Street Photographer's Editing and Vision

Why do I edit?

Editing or post processing, to me, helps you to bring out your vision out of your photograph. It helps you tell what you saw to your audience. Now, there are photographers out there that do only minor editing because the image itself is very straightforward or undoubtedly has a very strong context and the photographer's vision is easily revealed. Truth is, I've only seen a few good images from really good artists that have gone through minimal editing. And most of the best street photographs I've seen underwent either darkroom or Lightroom editing.  Why? going back to my 1st statement, It brings out your vision better.

 This notes scribbled on the test print by the Magnum Master darkroom printer, Pablo Inirio. Check this  article  out for more images.

This notes scribbled on the test print by the Magnum Master darkroom printer, Pablo Inirio. Check this article out for more images.

Editing and Street photography

There is a line on how far a street photographer should edit their photos. Reportage, documentary or journalism may look closer to reality when it comes to its color, exposure, and emotion. This is because they are reporting or recording factual events. With street photography, on the other hand, I feel like there is a certain truth with the image but at the same time, there is the photographer's vision infused in the image. It's like those hyper-realistic paintings. You know it looks real but there's something about it that's obscuring it from reality. 

Notice the Before and After images above.

This is what I’ve realized between the differences of street photography and documentary/ journalism/ reportage types of photographs. While documentary photographers make sure the TRUTH is imprinted on their photographs, street photographers make sure his or her vision is visible in his photographs. 

With everything said and done, let me just remind everyone that as street photographers that we have a responsibility when we are claiming our work as street photographs. There are limitations we have to respect such as not adding or subtracting anything from the image which will result in a totally different context and image.

And to end this journal with a quote by Eward Steichen, Camera Work 1, 1903

“It is rather amusing, this tendency of the wise to regard a print which has been locally manipulated as irrational photography – this tendency which finds an esthetic tone of expression in the word faked. A MANIPULATED print may be not a photograph. The personal intervention between the action of the light and the print itself may be a blemish on the purity of photography. But, whether this intervention consists merely of marking, shading and tinting in a direct print, or of stippling, painting and scratching on the negative, or of using glycerine, brush and mop on a print, faking has set in, and the results must always depend upon the photographer, upon his personality, his technical ability and his feeling. BUT long before this stage of conscious manipulation has been begun, faking has already set in. In the very beginning, when the operator controls and regulates his time of exposure, when in dark-room the developer is mixed for detail, breadth, flatness or contrast, faking has been resorted to. In fact, every photograph is a fake from start to finish, a purely impersonal, unmanipulated photograph being practically impossible. When all is said, it still remains entirely a matter of degree and ability.”