As the curator for the Fstoppers Photo of the Day and our Instagram feed, I happen to read a lot of comments and criticisms thrown out at images by semi-anonymous people from all over the world. One thing I can be sure of is that when I post an image that is a composite or incorporates some sort of digital art, some people get offended. This is ridiculous and needs to end for photography to continue growing.
Regardless of what some may think, there are no boundaries for photography. We are artists and we follow our mind’s eye, not the eye of the beholder. Incorporating elements from other media or from other images into a single piece of work does not weaken the virtues of photography. Neither does heavy dodging and burning, extreme saturation boosts, color changes, or any other creative effort made by a photographer. On the contrary, these acts of artistic output makes photography bigger, stronger, and more legitimate as an art.
At the extreme end of things, there are even people who feel like proper photography needs to be done completely in camera. As if having engineers in Japan decide how a final image should end up looking has more importance than the photographer’s own vision.
These criticisms all have one major flaw: They are rules. They are rules set by the audience rather than the artist. This is not to say you can’t voice your opinion that the colors of an image are far too saturated or that a composite is just too out of control for your taste, but it needs to remain grounded in that the photographer did not create this for you. Photography is a personal journey that we choose to share with others, and it benefits us all when that journey can extend limitlessly.