The Photographers Manifesto

I talk a lot about photography, write about it and teach it. Therefore, I often find myself answering the same questions, saying the same things and explaining the same beliefs. So, I decided to compile a manifesto based on those beliefs and conversations. Please share it, use it and print it out if you find it of use.

Grant Scott is the founder/curator of United Nations of Photography, a Senior Lecturer and Subject Co-ordinator: Photography at Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, a working photographer, and the author of Professional Photography: The New Global Landscape Explained (Routledge 2014), The Essential Student Guide to Professional Photography (Routledge 2015), New Ways of Seeing: The Democratic Language of Photography (Routledge 2019).

His book What Does Photography Mean to You? including 89 photographers who have contributed to the A Photographic Life podcast is on sale now £9.99

© Grant Scott 2021


  1. Hello Grant,

    I never miss your podcast; it remains one of the best presentations on photography out there. Thank you.

    This ‘Photographers Manifesto’ above describes Grant Scott’s beliefs, of course and I thank you for stimulating critical thought and conversation on the topic. After hearing that “all hell broke loose once again” I came to read about readers’ comments on point 5 and now realise that I must to head to facebook for them. I won’t be doing that.

    The trouble with No.5 is that it’s nonsense. It’s as meaningful as saying, radio is not music.

    In your podcast, you describe ‘Photoshop’ as “that software app”

    I won’t be characterised as a Photoshop Warrior as I don’t subscribe to Adobe Photoshop. The Darkroom is reproduction process, you say. Well, having seen dark room printing first hand many times, I must assume you meant to say ‘production process’. Photoshop is ‘pure manipulation, you say. That’s insightful but not meaningful as the printing processes used by darkroom masters has frequently used manipulation precisely by the waving of the hand for selective burning.

    If the word ‘photoshop’ to you means to “fulfil any set agenda set by technicians or people who are obsessed with the idea of post production perfection” then I think your use of the word ‘obsessed’ is as a hyperbole.. and in any case, what is wrong with seeking perfection, I wonder. I’d like to know, for example, when Jeanlouppe (as you pronounce it) Sieff’s prints of Elle arrived from Paris, would they not have been manipulated (manus meaning hand) in any way?

    So, here lies the problem with No.5 of the Photographers (sic) Manifesto. Your use of the word ‘Photoshop’ is ambiguous, vague and, dare I say, short-sighted to your readers.

    For those purist users of cameras like yours who use jpegs, I’d be interested in their understanding of what the jpeg is, esp if the camera’s setting specifies the making of the jpeg in camera: contrast, brightness etc etc. Could this be the fulfilment of an imbedded set agenda by technicians or people who are obsessed with the idea of post production perfection? Isn’t the making of a jpeg essentially a post production on a raw file captured in camera? So, why would that be acceptable to you if photoshopping – loosely defined – is to be scorned?

    Once again, I thank you for a stimulating program and wonderful website,


    1. Dear Eddy, thank you for you positive feedback and response to No. 5 in my manifesto. I am afraid that you may have missed the point I am making or misunderstood my intent in making the statement. I will respond to your comments in a future episode. Best wishes Grant

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