Laura Macky Photography

Journey of a body on this earth

It’s the Vision not the Process (2 images)


Seems like these days I’m having more and more discussion about what “photography” is.  To me, photography is having a vision and making it come to life through our cameras.  “But when does photography end and art start?  Is there a difference?”  In my opinion, as long as photographers use a camera to take the initial picture, it doesn’t really matter what happens to it after that because it’s all art to me.  I don’t care if the photo has been processed in multiple filters or none at all.   I try to appreciate the vision and not the process.

Now, if you’re talking about entering photos in competitions, I do agree that there should be categories because it’s really difficult to compare a straight out of the camera photo with a photo that has been heavily processed.  They are different techniques.  It would be much like pitting Monet against M.C. Escher.  It’s apples and oranges.

What do you think?

So with that said, I leave you two iPhone photos that I edited in iPhone apps.  If you care to check out more of my iPhone photography, please click on the Instagram link on the sidebar.  Thank you and have a great beginning of the week!

Author: lauramacky

Journey of a Body on this Earth

59 thoughts on “It’s the Vision not the Process (2 images)

  1. The ‘purists’ get irritated by processing. Those with more vision process.

  2. I take issue with these so called ‘painting’ apps. They are very mechanical looking to me. Are you wishing you were a painter? : )

  3. Laura, you are right. It’s the vision or the outcome that is important, not the process. This came home to me in an interesting way. I had entered a rather painterly image in my photography club’s monthly competition. The judge, a pro, awarded me honorable mention along with another individual. That meant that four images were judged as good or better than mine. But at the end of the meeting the judge bought my image for $50. A nice comparison of merit as a photograph and personal preference on the part of the judge.

    • What a story. Thank you Barry. It’s quintessential! I’d like to add to this that I don’t like straight up photography in my home no matter how awesome the image is. I have none of mine up in my house. I will be printing some of the painterly ones I’ve been doing recently and hanging them though. I think there’s something to this.

  4. It’s hard to have a vision for me… I love these two photos, Laura. 🙂

    • I’m wondering what that means Amy. Is it that you don’t see something before you take the picture or is it that you can’t figure out how to carry it out in Photoshop? Thank you so much for liking these images. iPhones and apps are fun sometimes. 🙂

  5. that’s what I’m all about too but I know many take exception- however, it’s all part of digital art now, take your vision and run with it!!

  6. The singer not the song eh? This ongoing issue is warped from any perspective…Photography is not reality…we include and exclude details, pick our point of sharp focus and make a three dimensional world into a two dimensional world. I come from a film background and have made “manipulation” decisions all the time…B&W or color film, what exact film to use, what developer, what paper to print on, how to crop, filter or no…the list of manipulations is endless even in an analogue world. If you are a purist, stick your head out the window…otherwise it’s not happening.

  7. Photos can be left unprocessed, slightly processed, or heavily processed. All can have (and express) unique beauty. I used to collect and make true 3D holograms. Even with those, one can do very amazing things via processing. For instance, one hologram, entitled “Magic Box,” is a box with clear sides (in as a 3D picture). The box in the image appears to be a framed box that is hollow on the inside. A corner of the box appears to extend out into the room that the viewer is in. When one tilts one’s head to one side or the other (or up to the top of the box)… different solid shapes appear within the box, depending on what side of the box you are looking in. It’s difficult to explain, but the effect is truly amazing! This type of hologram was heavily processed… but is extraordinary. This kind of thing can’t be shared on regular computer screens however.
    I do like processing some of my 2D nature photos; Laura, it was one of your processed photos, a long time ago, that inspired me to do that kind of thing. One need not insist on processing, or despise it. There are many avenues to beauty and art! The greatest art is probably to transcend conditioning and be what true order is. 🙂

  8. Hi Laura! I love your work and vision. One thing that bothers me is to hear people use Ansel Adams to justify their purist philosophy. I’m not so sure he would be out there criticizing those of us who enjoy using computer technology to enhance our images. I used the Zone System in the past and, in its day it was the most brilliant manipulation of film capacity that had ever been invented. Then, the computer came along and changed everything. I totally support people who want to be puristic and I will always love Adams of course. But how about a little respect for people’s diverse styles.

  9. Such an interesting take on photography. I haven’t been experimenting with taking photos for long, so I really am still trying to get a grasp of what it means. I like how you say it, “I try to appreciate the vision and not the process”. Behind the vision, there is always a story, or a few stories. There are a multitude of ways we can see a scene, create a scene and make a photo 🙂

  10. Well put Laura, a vision it is. If Photoshop had been around I’m sure Ansel Adams would have used it.

    • Thank you for the link. I think everyone should read this who poo poo’s Photoshop. I never took pictures when there was a darkroom. I wish I could’ve seen the process in person. Especially Ansel Adams!!

