What's your views.

Discussion in 'Street and Documentary' started by mhc, Sep 12, 2012.

  1. What and how much PP is acceptable to you? Also, does HDR treatment figger in street and documentary subject matter?? Its probably been bantered before, but here goes. I'm on the negative side, although I admit that I flirted with HDR until my taste changed.
  2. No HDR and no cloning of objects into or out of the image. White balance, sharpening, contrast and saturation is okay. This opinion is from someone who does very little street photography, but from one who has opinions. I also believe that using software for conversion from color to b&w is okay.
  3. Ya, Shawn thanks, that's how I've been leaning lately but I've seen so many users of PN with good street shots that ruin them in post. Thanks for voicing what I've been thinking.
  4. How much PP is acceptable to me? In my own photos, as little as possible. Mostly just conversion to b&w (I occasionally leave a street photo in color if it works for me), contrast, and sometimes some cropping. I do have a continuing series called "The Street as Graphic Novel" that I occasionally work on. The images for that series are intentionally processed for desaturation, reds are emphasized, and local contrast/clarity is pushed to give a pseudo graphic novel look.
    PP in other people's street photos? -- That's entirely up to them. If they're doing it for themselves and they want to heavily process, or use HDR, fine. If they want their work to be shown or purchased then they will probably need to have an intriguing and consistent style to their PP and ideally have some aesthetic thought and meat behind what they are doing. I have the impression that heavy PP and HDR would not be well received by the general SP community (ie, the practitioners). And that's putting it mildly. But you never know what somebody might come up with.
    I don't think HDR figures at all in a documentary body of work, certainly not in the traditional journalistic sense of "documentary". The processing itself would intrude upon the subject matter of the documentary. Again, though, "rules" are broken all the time to serve some aesthetic end.
  5. I think the end justifies the means. If the photo looks really great in HDR, then it worked out. If you want to clone little pink teddy bears onto a gritty black and white street scene of thugs selling crack on a corner, and you actually pull off some kind of alternate reality fantasy scene, then great....brilliant. OK, that really becomes a "digital alteration" photo but it could work as a street and documentary photo with an open-minded crowd.
    Hey, you know the times, they are a changing. Men can marry men; and women can form very good relationships with their German Sheperds. Rigidity is stifling to art, why should S&D be stuck in the age of rangefinders and tri-x?
    Having said all that, I still use still use film, but I do post process in PS. The more I learn about PS the more features I use to try to get the best results.
  6. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    I'm with E. I do whatever I want to make it look how I want. My only "rule" is that I get a result I like. I was a pretty heavy manipulator in the darkroom too. I'll screw around with the camera too. I slow down the shutter and shake the camera. I shoot through water glasses and plastic. I also set up street shots, more since I learned how many "classic" photos were set up. I didn't do it more because of that, but because I looked at them and figured out what I would do. When I look at a photo, I look at the photo, not the photographer's tools or a description of the technical processes used.
    I have done some composites, but I'm not that good at it so there's only a few I show.
  7. Whatever it takes to satisfy the aesthetic aims of the artist, or the technical needs of the documentarian. (see B. Croce, 1922, Aesthetic as science of expression and general linguistic (revised edition). New York: Macmillan.) This is by no means a new topic. It even, in its own way, occurred before the invention of photography).
  8. Yeah, I agree with the camp that says the final image is what counts. This isn't photo journalism where there are strictures against certain post-processing. I generally strongly do not like HDR, but if someone did it and I liked it, than cool.
  9. I`m going old school and saying if its a digital manipulation, no matter how good, it remains what it is. There`s got to be an essence of simplicity or purity or immediacy for it to be a street shot. If you caught a decisive moment, why the heck would you go and HDR it when it stands in perfection on its own? I think computer processing can compromise nutritional value, like refined and processed food. That`s just my humble opinion sirs. Let`s shoot and not spend so much time bent over a monitor. Been there done that.
  10. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    There`s got to be an essence of simplicity or purity or immediacy for it to be a street shot.​

