to dismiss (or belittle as "turd polishing") any approach that deviates from you own. That isn't in the spirit of fully supporting the medium and it isn't encouraging to those who are drawn to different avenues in Photography. 

Here's another tack: For years I would diffuse the image under the enlarger lens to spread the blacks. Since we "write with light," that diffusion of blacks is an effect we can't get in camera at the time of exposure. Would you ridicule that sort of "post processing" in the darkroom? Would bleaching the highlights in a print be another attempt at shining up the fecal matter? 

Finally, don't you find it just a bit contradictory that you embrace the application of gum and pigments to a piece of paper (that surely results in a final image that departs from what was in front of your camera) yet you dismiss digital methods as somehow less authentic? My point is that each of us decides what and how much our methodology should be as we create images and art. "Rules," as you seem to espouse, have no place in that workflow, IMHO. 

Getting back to CS4. One of the things I do for a living is teach digital imaging. That means I have to keep up with the new versions, like it or not. There are new features in CS4 that let me honor my fear of commitment, speed up tasks and open doors to creative exploration. There's no hard and fast rule as to which photographers will appreciate the new stuff; that's why 30-day free trials are like digital equivalents to walking around the shoe store in your new foot wrappings before laying down your money. If they fit and feel like they'll do the job, the money might be well spent. If they cramp your toes and have a price tag that threatens your savings, then maybe you should pass until the next generation.

You asked "Are you suggesting that one should spend 40 hours (or the digital equivalent) working on a photoshop image?" How much time anyone spends working on an image (wet darkroom, digitally, rubbing mucus on the negative, etc.)  has no relationship to its final value, nor to how "right" the photo was at the taking stage. Tell you what, I won't ask how long you spend with your gum processes if you don't ask about how long I spend working on an image in CS4. ;^)

I will tell you one thing, today I'm printing platinum on vellum; later today the prints will get varnished and backed with gold leaf. The negatives are made digitally of course, meaning that the consistency from negative to negative will greatly reduce testing for exposure or contrast. For me, that's a neat thing but for those who love testing and comparing results, that efficiency may have no bearing on the enjoyment they get in the darkroom. We all like different things.

We're all drawn to photography because it fits certain aptitudes and satisfies esthetic goals. I guess what I'm saying is that any and all turd polishing is just fine by me.


On Mar 24, 2009, at 6:18 PM, Julian Smart wrote:

There's no sinister or narrow minded assertions to be made about my statement. I believe that if you do indeed get all the technical features of your picture correct at the time of taking the photograph, and here I also include previsualising  how you want the final print to look (my pictures are always taken to be printed either gum or inkjet), then there is really very little to be done in the computer. I don't see how this can be interpreted as an unfair statement.
Admittedly most images can be improved to a greater or lesser extent by using Photoshop, and indeed I have to admit guilt to "digging it out in Photoshop" or the occasional gardening, but as a photographer, my main concern is, and has always been, getting the picture right at the taking stage. As the old adage goes, "you can't polish a turd!".
Are you suggesting that one should spend 40 hours (or the digital equivalent) working on a photoshop image?  My  point here is that if you need to do loads of post production work to get the image ready for output then (assuming you are a photographer and not a montage artist or someone who creates in the computer) there must be something wrong at the time of taking the picture, and believe me, I have spent days working on other photographers files to produce something useable.