|Is it a night shot...or isn't it?|
Has this ever happened to you? You show some friends one of your photos and the first thing they ask "Did you really take that?" In this age of Photoshop, Reality TV that's not so real, news bites taken out of context and sharing of photos on the internet it can be difficult to determine what is real.
Now the question becomes what is reality? A quick snapshot is usually as real as it gets. But photographers have been manipulating their photos since the beginning. We change camera angles, we add light where it did not exist before, we pose people within the photo where we want them and we use various filters on the end of our lenses to change contrast or color. Long before Photoshop, when I was shooting 35 mm and had a darkroom, I did a lot of manipulation of my work. I burned in light spots and dodged out dark areas. I even had an entire roll of moon shots that I could add to any photo I wished.
So maybe the question is not "Is it real" but "does it really matter?" We took the original picture and like any artist we worked to improve on our interpretation of the world around us. As Ansel Adams said " You don't take a photograph, you make it". Besides would knowing change the emotional response of the viewer?