Photography is such a hot bed of debate. Yup - it is. Have a look at almost any image posted on social media and you will find sparring in the comments below it.
Often the debate centres around what is “good" and what is “real.”
We all know that "good" is subjective - right? Strangely when it comes to photographic images there are some who feel "good" equals "real" which makes "good" no longer subjective. Many stand firm that no matter how beautiful the composition, how pleasing the colours or beautiful the lines, a photograph which has been been manipulated in any way no longer qualifies as “good."
I suspect this is due to the historical emergence of photographic images as not an art form but as a method of recording. The idea that the "camera doesn't lie” became firmly ingrained, though it has never been true. The camera has always been merely a tool to produce images. All images are manipulated by the photographer if in no other way than at the simplest level of what is included or omitted from the frame. Photographic images have always had the ability to span the spectrum from lightly altered (what some might call “documentary or journalistic”) all the way to highly stylized photographic art.
In my experience, the closer a photographic image moves towards the centre of the spectrum where the line is blurred between documentary and art the more uncomfortable people become. I like to make images (notice I make the distinction between making images and taking photographs) that fit squarely in that space. I find them beautiful. And bringing the world to life beautifully is really my goal with my art.