Popular YouTube filmmaker and VFX artist Freddie Wong released this video a couple of days ago that has a lot of people talking. It’s titled “Why CG Sucks (Except It Doesn’t).” Over the course of 7.5 minutes, Wong argues that computer generated visual effects often get a bad rap because it’s the bad CG that everyone notices — by definition, good CG is largely invisible to audiences.
It seems that much of what he says and shows can be applied to photography and Photoshop retouching/manipulation as well (for certain areas of photography, at least… not photojournalism). Here are some quotes from the video that we changed to be about photography rather than filmmaking, and Photoshop rather than CG:
“I think the reason we think Photoshopping looks bad is because we only see bad Photoshopping. Amazing, wonderfully executed Photoshopping is everywhere, you just don’t know it. When done well and paired with solid storytelling, you will rarely notice that what you’re looking at was churned out by some dirty, soulless computer…”
“Great Photoshopping serves story and character, and in doing so is, by its very definition, invisible.”
“So maybe the reason people seem to think Photoshopping is ruining photography isn’t a problem with the Photoshopping. Maybe it’s just a problem with the photos themselves. Because ‘Photoshopping’ has, from the beginning of photography, always been a part of this art form.
And Photoshopping, just like any innovation in photography, is simply a tool on the photographer’s tool belt to tell a story. But when the end result is bad, maybe it’s really not the tool’s fault — maybe it’s on the photographer to use the tool wisely.”
What do you think? Do Wong’s arguments hold for photography as well?