Telling the right story at Christmas (with the help of photoshop)
Good story telling is hard, and the way you need to think about conveying it change radically according to how it will be told. For stand-alone images, it’s even more difficult as the only context provided is in the image itself. For this post I’ve put aside the story behind the photos and have instead shown how a careful combination of basic shapes may not be sufficient in itself. There’s no doubt as to which of these images is strongest. Removal of the dancer to the left makes the image very much stronger.
In a shoot of this kind (during dress rehearsals) when I have limited time and can’t run around the stage I still want my images strong. While I don’t do it often as it’s not cost effective, I may select one or two images to do more post-processing than normal in this way.
Whether this creates a truer reflection of the event is an interesting question. The camera presents things very differently to the way we do with our human eyes. We will, without the intercession of conscious thought, concentrate on one person, zoom in and out of a scene and make our own stories. It’s how we make sense of things, but somehow with a still image our eyes and brains don’t work the same way. Does this make the photoshopped image more or less true to the performance? For me it depends on the story I’m wanting to tell.