    Where's the rule book that says that's a requirement?
  11. The Book of Marie? Ok anything goes..but I look at all your photos and I don`t see too much PP unless your really that GOOD.
  12. :) I add and rest my case..maybe.
  13. It's a little strange to bring up a topic for discussion, solicit opinions, and then close it off within a matter of hours. Something seems amiss. Bring up a controversial subject, get a few responses, state and then re-state your opinion, and then suggest that everyone goes back to shooting instead of addressing the topic you, yourself, brought up. ???
    I'm with the camp that says that the processing goes along with the product and, if the two together work out, that's a good thing. If someone wants to worry about what label it gets, they're probably some sort of librarian or something.
  14. Gee and a fond good evening to you Fred. I figgered the subject was now a moot point. I also said ok, if it works use it..in so many words. But I haven`t seen any street shots that are PP or HDR that make me say WOW or convince me they are better than "as shot" with basic enhancement. But if you know of any, please point me to them.
  15. <<<If you caught a decisive moment, why the heck would you go and HDR it when it stands in perfection on its own?>>>
    By the way, Marie. I think this is a good question. Here's my answer, though I've never done an HDR. Let's say, why would you want to post process it more than simply dodging, burning, and sharpening? While the decisive moment has much to recommend it and is certainly a significant part of the history of photography and street shooting, it is NOT the only thing a photographer may strive for, especially a documentary photographer but certainly any street photographer. Consider that narrative could be very important to some photographers. And even if they've captured a good moment (moments, even decisive ones, are rarely perfect!), they may want it to portray and convey a narrative and post processing can often lend a hand there. They may want even an incredible decisive moment to pack a particular kind of emotional/visual punch, and so some post processing can be a tool to achieve that. I sort of use "decisive moment" (often) as a starting point. Capturing one gives me joy but is often not enough for me. I want that moment to translate well into a photographic image and, for that, I may consider all kinds of choices at my disposal. If people want to remain somewhat pure and don't want to post process, I respect that and often get a lot out of their photos. If people want to do a lot of post processing work, I assess their work based on what they come up with, whether they shoot on the street, in the boudoir, or in a conservatory of flowers.
  16. Thanks. I haven't even gotten close to a decisive moment yet, in all honesty but I think I would leave
    well enough alone if I did. I got my answer awhile ago. If its the means to an end use it. It seems to
    be the popular vote. I realize its not all about the decisive moment and there is various styles even
    within the category. I was just questioning how much pp figures in the Pn street shooters work in this
    forum. I also took a trip to look at the responders photos to get an idea . It is helpful.
  17. I am typically not the kind of guy who likes a lot of PP in his photos.
  18. I'll do whatever looks good to me or suits my whim at the moment.
    With b&w film I'd routinely push even in daylight for extra contrast and grain. Tried all kinds of developing tricks, including mixing two or more print developers on film and stand processing to enhance grain without underexposing or pushing. Lots of dodging/burning and other manipulations with optical enlargements.
    I've also used clear sheets of acetate fogged with hair spray to soften one exposure with yellow or magenta filtration, while printing the second or follow up exposures straight. I've used that technique more often with still lifes and landscapes than street or documentary photos, tho'.
    With digital I've used tone mapping and contrast masking - not true HDR since I'm working with only single photos. Combined with layers it's useful for emphasizing natural light falloff rather than applying vignetting in post. Just another twist on equivalent darkroom techniques. This year I seem to be on a kick of going for deliberately murky monochrome conversions. Not sure I'll stick with that effect. Just seems to suit my approach this year, especially doing more "from behind" photos than I used to. I'm mostly looking for interesting body postures in certain settings, not portraits, so the faces are almost a distraction. Still looking for a unifying editing style and haven't settled on one yet.
  19. I don't want to stray too far off topic (not that that has ever stopped us before…), but since the term "decisive moment" keeps coming up, I wanted to make a few observations about it.
    (Insert standard PN caveats "Just my opinion", "no flame wars", etc, here)
    I'm hardly the first person to say this, but I wonder if "decisive moment" as it is frequently interpreted (or misinterpreted) today, is really what Cartier-Bresson intended. (Which begs the question, "Should we care about, or practice, what he intended?") I also think it is outdated as a guiding aesthetic principle for what constitutes a "good" street photograph. I'm not saying that those who have participated in this thread so far think of "decisive moment" as the holy grail of street photography, but you don't have to look too far to find people who do think of it as a primary guiding aesthetic.
    I'll stand by to be corrected, but to the best of my knowledge the term itself comes not from a direct quote from Bresson, but rather from an American book title. The book, first published in France, was entitled Images à la Sauvette . (Any French speakers here?) I believe this translates to the English equivalent of "Stolen Images" or "Images on the Run". It was Bresson's American publisher who decided to call the translated version "The Decisive Moment".
    What Bresson said in the book (and which itself was influenced by a statement made by a Catholic cardinal centuries earlier): "…photography is the simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event as well as of a precise organization of forms which give that event its proper expression."
    The classicist, or restrictive, interpretation of "decisive moment" is to me best exemplified not by any of Bresson's photographs, but in this startling image by Russell Sorgi:
    Shocking and horrifying on so many levels. Looking at the photograph, we know what the outcome is going to be. It is made even more horrible by the policeman just entering the doorway, the person seated inside the window (oblivious, in that moment, to what is about to transpire), and by the irony of the WWII "Give Till It Hurts" sign displayed in the window.
    There are photographers whose work predates Bresson's that did some significant street photography that does not seem conform to the restrictive interpretation of "decisive moment". Walker Evans, Lewis Hine, Paul Strand, to name but a few. And there are many examples of significant street photographs taken during or after Bresson's time that do not seem to conform to the "decisive moment" aesthetic. Whether it be a woman eating an ice cream cone in front of a shop window (Winogrand), papers blowing in the wind (Ishimoto), children in masks gathered on an urban concrete porch (Levitt), or an oddly blurred image of two children on the street (Klein). As Fred has already alluded to, there can be many different aesthetics at play (surreal, juxtaposition of elements, atmosphere, strikingly banal, symbolic, geometric, light, etc.) which give a particular street photograph an aura of significance. And, to bring us back to where this thread started from, who is to say that someone cannot create that aura of significance by way of HDR or some other form of PP? It is not my taste, but that does not mean it cannot be done.
    Finally, regarding moments, decisive or otherwise, I appreciate this quote from Garry Winogrand:
    "No one moment is most important. Any moment can be something."​
    It's up to the skill and art of the individual photographer to make it so.
  20. >>> I was just questioning how much pp figures in the Pn street shooters work in this forum.

