What is “Pure” Photography?

Summary – “Pure” photography – was the theme of the recent major Nikon ad campaign. What does pure photography mean? Many things to many people. To some it’s the equipment & processes used – view cameras & wet darkrooms for example. To others, it’s film, not digital. For me, it’s the look of the final image regardless of time frame, equipment, or type of “development”. It’s a realistic image – one that looks like what I might see with my “eyeballs” in real life.


Why this post?

This is the opening of my search for

A Nik Collection “just-in-case” fall-back

It’s a description of what’s important to me

When it comes to post-processing images

It starts with describing what I expect my images to look like

I want traditional photos (per my own definition)

Not vintage, not Instagram, not faux-paintings, not….

This description of “my pure photo” leads to

Defining my post-processing software requirements

Non-traditional images are fine – I often make them for fun

But, for me, “fun-fauxto” software  is secondary

Not an essential element of my Nik-replacement suite

 (obviously YMMV)


What I want in a photo

First and foremost – a good (perfect?) straight photo

If you’ve tried or watched competitive photography, you know

The rules for “straight” photography aren’t clear-cut

(An aside) A suggestion for clubs –

Instead endless words about

What you can & can’t do in the digital darkroom

Make your rules simply state

Images must appear realistic

(regardless of the processing)

If it looks like something you might actually see

Then it’s a “straight” photo – PERIOD

The definition should rely totally on the end – not the means

Besides – if the photo appears realistic

How could you prove otherwise re. post-processing

(short of examining the “negative” – raw file)

Back to the regular show –

My priority when making images is to

Make the best “realistic” image that I can

I am, always have been, always will be

Competitive & perfection driven

Now – the competition is with myself

It starts in the camera (get it right in the camera) and

Then the software

Finishes the job when & where needed


What does this say about my post-processing priorities?

  1. Efficient workflow – at age 76 time is precious 😉
  2. Quick & simple local adjustments (in addition to global)
  3. Tone & color contrast adjustments are paramount
  4. B&W conversion is required
  5. Noise reduction is a plus, but I have other options

But what about? –

  1. Raw conversion
  2. Image file organization & management
  3. HDR
  4. Sharpening
  5. Printing

I have those covered by other programs (keyed to above) –

  1. Lightroom & Nikon Capture NX2
  2. IMatch & Downloader Pro
  3. Photomatix
  4. Qimage – the best print program on the planet 😉
  5. Qimage


To be continued….


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4 thoughts on “What is “Pure” Photography?

    • Thanks for the lead.

      For our blog’s readers unfamiliar with darktable – darktable is an open source photography workflow application and RAW developer.

      darktable runs on GNU/Linux / GNOME, Mac OS X / macports and Solaris 11 / GNOME. May be of interest to readers who aren’t using Windows. More info here. http://www.darktable.org/

  1. But do we always Ned something ‘better’? I’m still on PS3 and satisfied. Is my NIK collection really ‘less’ or is it enough? I don’t know.

    • John, I’d guess that the vast majority of us – me included – don’t need something better. That’s part of my message over the past several posts on this subject – or at least that’s what I tried to suggest. The post on the craftsmanship paradox pointed out that one could use the latest & greatest software – or almost none at at – without adversely affecting their ability to make extra-ordinary images (as long as they know how to get the images as right as possible in the camera). The keys are camera skills, composition, creativity & communication – not PS, not Nik, not….

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