The Photoshop Kerfuffle
To Photoshop, or not to Photoshop, that is the question. It seems ridiculous, doesn't it? That this is such a hotly debated question in the world of photography is truly astounding to me. It seems ridiculous to compare it to classic Shakespearean work, but to some, it rises to the level of Shakespearean tragedy. For what reason, I don't really know.
At its basic core, Photoshop is a tool for photographers and artists to design and improve their work. That is it. Whether or not that is at the direction of their client, or their own artistic desire, lives within each separate scenario.
Recently, there was a blog post by a boudoir photographer that went viral focusing on the letter of a husband eschewing her for editing away all of his wife's flaws. Incidentally, something the photographer admittedly says the client asked for.
There seems to have been some sort of epiphany for many that Photoshop is evil and should not be used. This is based on the fact that it takes away imperfections that are the roadmap of that woman's life. If what a husband see’s when he looks at his wife are her imperfections, then there are problems that are deeper that I care to address. But, as with most people who see themselves in photographs, women judge themselves in each photo, especially when those photos share as much of themselves as many boudoir photos do.
Part of my personal definition of boudoir photography is “Imagery that shows the beautiful, sexy, sensual side of a woman and the emotions she feels from the confidence knowing she is beautiful, sexy, and sensual brings”. To me, this is paramount for my clients to see in themselves. Anything during my shoots or in the images goes, hands down. Unless specifically otherwise requested by the client. And only the client.
For reasons to great to name and too many to count, women gladly sacrifice their bodies for the joy carrying and giving birth to their children. And let's be honest, for many, it's brutal on the physical self. Things move, parts don't stay where they once originally were, and there are telltale stretch marks of the experience. Women worry about their kids and their health, their schooling, and their social development. She worries about her husband and their marriage, and their finances. They end up with worry lines and circles under their eyes. These, and many other things happen to women’s bodies that they see every day.
So, as a boudoir photographer, when a woman walks into my studio and asks if I Photoshop, I say hell yes! I don't for one second think that most women would trade any of those experiences for a perfect body, and if they would, they're not my boudoir client. But, that doesn't mean that they shouldn't have the privilege of viewing themselves as they once were and knowing that underneath everything that is her life, she is beautiful.