I already spoke about selling lies and selling truth, but now we are going to face a brand new kind of postproduction technique I don’t like at all. I have never been a anti-tech guy, but I think technology research can be focused on something better than this; Brown University developed a software which is capable of automatically changing a landscape to every climatic and seasonal situation. An example: you shot a sunny landscape and this software modifies it in order to look like winter and snowy, or autumn and rainy, as the user prefers. It works like applying filters in Istagram.
What’s the meaning of this feature? Why are we losing the taste of an authentic and true picture? This behavior has less perspective of the one commonly used in commercial photography: in the latter you have to sell a product (so you try to Photoshop both the product and the sponsor VIP), in the former it doesn’t make sense at all.
Let’s look at some examples available on Brown University’s website.
If you want a snowy landscape, go and shoot it. If you want a warm and spring landscape, do the same. I don’t get the meaning of changing it, maybe the photographer is lazy or not good enough. If the photographer is not capable of shooting in a specific climate condition, maybe he is not the photographer you should rely on.
Just to remember you what I mean about the exciting feeling of looking at a photograph you can rely on, which information is expression of truth, look at these shots; they are made by Sebastião Salgado, a photographer who represent one of the best expressions of nature photography, even ethically speaking.
Even worse, if you want a sunny day photograph, all you need to do is type in “more night” and voila – your photo will now have a typical and night look, or better it will be a night shot. This is a one-click algorithm to alter and cheat your images.
Maybe I’m a fool and romantic, moved only by pictures which express a true piece of reality. I don’t even feel surprise when I see a landscape photograph which makes me think “Am I watching a document or a Photoshop work?”. Even more if the snow I’m looking at is fake.