  11. Oh, this takes me back. Way back to University, back to when I studied Art History and the question ‘What is art?’ came back every other month. I have learned, there is no answer, that will satisfy everyone. There is no ‘right’ art, there will be no overall consensus. What is interesting: there is no right or wrong EVER. The human brain has a very complex process of perception. The result is that we perceive about 0,003% of what is actually there. That is what I love about photography: we share our very own 0,003% of what is really there, put it out there for others to see. Did you ever think about it? Can there ever be two pictures that are exactly alike by different photographers? Even given they had the same subject at the same time and in the same circumstances? Our 0,003 % of perception – or vision – makes the picture. I wish we could just look upon each others works and marvel at how differently we see the world. Then we would use art to connect instead of discussion wether it is the right or wrong process…

  12. Laura,
    Do you like them? – if so……. nuff said. 🙂


    Ps. they are a great way of imaginatively presenting what could easily have been a cliché.

  13. Hey! I’m not a photographer (although I wish I was) so I can’t comment on your post really but I just wanted to say I really love those photos, they are so amazing! And the kind of pictures I aspire to be able to take. Have a good day! 🙂

  14. Pingback: Liebster Award Nomination! | Rachel Melvin Photography

  15. I label my work as either digital art or photographs. That way no one should be fooled or offended. For photos I try not to go over the top with processing. When I create digital art I use a combination of effects and techniques in layers. I started as a painter so I love digital art. Yours turned out very nicely.

    • Thank you for sharing your thoughts Sherry. Sherry sharing..hmmm lol! Everyone has their way of categorizing things. The more I get into crossing the line, the more I become aware of these nuanced ways of labels. I appreciate it, thank you!

  16. It’s all art, the art of using what you’ve got to create something. 🙂 Lovely Instagram shots Laura!

  17. It is two different kind of art, just like you say Laura. They can be beautiful in each their way 🙂

  18. That right image.. so amazing Laura 🙂

    And concerning the discussion. Taking an image is already editing reality. You take a small piece of the whole and present it as something with an intrinsic reality. So in the basis you are manipulating reality. But of course there is a difference between taking a photograph and use it like the camera took it and images which are processed, edited, photoshopped etc. To me it’s up to the viewer to decide what suits them. To say that one thing is art and the other isn’t.. who decides that anyway?

    If i really do a lot of post-processing, i’ll mention it with an image. I love to process a photo every now and then and really go to the extreme. And i also love to take a photo which i don’t have to edit at all. Both require the vision and the initial art of taking a good photograph.

    The only concern i have is that one should be able to tell a real photograph from an entirely photoshopped image. Nowadays the techniques are available and a lot of people are so good with photoshop that i can’t tell whether an image is an original – and perhaps a bit enhanced – photograph or a digital creation. Both are good, but we shouldn’t lose and swap reality for virtual fantasies imho 🙂

    • I really appreciate your thoughts on this Pieter. And I completely agree! Usually when I DON’T process a lot, I’ll mention it. Like I’ll say I only used a little bit of LR or something like that. I live in the world of post processing mostly but like you said it’s the initial art of taking a good photograph that results in something nice to appreciate. Without the right balance of light, etc., it’s hard to get a decent photo. And I’ve had a lot of those! lol Hope you have a great day and again thank you for your thoughts!

  19. I think that photography is art, and as such the initial image is usually only a starting point. It is rare to find an image that hasn’t had some post-processing done (no matter how small), so really what we see is the artists vision, not “reality”.

    • That’s so true what you said about seeing the artists vision and not reality. Really isn’t that what we humans experience every day…existing in our own perception of reality? Thank you for such a thought-provoking comment. 🙂

  20. These are beautiful images.

    I have noticed in recent times a greater tolerance to and even an expectation of heavily edited photos. Difficult to separate the categories when there are no clear lines between. Perhaps what matters most is the art in the end product. To many eyes a true photo is now too bland. Even TV documentaries are very heavily saturated.

    • It is true how the styles change over the years. Right now there are a lot of heavily saturated images. I always try to put my own twist on things in hopes that the end result will be something different. “Regular” photos kind of seem bland to me too although I still appreciate them. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Helene. 🙂

  21. Oh my gosh, Monet was a god! 😉

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