The evolution of cameras and photography is moving at “light” speed these days. Digital image manipulation in conjunction with traditional photography principals and practices have created a new media entirely. 20 Years ago if you were unfamiliar with things like fixatives and emulsions or how to use a changing bag you were at the mercy of whatever film processing company was going to gouge you to develop your prints.
There was a time when a photo with a scratch, damaged section, or unwanted blemish was a total loss. Unfortunately, it was hard to know before developing if you’d experience any of those problems. Sadly, in most cases the first glimpse of a photo came long after it was taken. At that point there was little that could be done. With the introduction and continued improvements of digital camera technology, this no longer holds true. An image can be seen almost instantly after it’s captured.
Much to the chagrin of classic photography non-conformists, the digital images of today are very good. In fact, they may be better then the classic light to film exposures. In addition, there are literally thousands of mods that can be done with a print to enhance, improve, or entirely recreate it. Programs like Adobe, Corel, Expression and others offer functions as basic as removing red eye or as elaborate as clone stamping, vector shading, brown toning and endless other options.
The image at the top of this page has been slightly adjusted. The graffiti and small items of trash littering the underside of the pier have been “removed.” Is that still just photography or have we now moved into multi-media? It’s hard to say. The fact remains however: Before artists and framers had the capacity to “remove” unwanted sections or red eyes from their photos in a convincing manner, many great pictures were simply a loss.