It goes without saying that the digital age has had a profound impact on almost every facet of our daily lives. The world of photography has certainly benefited from the technology and ease with which images can now be captured, stored, displayed, and reproduced. However, one of the negative aspects of this accessibility is the lack of proper respect for the art itself. The nature and ease of digitally captured images has given the end user that ability to manipulate photographic works of art to suit their own needs or desires despite, and sometimes in spite of the artists/photographers original vision.
All of my works of photographic art are edited, cropped, and named in a specific and intentional manner of my choosing. However, I have seen several disconcerting examples where people have changed the name of some of my works to something else, resized the photos to such an extent that it looks terrible, cropped my images without permission and usually to the detriment of the image itself, and in a few rare examples, convert a colour image to black & white or vice versa.
Making these kinds of changes is incredibly disrespectful to the photographers that labour to produce the images. Would you buy a painting from a local artist, then right in front of him/her take out a paint brush and slap on a few strokes of your own? I should hope not. My guess is that most people probably never considered any of this when they did their own little modifications. But needless to say I take offence to this practice. Not only is it disrespectful to me and to the art, but if these modified versions are displayed publicly, (and they often are via sites like Facebook) they are now a representation of my abilities as a photographer. I have yet to see a single example where these changes have improved one of my photographs, on the contrary, in all cases they have done just the opposite. So in addition to disrespecting the work, these "modified" versions of my photos are now a misrepresentation of me as an artist.
Unless someone comes out with a digital photo format that cannot be tampered with, this is something that photographers will have to contend with. So I present my comments as a moment of clarity to the uneducated masses.
Maybe I should start shooting Daguerreotypes instead.