If you take a shot and use the JPEG straight out of camera. It’s also edited... The camera firmware would have done some edit to make color boost. Especially true with point and shoot cameras.
Even when cameras were still using films, the paper photos that came out are also edited. The edit process was done in the dark room with over/under exposure etc...
Is there merit on edited photos? I think there is. Maybe a photographer first needs to figure what is his/her purpose. But editing is part of the process. You either limit yourself to rendering an image that is as close to what the real thing is or you then become creative and your are generating a new image.
I think people think it’s cheating because they think they are being duped. The photographer might have made it sounds like as if the photo is real (it partly is) but then the viewer realise that the real thing does not look as good. So maybe it’s a task for the photographers to display a disclaimer to let their viewer know what was involved in the editing process? Was the edit intended to just adjust exposures and WB to match reality or was it more involved to create something new?
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