Local photographer John Mitchell (whom I have known since he did our wedding photos a decade ago) blogged yesterday about a portrait he did and the processing required to “finish” it.
In the post, John draws parallels between digital processing and film developing. This is an argument I’ve made many times when accused of “cheating” by adjusting the colour or saturation in Photoshop. The great film developers employed similar “tricks” in the darkroom – remixing chemicals, over- and under- developing the negatives, etc. In fact, most of the standard Photoshop techniques actually attempt to mimic techniques originally developed in the darkroom.
Here’s a quote from John’s blog (wherein he shares a gem of a quote from Ansel Adams.)
The truth that you cannot make a great print from a lousy negative is even more valid with digital. The capture must be more than just acceptable. …
But, Ansel Adams also knew the importance of print making. One of his more famous sayings is, “The negative is the equivalent of the composer’s score, and the print the performance.”