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A buddy of mine, taken when he visited SF.

I’m torn over how easy it is to over-process a photo and achieve hyperstylized results. On the one hand, it can help bring a lot of mood and emotion to a capture. What might start out as a simple portrait can turn into so much more with proper processing.

On the other, where is the line between “photograph” and “digital image” drawn? Yes, it might be evocative and engaging, but is it still a photograph? After all, the hues and colors look nothing like the original. Lightroom deserves as much credit for the result as the original photo.

But on the third hand (?), I could’ve achieved this effect with film if I really wanted to. With the right film, some clever processing, and a little chemical wizardry, I could probably get the same result. And isn’t Lightroom simply a digital darkroom? Aren’t the effects I achieve in there just as valid as ones I might’ve achieved in a color lab twenty years ago?

Maybe I’ll simply not refer to them as photographs or digital images. Maybe I’ll just call them all “pictures” and be done with it.

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