Confessions Of A (non) Photoshopaholic

22 01 2009



“Is that Deep Purple I hear?”                             (Algonquin Park, Ontario)


I am a big fan of Photoshop…otherwise there would be no photographic evidence that I accompanied Eva Mendes to the Oscars or that Daniel Craig and I have the same abs, but when it comes to travel photography I steer away from the magic paintbrush and like to keep it real.


I believe that the value of travel photography lies in its ability to transport the viewer to the place at which the photo was taken. When the astronauts first ventured into space, painstaking efforts were made to accurately capture the magnificent views they had and share them with earthbound colleagues. NASA used the best camera equipment then available and provided the astronauts with in-depth training. Professionals were employed to instruct them on shutter speeds, f-stops and everything they would need to photograph the surface of the moon in diffused light or the brightness of an earthrise. It was extremely important that the brilliant colours of the earth in the void of space or the many muted hues of the lunar surface be properly reproduced upon their return. Only 24 people have been to the moon and none since 1972, so the rest of us have had to settle for the photographic and cinematographic images they brought back.


Photoshop is a fantastic tool whose creation ranks alongside graphite pencils and acrylics, but I personally believe that there’s a time and place for its use. While I would never dispute the artistic value of this and other digital processes because the leaders in the field have proven that their work truly is art, I personally do not Photoshop my travel photographs beyond minor corrections and adjustments that can be made in a conventional darkroom. This is purely personal preference and absolutely no criticism of those who choose a different approach.


I love travel photography and derive almost as much pleasure from later reviewing my pictures as I do in actually taking them. I most treasure the photos that best capture those magical times and places and I derive my greatest pleasure in sharing them with people who then proclaim a desire to follow in my footsteps. If my photos encourage even one person to explore this magnificent planet of ours, I’m a happy boy. But just like the NASA astronauts, unless I am aiming for art rather than reportage, I want my travel photos to be more Canaletto than JMW Turner.



Photos and post by: Simon Vaughan