French sculptor Paul-Albert Bartholomé (1848-1928) on the (then) current mania for “artistic” manipulation in photography:
I am irritated by most of the photographs in which the authors have intervened to create works that are no longer photographs and are not drawings. They suggest to me only imperfect imitations of etchings or reproductions of paintings. . . . I do not mean to say that one cannot produce fine works with photography, but one should stick to composition, to selection, to the variety of lightings, to his own preferences in arrangement, and I assure you, that if he lets it go at that, then gradually the machine and the light will give him results entirely personal. Think, compose, prepare your subject in all possible ways, use feeling, then open the objective [lens] and put your hands in your pockets, or else have someone put handcuffs on you.Found in Steichen, the Master Prints 1895-1914. Quoted by George Benson, in “Pictorial Photography: A Series of Interviews,” Camera Work (New York), no 24 (October 1908).