When is an image out-dated?

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by danmerk{dot}com, Dec 23, 2003.

  1. Just wanted to begin some dialogue on the topic of re-using photography. I have
    made an investment in some more digital equipment that has allowed me to revisit
    some older work that I never pursued. I ask the question because I wanted to begin
    working on some photos that I never let go beyond the proof sheet. Now that I have
    the ability to dispose of some of my old efforts-- digitally, I thought that I would give
    a whirl. Only problem is that I feel a bit 'cheap' in the since that I have had these
    negatives sitting in a locker for 5 + years and never did anything with.

    Is this ethical? Can I start to arrange a portfolio of outdated images even thought they
    have never seen other eyes?
  2. I suppose there is a difference between "news" and "good photography". So you won't have trouble when you intend your portfolio to show the last one.
  3. Perhaps I'm dense, but I don't see how revisiting or using older
    images is in any way an ethical issue (outside very specific
    contexts in which an old image is presented as a new image in
    order to deceive, e.g. a model using a ten-year-old photo of
    herself to try to get current work). What would be the basis for
    requiring that I'm only able to use "current" images? And how
    would current be defined? Less than a year old? a month? a
  4. I'm with Mike Dixon on this one. I don't see any ethical issues beyond chronological mis-representation. In any event, IMX some pictures look much better after aging a few decades.
  5. Mike and I see eye to eye on this one. I'm well into a printing project right now that involves re-visiting some previously un-printed negs. 5 years??? How about 25 years in my case! I never considered ethics...never even entered my mind. If you were to misrepresent the chronology in certain editorial or commercial contexts, then I suppose the issue of ethics could come into play. But for artistic purposes?...why would anyone do this?
  6. Daniel

    Is this ethical? Can I start to arrange a portfolio of outdated images even thought they have never seen other eyes?


    How can it not be ethical:) I call it mining old images. As I learn new techniques in PhotoShop, I'll go back and rework old images. This is a normal and natural thing to do. If the old images are your's, then it doesn't matter when they were taken, they're your's and you should rework them at you time frame.

    Hope this helps and enjoy printing those old pics.
  7. I think the question that should be asked is what is it that makes images out-dated? Hairstyles? Clothing? Cars? The old Commodore computer in the background? <p>In general, I always try but not always with success to omit the things that will date the photo in the first place. Occaisionally, I will allow things to be in the photo to date it if I want to document a particular point in time.<p>In published photography books I see lots of photos that the photographers dug up from years before.<p>Those who ask for portfolios e.g. certain photography workshops usually specify "a submission of your most recent work".
  8. Just label them as 'A Retrospective' and it won't be an issue at all :)
  9. I've been printing some negatives I shot in 1973 and never got around to printing. I've been reprinting some pictures that were poorly printed in the 1970's but still appeal to me today. I didn't realize I was breaking any laws of ethical behavior.
  10. The only ethical problem I have with printing old images is
    subjecting people to work that's even worse than what I'm
    currently shooting. ; )
  11. Is this ethical?

    Turn the question around and ask, "How might it be unethical?".

    In my case, I have drawers full of transparencies some of which, I like to think, might be worth sharing with a wider audience. Now that I finally have a film scanner, I'm slowly beginning to do just that. I can't think of a way in which ethics becomes a problem.
  12. All, Thanks for the encouragement. I was concerned that putting together some art to
    show, and using old negs was like eating stale bread. But I can see now that as long
    as if these images are 'never been viewed before', then this may be ok.

  13. I went to a presentation by master photographer, Paul Caponigro, who said to the amazement of the audience, that he hadn't taken a picture in five years! Then he asked if we had all printed all our negatives...
  14. Sorry if this is a double post its my first ever reply: I have 5 year old negatives I wished I kept, judging by the age of your post I hope by now You have taken them out and your project is in full swing. Look at it this way people keep bottles of wine for well over 5 years to improve the taste. The only ethical dilema I can think of is does your project require model releases?

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