I’ve never liked this question, because there’s no such thing as “real” in photography.
The thing is, digital cameras, and even film, do not see the world the same way that our human eyes do. My eyes don’t have a super telephoto zoom to see clearly far away, or an ultra-wide to things directly next to me without turning my head.
Then there’s the whole colour and dynamic range problem too. Ever notice how sometimes your photos are too blue? Or too green? That’s because of a function called “white balance”, which our eyes naturally do for us, but cameras use 4 different colours to try and recreate that balance, and most of the time we have to adjust that in post-processing after shooting to get it as close to accurate as possible.
But my biggest issue with a “real, unedited photo” is that our eyes can take in a much wider range of light than a camera can. If I stared at a beautiful person with the sunset behind them, I would be able to see both the sunset and the person clearly and they look great. So I go to take a photo, and the sunset looks great, but now the person is all hidden in the dark! So I adjust to get enough light on the person, but now my sky is all pure white and not at all how I saw it with my own eyes! This is where a feature called “HDR” comes in, AKA High-Dynamic Range, to try and imitate the range of light that humans can perceive. HDR has a lot of… side-effects, so to speak, that change how an image looks too.
Ultimately, what’s real in a photograph isn’t what’s natural, unedited, and untouched. What’s real is what the photographer sees; and ultimately, what the photographer chooses to show viewer in the final image.
So long story short, my images are photoshopped. They’re not “real”, but they are the truth. My truth.