Art by itself should at least moves you when you look at it. I am not the right person to talk in-depth about the art world, but Art is VERY SUBJECTIVE. At its most basic, the art speaks to you, or it doesn’t. No matter what its medium, from painting, sculpture, photography, and etc. As a photographer, I found that photoshopping is required sometimes and is inevitable. Overdoing it however is a taboo for me. I LIMIT myself in editing to cleaning up unwanted objects in the composition, dust spots on the sensors, something like disturbing wire lines or electrical plugs, minor distracting objects and that’s it. I try my best to be among the purist in photography, but not too purified like documentary/street photographers out there.
As long as it doesn’t take me away from the reality of the actual moment of the photograph. I will never put a horse right in the middle of a lake (for example), creating mystical fog to an otherwise clear day. Sometimes it does look fantastic! Put a tabby a cat on a moon, why not! Blur the hell out of the background, put on multiple editing layers to make your subject pops even more. Some photographer even uses Photoshop to make a photograph that looks like it was made from oil painting or coloured pencil. Everything is possible. There’s no right or wrong, just what suits your preference.
In terms of conversion to a black and white, it takes me quite sometimes to get to the right black and white editing process in Lightroom. I finally feel it is close enough to my favourite analogue film colour, the Ilford HP5. I remember back in the days when I still shooting film (35mm), HP5 is my black and white film of choice. I have migrated exclusively to shooting digital now, but I don’t really like the straight conversion to black and white. After lots of tweaking, I found my own recipe in emulating the black and white colour that I want and is happily using it ever since. It’s a secret so don’t bother asking me about it 🙂
I have always drawn myself into the black and white photographs more than I would do in a coloured picture. When you take away all the colours from the frame, you left with a much simpler choice, just the highlights, and the shadow area. However, it does not mean photography is suddenly easier. But I found out that black and white photography has an edge, for my particular style of portrait photography. They always portray the more profound, inner soul of my subject/client, be it people, nature, or things. It is purely mono, stoic, stillness.
At the end of the day, photoshopped or not, digital or film, colour or black and white doesn’t really matter. That what makes photography exciting and as subjective as it can be.
Until next time, take care 😄