With the rise of VSCO, I've wondered to myself how I feel about using it. Rather, if I think I'd be okay with using it or not. Where do you stand on weather or not it's "cheating"? I'd like to hear your opinion.
Hey there- thanks for the message. I think what you’re asking is whether or not I think it’s cheating to use VSCO to make film-like images without actually shooting film. I don’t have a straight answer for you, but here are my thoughts:
You should know that my first real experiments with photography were with large format and eventually 35mm. When I later began shooting and processing digitally, I never thought about whether my images should look “film” or “digital,” I just edited the work as I wanted to see it. I thought I had a better chance of discovering something new that way.
I’ve tried VSCO so I’m familiar with how much of the digital feel it can alleviate from an image, but I’ve been editing on my own in Adobe Camera Raw for a couple of years now and that’s the way I like it. I need control. Typically, I create one or two presets for each project, series, or lighting condition I’m working with from scratch. Each time I process a set, I learn something new about the way my eyes and camera perceive color and light and I improve my technique. I deeply enjoy that benefit of my process.
To me, any preset is valuable and relevant for two reasons only: consistency and time. Getting one image to a similar place as another in the series faster and more accurately than you would starting from scratch. That’s it. My end goal is never filmy looking digital images, I just aim for an edit I think the image should have, or something I want to experiment with.
If you’re looking to replicate a specific film look in your work, my guess is that you’re going to get bored and uninspired with the “digital plus VSCO” process because it’ll never be the real thing and you should just shoot film. I could be wrong about that- but more importantly- to me compelling work is compelling work any way it’s made. Whether VSCO is cheating or not, I think the important thing is to find a process you can make your own and stand behind.
All that being said, the VSCO app for iPhone is amazing and if you don’t have it you should get it because who cares.
The digital social space has allowed for interactions in all our daily lives that make us feel important. All of our opinions must matter. I myself, while purposely self-aware in this context, am doing it right now. I thrive from constructive debates, theory and critiques. There is a constant…
People: surround your online self with content that makes you happy in some way and just do not absorb the rest. Then move on with your life. In real life.
American Photo Magazine interviewed me in June about my work for their “One to Watch” column. The article was published in their September/October issue and is now online. Check it out if you have a chance. Thanks!