    Not a lot. Just what's needed...
  21. I agree with all of the above. And that is a decisive moment I would not like to catch..the woman suiciding. That would stay with me forever, as that image no doubt will.
    Sauvette mean 'in haste' or as applied to photography I would think 'candid;' Right Brad, I haven't seen any real distortion or obvious PP in photos from users of this forum, it seem to be just enhancements however they are come by. In the street critique forum however I see many heavilly PP photos that are highly rated and it kind of threw me.
    Interesting reading, thanks for the inputs. Lex you make the darkroom sound mysterious and romantic.
  22. gdw


    As much as it takes. Not willing to let the camera make the final decision. I may not be very smart but I'm a heck of a lot smarter than any mechanical device.
  23. but then, it's not just PP is it? What a lot of people tend to forget is that the outcome is influenced well before that. For instance, a photo shot on Delta 100 will look and feel decidedly different than one shot on Tri-X. Then there's lens choice and even more so camera choice. Given that PP is only a relatively small part of it all.
    To answer your question more directly: whatever it takes which normally isn't a whole lot.
  24. "Lex you make the darkroom sound mysterious and romantic."​
    It is. The tactile experience, the moody lighting, the warm wet hands, massaging the image to tease out our personal objet petit a...
  25. Of all the evocations of the pleasure of film that I have seen posted on Photo.net over the years, Lex' has to be the most compelling. ;-)
    In the street critique forum however I see many heavilly PP photos that are highly rated and it kind of threw me.​
    Marie, are you talking about the general critique forum (as opposed to this forum)? Using the Browse Gallery feature for street photographs, I am sometimes surprised at what comes up. C'est la vie...
  26. <<<I haven't seen any real distortion or obvious PP in photos from users of this forum>>>
    Ahh, OK, "obvious" PP. Now I get it. Obvious PP in any genre can be a real turn-off. Actually, obviousness in many things can be ill-advised, though sometimes it's quite called for. In any case, I might suggest that a lot of great photos have had a heavy degree of post work but don't look like they have. That's because the photographers are good and adept at what they do. It usually turns out that it's not so much about PP per se, but much more about bad PP, which kind of makes a lot of sense.
  27. Lol Lex, c'est l'amour de la photo. Its making more sense to me now, thanks. I didn't think of other factors like composition and lens choice, cropping etc.. Its all part of PP before its even shot.
  28. There are many street photos that look like much more than the decisive moment and look like they've been made to look the way the photographer wants them to look and look not like what I would imagine the scene actually looked like. I love Ton's work as a whole and also love Brad's work as a whole. I don't know (or care) how much time or effort was spent post processing them. I think Brad has said he uses different apps to get some of the effects he gets. These days, there are some very simple ways of manipulating photos to get a desired look, much of which can be done right in the camera, which probably doesn't look like what the scene actually looked like to many eyes that were actually at the scene. But these photographers put a clear individual stamp on their work and are not being true to any kind of sense of photographic purity, at least as I see their work, which I find to be just fine. I respect and like a lot what they do. Clive's work, also a regular in this forum, has a very unique and stylized feel to it, not a benign and unimposed kind of street work to my eye, yet extremely effective and wonderful to look at. So, when Ton and Brad, for example, say "not too much" I'm not exactly sure what they mean. I think they both stray from a "straight" view of the world quite a bit, again, regardless of how much time they actually spend post processing. And I obviously don't say that as a criticism, since I think all this work I'm talking about is great.
    I'd be curious to hear what Ton, Brad, and Clive think about this in terms of their own work. When I look, for example, at the work of some of the well known historical street shooters, there are much "straighter" styles than these. I think what Ton, Brad, and Clive give to their work is every bit as valid for street shooting and actually adds quite a bit to their decisive moments, which they seem often to capture.
  29. So, when Ton and Brad, for example, say "not too much" I'm not exactly sure what they mean.​
    Well of course I can't speak for either Clive or Brad if for no other reason than that all these choices are highly personal. What I mean with "not too much" is merely that I normally don't remove from/add to the original (other than color/tonality in case of digital). That however doesn't deal with the time I spent on every photo. Sometimes it just takes minutes while some take hours to get out of them what I want.
