Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Photoshop - A blessing? Or a curse?

I am a firm believer that photoshop is both a blessing and a curse in disguise.

On the one hand, it gives photographers the chance to take a photo and turn it into a work of art. I LOVE the creativity from directly behind the camera, but it's equally exciting for me to come back home, upload my photos, and change the picture on photoshop until it's exactly the way I like it.

I took this last week in London. I don't remember exactly what I did, but I'm sure it involved increasing the saturation, brightening it, playing with contrasts.

On the other hand, our perception of beauty is hugely affected by it, and it leaves people around the world with an unattainable standard of "perfection".

The only person I could use to demonstrate this without insulting anyone was myself haha.
The photo has been brightened, colors have been changed, contrast increased, texture added.
My nose has been made smaller, face has been reshaped, bags under eyes are gone, skin has been cleaned, hair has been extended, eyes are bigger, shoulder has been moved.
I think that's it.
Normally I never change the shape or structure of people's faces or bodies. It's just a lie, and who wants to live a lie?
I do, however, clean up the skin, fix any distractions etc etc..
It takes a long time to photoshop properly, especially when dealing with hair. I didn't want to put too much time into this, so the hair looks a bit rushed - but deal with it ;).

The truth is, photoshop allows me to be much more playful and creative with my photography. And I'm very thankful for it.

Some photographers I'm LOVING at the moment due to their amazing photography and editing skills:

Beth Jansen
She's an Oklahoma City based photographer who mainly does work photographing children. I fell in LOVE with her work the first time I saw her blog a couple of days ago. Her photos make me jealous. They're so alive, so colourful. I love them :) :) .. plus, who couldn't love with those cute babies??

Mike Shaw
His HDR work is fantastic. I've been following him on DeviantArt now for what seems like forever, and he just keeps getting better and better. He makes you see the world in a whole new light. Beautiful.

Some examples of the powers of photoshop in the media:

Dove Evolution - "No wonder our perception of beauty is distorted"
I'm sure you've all seen this. It's made it's rounds on the internet.

20 Biggest Photoshop Disasters of 2008

The Power of Photoshop -
Another one I'm sure everyone has seen. But still pretty cool.

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Much love <3>


  1. wow. that certainly puts photoshop into perspective. when used correctly its such a wonderful tool...but moving into stuff like you showed is just plain messy and dangerous. great blog alex :)

  2. You're beautiful... unphotoshopped of course! It is truly amazing how far we can take it with this powerful tool.

  3. You have wonderful work! Thank you for the comment on my blog as well! Do you sell any stock images? I think that a lot of your imagery could work very well for that.

  4. I think it is both. The 20 biggest disasters is brilliant! Some one is super detail oriented to notice the often over looked. Photoshop has saved me a few times, so I can't hate it. :)

  5. fabulous blog! me and photoshop have a love/hate relationship. it's so tempting to go waaaay overboard, and i end up spending FOREVER editing a batch of images, and then some of them just look overdone to the point of RIDICULOUS. then on the other end of the spectrum are the photographers who barely use it at all and do all their editing in lightroom.... just basic stuff. couldn't do that either. argh.... finding the cursed happy medium!

  6. I have a love/hate relationship with Photoshop too! I love your blog, fantastic photos!

  7. Just amazingly wonderful blog! Love it! and I do love photoshop but it just has to be about individuality and making the picture yours as a photographer without over doing it... it's all subjective :)

  8. I hate Photoshop, and I have for some time... but I do love Lightroom ;P

    I hear ya though. Everyone has their individual style, and the world is more diverse for it but personally, I love working with the purity of a scene as straight out of the camera so I try to keep my post-processing really straight forward & minimal. :)

  9. Those photoshop disasters are hysterical.