I Have No Use for Photoshop

I often mention here at Blue Speckled Pup my lack of a relationship with Photoshop. I have never used photoshop on any of the photographs I’ve taken and posted here, admittedly in part because I don’t have a clue how to operate the program, but mostly because I’m tired of living in a world where every image I see is manipulated beyond belief.

People used to claim a picture was worth a thousand words. Now it seems a photo is worth a thousand minutes of editing, before it’s published. Maybe it’s worth a thousand guesses at what the original image used to be.

The most editing you’ll see here is the occasional crop of a photo, since I don’t have money right now to shoot with anything more snazzy than my Canon PowerShot SD1400 IS, and I can’t always envision the final product when I’m snapping shots. For those lost in the numbers, mine is a tiny, inexpensive point-and-shoot camera, and I bought it largely because it’s hot pink. If I really want to jazz things up, I’ll sometimes flip a photo into black and white or sepia, but it ends there.

Okay, okay. A few times I’ve edited out identifying details like house or license plate numbers, for the sake of privacy. I don’t consider that photo manipulation as such; I also do it clumsily using iPhoto.

But I digress. What I really want to know is why we’ve become so obsessed with editing reality. There are a zillion awesome things in the world. Whether you believe the incredible things in our world exist because of a higher power, mother nature, or a very happy coincidence, you really do have to admit there are things we just shouldn’t mess with.

To prove my point, I’m sharing a few shots from our recent belated honeymoon to Hawaii. These are raw images, pulled directly off my little camera, completely untouched and not even cropped. Photoshop has no place in the beauty of things all around us, none whatsoever.

Hibiscus beside a italian fast-food place.
Hibiscus beside a italian fast-food place. 


As far as I’m concerned, these photos have very little to do with me. Yes, I took them, but I’m really just the messenger for the astounding beauty of the things I saw.

A lookout point on the gorgeous island of Kauai.
A lookout point on the gorgeous island of Kauai.

I enjoy photos that were taken years ago, when images were developed in darkrooms and people didn’t just brush the imperfections out of photographs before publishing them. Photography used to document the world, not alter it. I miss that.

Waimea Canyon Lookout, weather and all.
Waimea Canyon Lookout, weather and all. 
Buddhist Temple on Oahu’s North Shore, one of the most peaceful, beautiful places I’ve ever been.

I looked through all the photographs I took on our trip for the first time tonight, and this post stems from my awe at the things we were lucky enough to see in Hawaii. Just as there seems to be a movement away from the glut of manufactured and manipulated foods so easily accessible in this modern time, I wish we could do the same things with the feasts for our eyes.

While I don’t have a problem with digitally removing a pimple or a panty line, the sheer falseness in most modern media is frightening. Just as becoming accustomed to artificial flavours make the deliciousness of natural things pale by comparison. I worry that we are becoming so used to the dazzling images presented to us in the media, of things, people, and places that don’t actually exist as presented, that we will eventually–and sooner than we imagine–fail to respond as we should to the actual world we live in. Real life and real human beings will simply disappoint us. This shift is already evident in the body image and eating disorders dangerously common among girls and women.

Take a minute or two sometime soon to appreciate the real world. It’s pretty darn wonderful, if you give it the opportunity.

copyright 2013:  http://bluespeckledpup.com

6 Comments Add yours

  1. swissangel68 says:

    Awesome observations! Thank you for being a supporter of the “Real World”. I use Photoshop a lot to audition fabrics, colours, & quilting designs and have only seriously altered one photo to take out a street sign from a field of sunflowers. I love old photos because they are REAL snapshots of the time. So much of social media uses human insecurities to crank up the sense of urgency to be perfect when that state is in itself impossible and hardly worth trying to be. All of our little nooks & crannies are what make us and the world around us what we are and that’s pretty wonderful, if we’ll give it a chance to be. Rock on, Real World!

    1. I have always loved the term “nooks and crannies,” and I’m just fine applying it to myself. Great observation about old photos, which are some of my favourite things on this planet. What are the coming generations going to use to learn about us now? Certainly not photos, given the current state of media.

  2. Mary says:

    When you have real values, you don’t need photoshop. The world is amazing on its own, as your images of Hawaii shows, as well as your pics of Sherman, etc:)
    Phony people though feel insecure. They need something to be sanitized/glossied up in order to think its acceptable, which is sad.

    1. Hooray for the real world! I think it’s so sad that people feel the need to put a veneer over their real selves, and the problem seems to just keep building.

  3. hlapinski says:

    Great post! I took a Photoshop course once, but I find the number of options overwhelming and usually just opt for simple fixes like you (cropping, black and white). For my blog, I keep everything in a sepia tone so the pictures don’t distract from the writing. I really enjoy photography, although I don’t have much training, and I’ve found that my favorite pictures are the ones that need no editing. I’m so tired of the multi-filtered instagram-type photos all over social media. I recently wrote a related post about how we no longer capture life with our cameras but often try to create life through them.

    1. I love your point about creating life through altered photos. Have people become so ashamed of their real lives and real selves that they can only share super-santized, ultra-filtered shots? I think so many people have ceased to share what is in favour of what they wish could be.

      Thank you for dropping by to comment.

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