    As for decisive moments I prefer not to think in these terms. What I prefer and try to do is to create order out of what often is chaos out there which I think covers a lot more ground.
    I meant what I said before, the outcome as far as I'm concerned is often far more due to choices made well before any PP. Still, whether I use film, digital or any app I do PP each and everyone of my photos.
    Sometimes however the choice is whether to shoot or not in the first place. The photo below for instance I shot under impossible lighting conditions, sometimes you just do. I didn't change anything that wasn't there but it took quite some time to get it the way it looks now. As a result technically it's hardly perfect but I do like the overall atmosphere so in that sense I do what I think is needed.
    I think they both stray from a "straight" view of the world​
    I think that depends on anyones definition of "straight".
  30. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    I look at all your photos and I don`t see too much PP unless your really that GOOD.​
    I don't think I'm "that GOOD," I'm just very careful about what I do. The photo below was snapped on the street in San Francisco. I enhanced the eyes and lips. I modified the skin tone slightly. I removed some background elements and I blurred and darkened the person behind the main subject to make the subject pop more.
  31. Fred: When I look, for example, at the work of some of the well known historical street shooters, there are much "straighter" styles than these.
    I'm not sure which well known street shooters you're talking about, Fred, but there are examples of post production manipulation in the work of some of them. Off the top of my head is this photo by William Klein, in which he moved the enlarger to achieve the effect you see:
    I cannot speak for Ton, Brad, Jeff, or Clive either. But their work, and the work of other accomplished PNers (Jack McRitchie, Carlos, Barry, j.d., Lex, Marc, et al) does not, to my eyes, exhibit a whole lot of pp. I don't immediately recall which of them shoots film and which shoots digitally, but outside of some b&w conversion for the digital, I don't understand how their work deviates, significantly, from the "straight".
    Jeff's inserted photo above is an interesting example. He says he removed some elements, blurred and darkened, etc. If he had not said anything, there's no way I would have known any of that. However, I suspect that his photo would not be one that Fred would point to as an example of not meeting a straight, unmanipulated, style.
    I'm not really arguing with you, Fred (and I don't know that we really want to turn this into a critique session to go over examples...), but in the work of the PN photographers you mentioned, and in the ones that I mentioned, I am not seeing what you are seeing. When I look at the black and white work of some of the PN street shooters mentioned here, I see particular tonalities, but to my eye that is more the result of film choice, or b&w conversion choice, rather than a matter of any heavy post processing. Occasional vignetting and some framing, but again, nothing significant that I can see.
  32. "
    Marie H [​IMG], Sep 12, 2012; 01:30 p.m.
    Ya, Shawn thanks, that's how I've been leaning lately but I've seen so many users of PN with good street shots that ruin them in post. Thanks for voicing what I've been thinking."
    Here are some things to consider. Anything that one does in creating an image is, in one form or another, to one degree or another, a manipulation. The angel to the subject, the time of the shot, ISO, the light, the aperture, and the shutter speed, are all manipulations. Then there is the processing of the image, film or digital, and yet more manipulation can take place. Then consider that other people are not necessarily shooting to please you, but instead shoot to please themselves. That said, your opinion of a ruined image might not agree with the person that created the image. The first rule to remember is that there are no rules, people are free to express their own interpretations of a subject. Naturally, you're free to like that expression, or not. The idea that it's okay to do this, but not that, is not a reasonable one. How boring photography would be if we all followed the same path. In conclusion, you cannot set rules about what is acceptable for anyone but yourself.
  33. That`s exactly what I agreed to Carl. I used`` ruined``, because to my taste, it is, while obviously to the person who made it that way, it isn`t. To each his own, but I feell like the photo, its content, and style, should speak louder than the methods used to create it in post production. That`s my views on it anyway.
    Some people do the over the top shopped landscapes that are so often seen in that category on PN and then apply the same techniques to street photography. I think the word `sauvette` or candid and in haste is how it should be done, not hours spent with photoshop programme `fixing`things. Just my humble opinion.
  34. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    I think the word `sauvette` or candid and in haste is how it should be done​

