On the subject of over-processing and over-retouching.

Wheelchair Collage copyright 2012 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

Selections from The Broken Leg Variations artist’s book by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Article Dedication

In honor of

Tom Howard & Murray Becker


When it comes to over-processing and over-retouching…it is all in the eye off the beholder. What is over-processed for one person is under-processed for another – you can never argue taste when it comes to art.


With my infrared flash photography, it is all heavily processed. Digital BW IR does not look that good without processing – at least for my type of shooting.

NYE Piercing Darkness Infrared Flash 2015 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mrPiercing Darkness Infrared Flash 2 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr - C

Sometimes people ask on the forums about the legitimacy of Photoshop creations. Artistic photography and heavy retouching has a long history going back to the Pictorialism movement.

If a cam is used in the making…it is photography of some sort. That definition can be stretched as well – photograms are considered photography even with no cams used.

I don’t do composites. I’m not that creative, nor do I know how to use Photoshop. Not being a Photoshoper does not matter to me. I’m an old film photog and I can use Lightroom good enough to replicate what I did in the wet darkroom and that is all I need.

Whimsical Composition copyright 2015 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr v42

Leica Monochrom file processed for film simulation.

Sunlit Slipper Silver Print vs Inkjet Print Copyright 2013 Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

A vintage wet print on Agfa Brovira versus a digital scan processed with Lightroom and printed with an Epson 3880 Inkjet printer on Hahnemuhle Ultra Smooth Matte paper.

If I did know how to use Photoshop and had some artistic talent I would probably do some composites here and there. In any case, there are no photo police to make the rules. If you have a paying client or enter a contest, then there may be rules. But if you do your art for yourself – then yourself is all you have to please. If you like creating on Photoshop, create all you want.


When the subject turns to documentary photography, composites, just like computer generated movies, should not passed off as the real McCoy. Same with mixed media when one starts painting and drawing on the photo or neg and the document gets materially changed.

As a documentary photographer I try to keep my finished product somewhat true to the original, but sometimes I add a little ‘art’ to it. Since I am not working for a client,  I do as I please. I draw the line when my changes to a photograph would make a material change to its truthfulness.

We have tools as photographers that we can use to call attention to our image.  We all use some of these tools to one degree or another….high or low contrast, HDR, grain, color whether muted, bold or selective, BW, sharpness, diffusion, composition, bokeh, lighting, etc.  It is just some of us are more extreme in the attention seeking than others…

Homage to Weegee 2012 copyright 2012 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Hakenkreuz in a Dress copyright 1973 Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Moondog Wheeling WV 2014 Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

7 Dam Square no. 2 Copyright 2014 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA 64 Barbara LeMay Copyright 1974 Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

Yes…I can do ‘plain Jane’ work too….

Two Blind Beggars copyright 1972 Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr

9 De Wallen Artists'  Book Copyright Daniel D. Teoli Jr. mr.




Circus Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Archival Collection

Daniel D. Teoli Jr. Archival Collection

Selection from ‘Circus’ artist’s book by Daniel D. Teoli Jr.

De Wallen Graffiti 2014 Daniel D. Teoli Jr.