A photographer named Lilia Alvarado recently shared a photo she was proud about on Instagram and received some negative backlash. The commenters were complaining that the images were too digitally altered and were doubting whether her images can still be called photographs. This got the photographer questioning if people understand the concept of photography and why are they so against image manipulation.
The photographer became passionate about photography after the birth of her daughters and says they are her inspiration. “Through photography, I strive to enter the world of my two children, to grasp all the childhood whimsies and to recreate these magical moments that we all look back on and smile,” says Lilia. “This means using whatever photographic tools will get me closest to that vision. Photoshop is just one of those tools.”
Lilia says image manipulation has always been a part of photography. The 19th-century photographers liked to call it “removing imperfections” from the shot, and they did it by painting directly onto the glass-plate negatives. Sometimes, an entire person would be “painted out”,” says the photographer. She says that image manipulation helps the photographer illustrate their story better. “Most photos are certainly not simply neutral, un-manipulated snatches of the real world. They are rather a real-world story told in a beautiful way,” says Lilia.
The photographer says that the heavy use of Photoshop may be worrying in the area of photojournalism, but doesn’t consider herself a documentary photographer. She says her work is a little like making a still movie. “Image manipulation has always been a part of filmmaking too, but nobody ever suggested that a movie using a blue – screen or CGI is not a movie,” suggests Lilia. She says she uses whatever photographic tools needed to get her closer to her vision.
“In simple terms, I make images using a box with a hole that lets light in – so they can definitely be considered “photo-graphs”. The fact that I edit these images afterward using software doesn’t change this. In any case, it’s not fundamentally different from what people were doing in the darkroom over a century ago,” says the photographer.
See Lilia’s original and altered photos in the gallery below and decide for yourself!
#1 Happiness Is…
#2 Spring Breeze
#4 Happiness Is… A Warm Puppy
#5 Breathe In The Ocean
#6 Spring Is Here
#7 Boy And A Gir
#8 Can You Keep A Secret?
#9 What Does The Tide Bring
#10 Sister’s Kiss