    Why? As I said above, we only see the photo. Why would anyone care how someone else accomplishes their result? And what if someone is really fast in post processing? Today, I removed a person from a street photo I took. It took me one try, I was a bit surprised, and no cleanup, it just worked. So by your "rule," that is OK, but if I was just starting out with post processing and it took me an hour, that would be bad? And in line with your other comment about my photos, you won't see it.
  35. Cloning people out, or cloning people in even if it takes minutes is in essence falsifying results. If I loved someonès photography and then learned it was all an illusion (oh no I said illusion.. photography is all contrived illusion). I think I would consider the work an altered vision or view of the photographer`s...and not the scene as it really appeared. Not reality as it was at that moment, but rather the photographer`s artistic `vision`. OH no I said `real`. Eeek. It might influence how I perceive his work if I knew how much of the photo was as shot and how much was recreated digitally.
    If in the shot put up earlier of the woman suiciding ..and I knew she was cloned in or a photographic trick, I think I would feel much differently about that decisive moment than I do now.
  36. Marie, yes, a person's vision. Exactly. Could be altered, could be seen through rose colored lenses (ha ha). Do you think good street photography is anything different than that? D. Arbus used to attribute to L. Model, that she would tell her nothing is more compelling than a simple fact presented clearly[paraphrase]. But in a post-modern world, even the presentation of something simple plainly, is in itself an abstraction and narrative of the photographer and the viewer. I would look to your response to a photo and fill in the rest later. Some enjoy process and don't discern between that and product. But in the final analysis, it gets down to what moves you in a photo. No?
    There now, I've just managed to confuse myself...perfect:>]
  37. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    altered vision or view of the photographer

    I sure hope so. I expect all my photographs to reflect my "vision" or "view."
    the scene as it really appeared.​

    There is no "scene as it really appeared." There is only what the photograph shows. In the photograph yesterday, in which I removed a person, if I had snapped two or three seconds earlier, there would have been no person. So I did "see" the "scene as it really appeared," and my photograph shows that. I only changed the time by a couple seconds.
    Not reality as it was at that moment, but rather the photographer`s artistic `vision`.​

    "Reality" is a problem in photographs. They are flat two dimensional objects or apparitions that have none of the characteristics of reality except the relative positioning of certain elements. It's all something I have controlled with how I shoot.
    that decisive moment​

