Fine Art Photography Vs Natural Photography

I am only relatively new to the whole photography thing here, so if I speak out of turn, forgive me. I had a recent ‘discussion’ about the reason for post production on photos, both with a family friend and Moth. You see we have recently got back from an overseas holiday where I took 7,500 photos………..a lot I know! Anyway I have spent the last week or so tweaking them in both Lightroom and Photoshop.

Now the discussion was based on WHY? just leave them as I took them (or as Moth took them) and get them printed out. Moth agreed (honestly he should know better!), anyway I pointed out that not every photo is preened beyond acceptance in Photoshop and many just need to have the exposure slightly adjusted, or things cropped out. Sometimes the color was slightly off as to the way I saw it. Many were much better off for having being tweaked. Then of course there are compilations shots I combine, just for fun, or images where the sky doesn’t quite meet the ‘feel’ I am trying to achieve, but again this is personal and I always have an original untouched photo as well.

So I guess my question is, where is the line? Some photographers claim they use no tricky colored filters, no Photoshop, they only produce Natural Photography, yet they have photos that surely must have been taken with at least ND Filters, or the colors have been tweaked by another program perhaps, Photoshop doesn’t always mean quirky weird art, sometimes I only use it to remove dust particles from a dirty lens. Yet people think Graphic Artist such as myself should leave photos as they are? I have been known to remove an item from a photo as I thought it ruined the composition of the shot, I have added an extra cloud here and there, I have removed unwanted clouds, car, people, birds etc. So am I wrecking the photo or adding to it. Are my photos Natural or Fine Art, or something else entirely? Call me a pessimist here, but artist who claim their photos are exactly as they were taken once printed, I am a little skeptical, surely they at least had a little scrutiny on the PC first?

Feel free to weigh in on this and I have learnt over the last few months it is a bit of a sensitive and hot topic. Personally I feel we are all artists and individuals, some of us take photos as a means of recording data, some of us as a means of catching a mood, a feeling, history, we paint with a camera and not a brush.

– Julz