In my latest work "Sunset in Neah Bay" I incorporated a composited element. I added birds to the scene that in real life were not there. When I photographed the scene I had however the "end result" already seen in my head. I knew before I took the photograph what the visual end result was going to be. Whenever I post a photograph like that I always get really good critiques and comments, the "wow" factor gets people emotionally involved in my imagery. However I get a few people that gets offended as now my "photograph" is an illusion, its not real, it turned into digital art.
When it comes to photography for me in my image making photoshop has become a true extension of my photography and it has changed and even defined how I take photographs today. It plays a really big role in my creative process and my image making. For me it is a tool that helps me realizing my visual ideas I have in my head and projecting them via my photographs.
The way I make my images is very simple, Its a matter of a combination of "the light" that I like, textures and subject that inspire me or that I have an emotional connection with and a visualization of what I am attracted to in general. I often find that parts of the things that moved me as a child or in my upbringing often finds a place in my imagery. Things that moved me in the past I often recognize them back in my today's photographs. That defines my visual and creative identity.
In my opinion and regardless what many "purist" think, there are NO limits for photography. No boundaries need to be set to your creative freedom . Just follow your instinct and visual ideas and your artists mind. Incorporating elements from other photographs and compositing them into a single image only enhances the virtues of photography, it does not negatively influence them. Neither does manipulation of color tones, saturation or dodging and burning. In the "Old Days" Ansel Adams added a Ton of Darkroom manipulation before he had the finished product. They even added skies for other photographs to get the end result. He often blended images together in the dark room. In many peoples minds Ansel Adams would NOT be a good photographer.
The best and most paid photographers out there use photoshop and photo manipulation all the time, giving them a call and telling them they are actually not photographers would indeed be very funny.
So were do we draw the line, when does photography turn into digital art. Well in my opinion when you stop using photographs and only use digital Illustration and drawings and CGI. But no matter how you feel about this try not to be a definition freak. Try not to be stuck on a word and definition about what photography is, should be, could be or need to be. Go out there and make beautiful images.
But please share with me what do you think in a comment below...