    Every moment is a "decisive moment." And every photograph should reflect how the photographer sees something. Street photography is not news reportage, where post processing does matter. I shoot for emotional impact. So do many other street photographers. How I get there has relevance to me, and that's about it.
  38. Interesting reading for sure. I remember studying camera verite and camera obscura in film studies at university. The presence of the camera already influencing the scene and the documentarists that provoked events with the presence of the camera. This reminds me of that. I suppose every photo has the artist in it, who decides what and how to present their image. Street photography is a reflection of our own personal realities in what and how we shoot and present it. That`s kind of cool.
  39. I don't usually think of post processing as "fixing" something. I see it as realizing a vision. I can understand Marie's suspicion of post processing if she only sees it as a matter of somehow compensating for mistakes made elsewhere. Fortunately, that's a very small part of good and/or significant post processing. Often, good photographers actually expose and take their pictures with the post processing in mind so they shoot not for some amorphous notion of purely reflecting a "reality." Rather, many actually shoot with a complete process in mind, from pre-visualization through snap through post processing possibly even to method of presentation. They aren't fixing anything with post processing. Many have intended the type of post processing a photo might demand from long before the shutter is snapped. In other words, they give depth to photos through a full and genuine work flow. They're not really interested in a contest of who can remain a photo virgin by not soiling themselves in impurity. Sometimes I feel as if photographers are being confused with saints with all this talk of purity. I like the photographers who get their hands dirty, much like painters and sculptors do. Good photography can be very messy. Ivory Liquid is pure . . . ho hum.
    Steve, I guess we see Ton's, Brad's, and Clive's work somewhat differently. Don't know what more to say. I did revisit Ton's portfolio, and if I remember correctly, it used to contain a much more high contrast somewhat graphic representation of photos, somewhat less "straight" to my eye than the current number of photos seems to exhibit.
  40. I used to get hung up on purist values - decisive moments, or some notion of street photography as comparable to photojournalism. Then I realized one of the photographers whose work I admired most - Brassai - was more of a director of elaborately staged and lit cinema, one still frame at a time.
    Silly me. I should have realized it was impossible to get those shots spontaneously and unposed with a glass plate camera. He even used an assistant with flash powder to light some scenes.
    Screw it, anything goes.
  41. Lex, nicely said. The great thing about photography is that it can act as much or more as metaphor as it acts as faithful representative.
  42. "Marie H [​IMG], Sep 16, 2012; 10:46 p.m.
    Street photography is a reflection of our own personal realities in what and how we shoot and present it. "
    That applies to any photography, not just street. Photography is an art, and in the case of digital photography, the camera is just a tool, along with a computer, to capture and present that art. That all applied to film and darkroom work too. You say that some landscape work is overdone, and we've all seen HDR work that looks like a computer generated image as opposed to a photograph. But, if HDR is properly done, it doesn't look like that. What possible difference does it make if it took the artist hours on an image, to get it where they want it? You say that the finished image doesn't look like the scene when the image was shot. So what? Tell that to Van Gogh, etc. Artists manipulate their canvas, of photo image, or sculpture, to suit themselves. They have absolutely no need to follow your ideas of right and wrong. You cannot define things so narrowly.
    Take an older digital camera and shoot a high contrast scene and the chances are that you're not going to get all of the dynamic range in that scene. So, you create an HDR image by bracketing the exposure and blending the resulting images into a finished image. Now, suppose you had a new digital camera that has a wider dynamic range, and you shot the same scene, not bracketing. You'd capture more of the DR, so, is one way wrong and one way right? It's an okay image with a new camera, but a bad one shot with an old camera because it was bracketed and post processed? What of new camera modes that can do some of that processing before the image leaves the camera?
    All of can be easily summed up with Lex's remark "Screw it, anything goes"! Photographers have been manipulating images forever, in camera, or in the darkroom, or both, and many times the viewer cannot tell that the image was massaged in any manner, as Jeff has said.
    Below is an image that was all done in camera, except for converting to .jpg, no other post processing. It was one of my street shots that evening.
  43. Carlos. I agree that it can be art, however manipulated, it remains a photo and you can call it art. But you lose the nature of `sauvette`or documentary. That is and remainds my humble opinion. I continue to alter and fix my images to my taste. But I think I value more the work of people who can shoot a good image, with little post process and present their images as close as possible to the reality they saw. To me that`s higher `art`.
    Fin :)
    Interesting blur on the lights.
  44. Where we disagree is with the term good image. You seem to have this idea that the finished image must be an exact replica of the subject, and that doesn't define an image as good or bad. IOW, you think that anyone that shoots to your liking, perhaps the way you do, makes good images, and that everything else falls short of that mark. I respectfully disagree with that.
  45. I never said that. I like lots and lots and lots of photos. I just admire more people who can shoot an image of `quality` or a forbid me: good image, with less manipulation: Eric KIm says it for me.
    I think that in street photography, people are obsessed too much with “pretty” street photographs- often involving lots of bokeh or even making their photos HDR. Aesthetics are important to making a great street photograph, but they are only used to highlight what I consider to be the most important thing in a street photograph – the meaning.
    A great street photograph needs to have soul and meaning. Consider what you are trying to say through a photograph – and if it resonates with you. Does the photograph have a statement about society? Does it have a statement about individuals or humanity? Does it make you think about the world in a different way?
    I like lots and lots and lots of images. But I like a `street `image to speak to me on its merits, not on the terms of how it was edited.
  46. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    A great street photograph needs to have soul and meaning. Consider what you are trying to say through a photograph – and if it resonates with you. Does the photograph have a statement about society? Does it have a statement about individuals or humanity? Does it make you think about the world in a different way?​

    None of which has anything to do with whether or not the photographer manipulated the photograph in post-production. If the above paragraph is what you believe, it's hard to understand your concern about post-processing.
    But I like a `street `image to speak to me on its merits​

