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Inbox – Letters

Share your views and opinions with fellow AP readers every week on the AP Inbox pages.

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Letter of the week – 28 February 2015

Artistic Licence

Your Treasures of Photography article (AP 14 February 2015) featured Ansel Adams’ ‘Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico’ image. This is a photograph that was famously ‘doctored’ by Adams in the darkroom and bears little resemblance to what he captured on the original negative. It’s justifiably regarded as an iconic image, but what would happen if it had been taken recently and manipulated in Photoshop instead of the darkroom? There would be hell to pay. And if it had been entered in the Landscape Photographer of The Year competition, it would have been disqualified.

Adams clearly believed in artistic licence and worked his magic in the darkroom the way that many photographers today use photo-editing software. Doesn’t that make a nonsense of the argument by the do-gooders who insist you either get it right in-camera or you’ve failed?
Sarah Osborne, Co Durham

I agree. Adams clearly had a vision in his mind of what he was seeing, and how the light was hitting different parts of the scene. All he did was the same as many of us do – add contrast and dodge and burn the image to add emphasis. There is a difference between making the most of the scene and the exposure, and editing the image to insert parts that weren’t there, such as new skies. There is also the perception that anything done in the darkroom is fair game, where as editing digitally is somehow ‘cheating’ – Richard Sibley, Deputy Editor

 
Viewpoint

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Write to ‘Viewpoint‘, Amateur Photographer, Blue Fin Building, 110 Southwark Street, London SE1 0SU or email with the subject heading ‘Viewpoint’.