I had a client recently request the raw files from a publicity session, because her book is soon to be published, and the publisher requires unretouched images. She obviously compared the image I initially presented her with the raw file, because she commented on how much more she appreciated what I did in my digital darkroom. Here was my response to her:
In the camera, I capture the physical. In the digital darkroom, I capture the spirit. Together, I capture the person. An artist shows what mere medium cannot.
But that's why I hate to have people see their images unretouched, because they mistakenly think that's the 'real' them.
But that’s not true, anymore than a corpse is the 'real' person. If you've ever seen someone who's just passed, you know how NOT true that is. It is our spirit that gives animation and life to our corporeal fluff.
And it’s the artist’s job to capture that that magical combination of body and spirit. We work in two dimensions to capture what exists in three-four-more? dimensions (for in how many dimensions resides the spirit?) It is an unattainable undertaking. Perhaps that’s why artists are often perceived as half-mad. We have to be, to be so driven to attempt the impossible.
But it is in our striving that we create art that lifts the soul and brings hope and healing to the body, which gives people the emotional fortitude to face the challenges of every day.
Artists gift to people the vision of their true selves, and there is no more potent medicine nor more powerful talisman than that.