    The merits of any image are what's on the paper or the screen.
  47. That's not completely true. How many times I have read people say.. oh nice editing work..or wonderful color or nice black and
    white. Where the editing took precedence over content or so it appears to be what us influencing them apart from content.
  48. Who cares what is influencing the photographer, or what tools might be chosen to create the image? You're talking like the Image Police, Marie.
  49. Who cares what`s influencing them? Of course «i want it to be my subject, not my photoshop skills... certainly if its STREET PHOTOGRAPHY
    Previously someone told me I was `narrow minded`. Now I`m accused of being an ``Ìmage Policeman` whatever that is. I don`t carry a gun just a girl with a camera and a `broad`point of view...no pun intended. Thanks. When people can`t win their argument they resort to name calling and I guess I`ll call it quits now but gentlemen its been interesting.
  50. What and how much PP is acceptable to you?​
    It's the same as the right dose of morphine..."enough."
  51. Marie, It seems you are unable to accept that people have a different view point than you do. I suspect you were expecting a different response than what you got. So you believe what you want to, but why insist that everyone agree or accept your viewpoint. What is that about. It seems you have formed your views based on a couple of popular pseudo-authorities on the internet regarding street photography.
  52. No name calling, Marie, I was just pointing out that you show an intolerance for the ways of other people. No offense meant.
  53. Marie's opinion is understandable. Some of my own assertions about 10 years ago were pretty much the same. The reevaluation process was very gradual (other than the Brassai epiphany). Not sure whether that makes me open minded, flexible or a waffler. Fortunately it didn't get me fired from the internet.
  54. Lex :cool:

    Marie I had an experience a few years back that this thread has brought to mind.
    First. I separate my street work 'standards' from other photo work. I work in several genres. In all but street, loosely said anything goes for me - . I often employ extensive - laborious pp in street work but choose not to clone in or out any existing elements. Even with other genre I tend to make it clear in the image that this is not a found. reality. Reality with the usual 'my vision of' choices and manipulations.
    I don't care what others do in there street work until it does matter to me... odd comment. A few years back I came across a 'perfect' street photo moment. I wanted to own a copy of it. The photographer disclosed that the image was a composite split nearly down the middle Then I found it mattered to me. The energy changed, my response to it changed. It didn't change the beauty of the photo it changed my view of it as street work. If I was to buy/own it I would not ever see it the way I wanted to, as a found subject street piece. It was a beautiful skillful seamless assemblage worthy of high praise. But it's value as a street photo declined for me. It was a very personal reaction that I make no expectation of any agreement with.
    Street photography is a category a label and for me there are standards that I use in summoning it. If it were matter of being open minded then I would never use a label again. I think that being open minded for me applies to being flexible with what & how others choose to categorize their vision.
    Here is the streetish photo (considering that it is an indoor shot for some dismisses it as street, not me.) I have spent more hours over the years post processing than any other I have. More than 50 in the darkroom and then with PS I was able to do more in 1 hr than I had with 50+ in the darkroom..countless cutouts for dodging and burning / extensive use of variable contrast (enlarger head). The negative was well processed - a dedicated roll to this image. But it was an extremely challenging low wattage bare bulb existing light hanging low over the pile. All the pp work was not for any attempt to change the image from reality but it was to make it more like the reality I saw onsite. This is not the final image. The 'final' has the stand coming out of her head cloned out. I consider it heavily manipulated but not divergent from reality except the removal of the stand. And to a small degree that cloning impacts my experience of the photo negatively . If I considered this solely street work I would probably not remove the stand.
  55. The energy changed, my response to it changed. It didn't change the beauty of the photo it changed my view of it as street work. If I was to buy/own it I would not ever see it the way I wanted to, as a found subject street piece. It was a beautiful skillful seamless assemblage worthy of high praise. But it's value as a street photo declined for me. It was a very personal reaction that I make no expectation of any agreement with.​
    And yet you have my total agreement, j.d.! Not agreement in the "where's the rulebook" manner that Jeff alluded to earlier. There is no rulebook, I think we pretty much all agree on that point. I mean agreement in the sense that that is exactly how I would feel about it.
    You touched upon it in a way that made me understand why I don't care for manipulation in street photography. "Found subject" rang the bell for me. It's not snobbery, or superiority, or purity, or the notion that there's a right way or a wrong way. For me, it's the feeling of excitement and energy that comes from both taking and viewing street photographs. The mystery of what found subject or moment is going to take place next. What momentary, never to be repeated, juxtapositions of humanity and environment are going to be seen? I can't improve upon what's really out there. Maybe someone else can, but I can't. It's the excitement and joy that that crazy moment (crazy wild, crazy subtle, whatever..) really did take place, that it did indeed unfold at that point in time in front of somebody's lens. That's what gets my juices flowing, what jumps off the page of a book or the computer screen when I come across someone else's work, and that in turn gives me the inspiration and the itch to get back out there myself, heart pumping, nervous with the unknown until I'm back in it again, walking the street, immersed in the peculiar rhythms of the day and place and taking my own photographs and coming home and looking at what I've got and if I was lucky and in the energy and my instincts were on their game there'll be one or more images of my own that jump out and make me say "Yes! This is why I do it, and this is why I view it."
  56. Lofty self imposed rules are fine, but, probably not as worthy as some think. One is absolutely free to impose any and all rules upon their work that see fit. However, and Jeff has nailed it, and to a tee, when he said "The merits of any image are what's on the paper or the screen". So, you can set rules about how your work is accomplished and presented, but you are the only one that will know it, unless you make it obvious. Viewers see an image, and they like it, or they don't, and they can even be ambiguous, but they won't know from looking at that image, how you created it, or whether or not you followed your preset rules in creating it, or if you cheated on yourself. Moreover, they very likely don't care, one way or the other.

