A woman from Arizona has had her late fiance's images imposed into wedding photos. She is absolutely thrilled with the results but it opens a wider discussion in this age of digital photography: where is the line drawn when it comes to creative editing?
Tragically, Debbie Gerlach's fiance, Randy Zimmerman, was killed in a motorcycle accident 9 months ahead of their scheduled wedding. But thanks to photographer Kristie Fonseca, Gerlach could create some beautiful images of her and Zimmerman together on what would have been their wedding day. You can see the photos and read more about the story here. The article describes the photos as "touching" and "otherworldly". Gerlach loves the results and the shared photos have since gone viral, with incredibly positive feedback from almost everyone who's seen them.
To me, this is a perfect demonstration of the unique opportunities that digital photography affords us. Whether it's in-camera with creative uses of the aperture, shutter speed and filters, or in post-production with the myriad editing tools we have at our disposal, we can pretty much do whatever we want to get an image that we like.
However, many in the photographic community and beyond have wildly different views. My dear old mum, for example, scoffs at long exposure photos where the water is silky and milky. Yet she absolutely loves shots I take of my newborns in black and white with creamy, dreamy bokeh. I can't reason with her and explain that neither are what the "real scene" was like. To her, long exposures are fake while black and whites shot at f/1.4 are gorgeous.
Then we enter the world of composite photography, Photoshop, dropping skies in, adding vibrance, removing people, adding people — the list is endless. But what's acceptable and what's not? And how do you reach that conclusion of where you draw the line on "real" or "fake". Thanks to modern digital photography, Debbie Gerlach can savor photos with her late husband-to-be that would have been impossible as recently as 30 years ago. But some will look at these photos through traditionalist's eyes and frown.
What's your view on it all? How much editing is acceptable, and what criteria do you use?
Lead image by Kristie Fonseca and used with permission.