< Prior Page  |  123 • 45  |  Next Page >

Looking back on these points, I see three themes. 


First, I am most comfortable with changes intended to correct errors that could have been addressed if I had more foresight at the time I pressed the shutter button. I don’t begrudge brightening a dark image that would have looked better if I’d been smart enough to use a bigger aperture in the first place. Digital manipulation provides a rare second chance in life.


Second, I am most comfortable with changes intended to draw out material that is already present in the photograph. For example, I will clean up  backgrounds to avoid distractions from the main subject matter, and I will manipulate colour images to ensure that they retain their strength and drama in black and white. I agree that it can be difficult to distinguish changes that augment things already present from changes that add things entirely new. But I still believe this is a valid test.


Third, I am uncomfortable with changes that delete key objects or add new objects to the photograph. In my mind, this smacks a little too much of Orwell’s Ministry of Truth, where the past is adjusted without regard to the facts. Many will argue these sorts of concerns simply don’t apply to a site that provides images for entertainment, rather than news for decision-making. And in fact, I’ve made this very point somewhere above. But I believe that, given the viewer’s expectations about the photographic medium, it’s okay to tell some little white lies but not any big black ones.

All Images © Tom Onyshko, 2017