When is a photograph finished? (Battle of Beaver Dam Creek, Richmond, VA)

Here’s a fun debate. Is a picture finished after the shutter closes or is the final imagining an unrestricted rendering? I sometimes choose to go beyond touchups in a picture when I visualize it as something else. For the photograph below, I was inspired by wet plate negatives. Instead of going black and white, I did it in a few color tones. This is the way I saw the picture a year after it had been taken.

What are your thoughts on this topic? Could this picture have elicited the same feeling had I left the original alone?

(Photo taken at the historical site of the battle of Beaver Dam Creek near Richmond, VA…well, Mechanicsville, more accurately).

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