Digital manipulation cheating ?

Just read on a blog that digital manipulation was cheating. It’s a one of these statements passed for a profound truth that crops all the time in the analogue versus digital debate. The fact that it still crops up does surprise me as  I feel this debate is well past its sell by date. Nevertheless, since it is a preoccupation, the following is my view.

 Photography either analogue or digital is all about manipulation. Choosing subject, angle,time of the day, to add or remove light  , shutter speed, f stop lenses,filters, film, processing,enlarging and types of enlarging lights,type of paper along with cropping, burning, dodging , toning and spotting are all manipulations that have to be carried out for an analogue photography to exist. A similar list could be made for digital.

In essence, a photograph is nothing but the result of a series of manipulations and this has always been the case since its invention. The techniques of manipulation have continuously evolved; to uphold that most recent options are cheats compared to past ones is to make a statement that doesn’t bear scrutiny. 

Photography has never told the truth, at best it tells someone’s truth.

  Christophe Chevaugeon





  1. Mjollnir says:

    Couldn’t agree more. 😀

  2. I suspect ‘cheating also’ points to the easiness with which elements can be modified in a digital image as opposed to an analogue one but even then, a closer look at the history of photographic processes and practices, enhancing the initial capture ( in itself the result of many manipulations/choices/options ) has always taken place. I understand and respect the attachment to ethics regarding those manipulations, especially in the field of documentary and journalistic photography…

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