Photoshop, post processing, editing, is it all cheating?

By Gary:

There are purist photographers who believe only what you capture in camera should count. I'm not sure if that includes filters, flashes etc because that's using external means to alter your image but anyway, I see them as Amish, who choose to live a simple and almost Spartan life, compared to most of us who choose to live in the time.

That's their choice and I don't think they interfere with people who choose to live in the manner of the time, and we don't interfere with them. 

I wonder if back in the day those who used early tin types said " plates? New fangled things, they'll never take off, it's cheating anyway!"


Decades later I wonder if the people who were use to using glass plates looked at paper negatives and said "Wow that's cheating! Should they be allowed to do that!"

Of course many years later those who had to defend their use of paper saw newcomers on the scene with small boxes carrying celluloid film. "Pah they're not REAL photographers! I mean, it's too simple for them, there's no skill or art in photography any more!"

Just  yesterday I was reading one person saying that digital photography had destroyed the art and skill of the photographer. Just yet another generation of people who maybe don't like change and can't move forward and learn new skills? I do wonder though if some people are aware that the revered landscape photographer Ansel Adams, and the vast majority of all other photographers, used dozens of tools and techniques to get his images the way he wanted them, and that included scraping bits off the glass plate/negative with steel tools, and using a special pencil to add bits in?

I think there's a point to 'getting it right in camera' as much as you can, because that minimises the amount of work you have to do in the darkroom/lightroom and indeed reading between the lines many of the most famous photographers in history appear to have followed the same thought pattern.


My take on the 'cheating' debate is quite simple: "You do what you want and I'll do what I want. But as long as I am not lying when I say what I did then I am not cheating."  I suppose for further debate you could ask why are people so concerned that they want to accuse others of 'cheating'?