Can we , and should we, trust photography? Are we seeking photography as a proof of reality or to feel an experience? The recent announcement of the World Press winners sparked yet another controversy over altered images. The winning image, it seems, has been tampered with via Photoshop, artificially changing the skin tones and adjusting the overall mood. Yet, was it really changing reality or, in fact, perfecting it ? 
We all know that cameras are not perfect capturing tools. They have much less dynamic range than the human eye/brain. Our lenses poorly capture our real focal point and when we leave 50mm, we enter a field that no human can naturally replicate. We do not see vertically or horizontally in a 24 x 36 or square frame. In other words, photography only can make analogies to our personal vision, not replicate it. 
However, all those technological shortcomings do not come close to the biggest element that we are missing: the experience, the sensations, the emotions. Those come with the addition of sounds, smells, words, previous events, relationships. While a professional photographer will desperately try to convey those by using a variation of tricks, from shooting angle to depth of field ( other form of alterations), they only come close, but never truly replicate. 
Sometimes, it might be something in the light, the colors and this is where Photoshop comes in. Maybe the altered image we see is what the photographer remembered it looked like, to him, when he was photographing. Don’t forget, he might be editing hours later. In other words, he trusts his memory more than his camera. The final image becomes his invested reality. 
We all do the same when we remember events because they are charged with our personal emotions that somehow end up in the vision we recollect. They accentuate one color over the other, one detail, one light reflection and if shown an actual photograph of the event, we would probably say “ O No, it didn’t look anything like that”. Because we temper with reality all the time. We interpret, we add layers of emotions, feelings, experience to everything we do, see, touch and remember. 
So why do we become cruel to photographers who try to do the same with their photographs ? They are just showing what they saw, the way they saw it. They are not surgeons of reality, slicing a perfect piece out of timeline, to be exhibited in a controlled environment. They are humans conveying a message, an experience using emotions that, unfortunately, do not stick to an electronic sensor. So they use all the artifacts that hollywood has been using for decades, consciously or not. Is it cheating ? Probably not. It’s not about what you see but what you make other see.

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