Is Photography Real Anymore?

When we look at something or a scene, our eyes interpret and tell the brain what we are seeing is real…or is it? When it comes to photography, has the advancement of technology over the years done something to possibly alter this perception?
Let’s be honest, it’s next to impossible to determine the authenticity of a photograph in terms of whether or not it is a composite of multiple images. With the level of skill some people possess in Photoshop, it’s incredibly difficult to establish what’s genuine and what’s not.
How far can a photographer take an image and alter it before it is no longer considered a photograph in the true sense of the word? What is acceptable? Is there such a thing as taking a photograph past a certain point in terms of editing before it is no longer a true photograph? Who, if anyone is the person to determine such a thing?
I know there are photography contests or competitions that will not accept images that have been manipulated or composited but what is considered taking it past the point of a “true” photograph? Is using filters, pre-sets and textures in Lightroom or Photoshop or even dodging and burning in these editing software programs considered acceptable?
Think back to the photography of the great Ansel Adams, he used the dodge and burn method in the darkroom when he was shooting, as did many great photographers that came after him. Hell, even when I first started out in photography, I was shooting film and used the dodge and burn method when developing my photographs in the darkroom.
Surely these methods of editing cannot be considered altering an image to an unacceptable form of photography but everyone has their opinion as to what they consider a photograph. Each photographer is undoubtedly going to interpret a scene differently than the next. Just because mine may be completely different from yours doesn’t make it any less of a “photograph” than yours.


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