What's your opinion on editing photos?

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by bretaincrab, Apr 21, 2020.

  1. Don't look...feel.
     
  2. I did that once and she hit me on the back of my head with a purse.
     
    samstevens likes this.
  3. You need to work on your technique, Larry;)

    Sam will give you a few tips if you ask him nicely.
     
  4. NY Times editorial ethics regarding photojournalism: Ethical Journalism
    Photography and Images
    Images in our pages, in the paper or on the Web, that purport to depict reality must be genuine in every way. No people or objects may be added, rearranged, reversed, distorted or removed from a scene (except for the recognized practice of cropping to omit extraneous outer portions). Adjustments of color or gray scale should be limited to those minimally necessary for clear and accurate reproduction, analogous to the “burning” and “dodging” that formerly took place in darkroom processing of images. Pictures of news situations must not be posed.

    In some sections, and in magazines, where a photograph is used to serve the same purposes as a commissioned drawing or painting — as an illustration of an idea or situation or as a demonstration of how a device works, etc. — it must always be clearly labeled as a photo illustration. This does not apply to portraits or still-lifes (photos of food, shoes, etc.), but it does apply to other kinds of shots in which we have artificially arranged people or things, as well as to collages, montages, and photographs that have been digitally altered.

    A credit line beginning with “photo illustration” is obligatory in all such cases. Occasionally, an explanatory caption may be advisable.

    Altered or contrived photographs are a device that should not be overused. Taking photographs of unidentified real people as illustrations of a generic type or a generic situation (like using an editor or another model in a dejected pose to represent executives being laid off) usually turns out to be a bad idea.

    If you have any question about the appropriateness of an alteration or are not sure how best to make clear to the reader that the image has been manipulated or the scene contrived, consult with the director of photography, the standards editor, the design director, or the News Desk (but before an actual post or the final proof of a printed page, to avoid last-minute disagreements and unsatisfactory improvised solutions).
     
  5. Interesting to see their guidelines spelled out. The general idea is standard for photojournalism. However, it doesn't apply to much of what many of us do, which they would consider illustrations rather than journalism.

    It's interesting to separate two things in their description: alterations such as removing objects, and modifications of tonality and the like. It's clear why a reputable news outlet can't allow the former. However, I find two things problematic in their treatment of the latter. One is this:

    First, this may create a misimpression. For photography other than photojournalism, that characterization is simply wrong. Photographers used dodging and burning in wet darkrooms to change the aesthetics of an image as well--often deliberately making it less realistic. The iconic example is Adams' Moonrise, Hernandez New Mexico. It makes sense that the Times would limit this for photojournalism, but it's not the case that these techniques were only used for that. They should have written something like "that were formally used in darkroom processing of images used in photojournalism."

    Second, there is no base image in digital photography that is comparable to a negative developed with the standard technique for that film. Even opening the image in a different raw processor, or opening it in the same raw processor with a different profile, can make an image look quite different.Likewise, if you shoot JPEG (as I assume many photojournalists do), you can make a capture look quite different by selecting the "picture style" (that's Canon's term), that is, the processing recipe that the camera will use to render the raw image.
     
  6. The quote was meant for photojournalism. I'm sure we all understand that for non-photojournalism photos people process for effect or any other reason they have, and at least don't need to be concerned with accuracy. As to the second point, I think its just splitting hairs. Sure, each editing program bends the curves a little differently, but not so much as to alter the basic photograph, and in fact there is a digital negative, its the raw file. Yes, I know, the raw file is useless until interpolated by the editing program, but it still exists and carries all the information possible in the photo. The process is not going to turn a car into a tree or turn green to purple.
     
    samstevens likes this.
  7. I agree.

    When these sorts of discussions come up, I often opt for realizing that a lot about manipulation of a photo is a matter of degree, not a matter of it either it is or is not manipulated. There are those who will say that simply adopting a perspective from which to shoot is manipulative. Yet, I can often tell whether that perspective seems to be more or less objective, and that's the call that's important. It's not whether a photojournalist can adopt no perspective at all ... that's, of course, impossible. It's how relatively objective she or he can be. And just because a photojournalist can't be totally or purely objective doesn't mean there can't be objectivity in photojournalism
     
  8. It should be obvious that there is no such thing as an "objective" photograph, but no one would argue that a photograph should never be allowed as evidence in court, and I think it should be up to the court to decide if the photo is evidence or not (which it is, fortunately). It is also obvious that, in many situations, the level of "objectivity" in a photograph is completely irrelevant. Some good pictures are completely surreal, and that's what makes them interesting. Unless one is a police photographer, or doing "science", or trying to prove something to someone, I say edit away to your heart's content because the question is moot. I may not like what results, but no photographer should care.
     
    movingfinger and sjmurray like this.
  9. Photograph.
    Corrupted Photograph.
    Art.
     
  10. I have no idea...I don't know why I press the shutter when I do, or a millisecond earlier or later is somehow "wrong". I've been doing photogaphy for 50 years, and I still don't know. Back when I shot film, I didn't know why the contact sheet spoke to me in split seconds...no, no, no, yes. The image in my head was NEVER what I got on film...NEVER! It got closer in prints, but never what my head told me was "right". Photoshop is the new darkroom...but still the image in my head is different than the camera provides...and it doesn't matter what I photograph, it's never "right". Perhaps that's why I persist...the more I do it, the closer I get to what is, (and always has been) in my head.
     

Share This Page