Back in the '50s a discussion amongst most amateur photographers would have mainly concentrated on taking the photograph.
For most of us what we could do once we had the negative was so limited, especially by todays standards, that we had to get the negative right and that was all to do with light and how the film stock reacted to it.
A simple anology in digital is 'whitelight' which if we shoot in RAW can easily be corrected, but if we couldn't then it would have to be corrected before the shot was taken.

The photo above was taken using a Nikon d70 to produce a RAW file.
I was out taking my granddaughter for a walk in a park in Florida at the time and simply pointed the camera and allowed it to take three slightly differently exposed shot. How lazy can you get?

I might have got a good shot, but then pigs only fly in Disney movies.
This was the best of the three and its foreground was just black until photoshop interviened.

The processes of 'developing' the image have changed beyong recognition since the '50s, but it still can't turn a sow's ear into a silk purse.
The hype that comes from reading the magazines with their myriad of techniques for using photoshop, backed up with CDs, might lead us to believe that we can,
But the truth still is that you have to start with a good photograph to end up with a good photograph.

So are we better off?
Undoubtedly!
I can't imagine any of my friends in the '50s turning down todays editing software.
However when I get my monthly fix at the newsagent I wonder.

My latest 'fix' had 7 pages about camera craft and 21 plus a CD on using editing software.
If this reflects the efforts of todays photographers, well, then I wonder.

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