It has always seemed to me that by editing photos they lose some of their essence, which is to capture an instant of reality. However, some time ago I decided to edit some photos I had taken, especially to improve the contrasts, saturation and colors. While it is true that the colors are more vivid and the images are more clear, they are, maybe, no longer a pure reflection of reality.
Of course, there are scenarios in which a camera cannot capture and process light correctly. Unlike the human eye, it cannot adapt to see with the proper exposure in a shot where there is both a lot of light and at the same time shadows. Perhaps this means that the photo is not good, that the light is not adequate, and that the editing itself serves as a justification for taking poor quality photos.1
However, there are occasions when editing, even to the point of completely missing reality, is justified. In these cases, the aim is not to capture reality, but to express a point of view or feeling of the author. It would be, I believe, a form of expression between photography and plastic arts.
Another issue that I find interesting is that black and white photographs seem to have more strength than color ones. Clear examples are the following shots, which if they had been in color would be too noisy, at least in my opinion.
A clear example of the power of black and white, and even the editing as a way of art expression, are the images of Olga Karlovac. I found this artist through a post by John P. Weiss, and it reminded me of some photos I had taken some time ago.
It is true that sometimes you have to correct colors that the camera did not take well. ↩︎