Alain Briot • Photographic Shyness

When it comes to photography, there is no right or wrong amount of retouching. As Alain Briot says, credibility in art is not linked to how far you depart from reality

In 2013, Michael Reichmann published an essay titled, ‘The art of fooling around.’ In this essay, he made the point that photographers are shy when it comes to expressing themselves through their photographs. In Reichmann’s opinion this is due to the desire to have their photographs taken seriously by the photographic community. In other words, photographers want their work to have credibility and for them having credibility means not Photoshopping their images. In the beginning of digital photography this meant not Photoshopping at all. Now that digital has become the norm and that everyone uses it, it means not Photoshopping too much.

This attitude is just as ridiculous as trying to develop a personal style that is not too personal. Just like having a personal style or not, you either Photoshop your work or you don’t. If you make art rather than documentation, which is the point of this essay, then how much Photoshopping you do is irrelevant. Do people ask how far from reality are Van Gogh’s paintings? Do they ask if his colors are more saturated than the natural colors of his subjects? No one does because no one cares, because credibility in art is not linked to how far you depart from reality.

The problem is that photographers have tied artistic credibility with lack of photographic manipulation. As a result the discourse centers around ...

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About Author


Alain Briot creates fine art photographs, teaches workshops and offers DVD tutorials. Alain’s three books are available as printed books on and as eBooks on his website.

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