    There are no "points" for self imposed restrictions when creating. The viewer is basically looking at an image that please them, or it doesn't, what do they care how it came to be? Do you go a restaurant and only enjoy the dishes where you know how they were created? Do you only enjoy watching a stage magician if you know how he does his tricks? I can't imagine looking at images trying to find evidence that the creator has "cheated". All things being equal, one persons methods are as valid as another's. YMMV
  57. Were I a cook, I'd be interested in how the food I ate at a restaurant was prepared. I know many professional chefs and often go out to dinner with them, and they are often discussing how the food was prepared. That doesn't stop them from enjoying the food.
    I am a photographer and am very interested in how photos are produced. If I am moved by a particular moment caught on film, I may very well wonder whether or not it was a moment that actually occurred or not. It's part of my curiosity as both a photographer and as a consumer of photos (viewer of photos).
    To me, there is a difference between compositing a street image without mentioning it to one's audience or having cloned something significant into such an image and other more "stylistic" post-processing choices. The OP started with the notion of street and HDR usage and we have evolved to a discussion of more radical post processing changes to an image. Strong stylistic choices, such as high contrast or even graphic renditions wouldn't affect me as much as actual changes like compositing two or more images into one or cloning an important element into a photo.
    I may still like the composited image or the one with something cloned into it. But, yes, it would be quite important for my appreciation of the image to know that something like that was done. When I look at a photo, I see more than a product. I see the culmination of a process and I don't dismiss that process by any means. In some cases the process is more important and in some cases much less important, depending on the photo.
    I am glad to know that many of Mozart's piano pieces were actually originally improvised and then written down later after the fact. That affects my appreciation of the music itself. I don't listen to music and don't look at photos in some sort of vacuum, in some way separate from whatever other information I may have about their making. It all goes into the mix.
  58. I rarely come across it on contemporary SP websites or portfolios, but composited street photographs were part of the work done by some prominent photographers. (No point, no axe to grind, just mentioning it as possibly being of interest to someone.)
    Harry Callahan:
    Ray Metzker:
  59. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    I rarely come across it on contemporary SP websites or portfolios, but composited street photographs were part of the work done by some prominent photographers.​

    In the Getty Museum in LA, I saw a street photo from the late 1800s that was a composite. It isn't new at all.
  60. Steve, I really like that Harry Callahan shot.
  61. To be sure there are a lot of past & present photographers that are doing collage work including street. But relatively speaking a low percentage do and then find there way to street sites. I have always done photo collage (in camera mostly) and often it is from the street. I wouldn't hesitate to post an obvious photo assemblage in a street forum. However I would choose to not post one unlabeled that looked found but in fact was a cloned creation. Just a choice. Certainly not a rule. I think Steve covered that very well.
    [​IMG]shot through a crystal
    As for stylization... or more to the point imo newer styles. (grown in part out of technology).
    That is just a stepping stone to new ways to express old ideas. There are photographers that come along and open our eyes in a fresh way to the usual themes. Strand, Weston, Adams, Man Ray, Eggleston, Moriyama, Arbus yada. No not a list of my favorites. These are photographers that had a heavy hand in changing, opening the medium. Partially by creating and going on to master a look that had not been seen before.
    Sometimes these styles seem heavy handed... radical...
    I can't say if HDR will ever be what pushes some photographer beyond the existing edge. I have seen some interesting HDR street work coming from Mexico, Spain & Greece. I am also seeing hints of fresh and exciting potential come out of the doors that the digital darkroom blew open. some right here on PN. I think Street photography will reap the benefits as any genre will. Each in there own time. I look forward to a shot in the arm of SP.

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