Would you process a photograph to this degree?

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by dan_south, Dec 26, 2011.

  1. This gentleman is obviously a very skilled photographer. He's a well-known and successful professional who has won many accolades for his work over a long career. Further, he was generous enough to share the details of his approach to post-processing freely with the photographic community.


    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/1photo-pages/castille_belmonte___spanish_castle.shtml


    Images processed in this manner have brought this gentleman considerable success and renown. The approach is perfectly acceptable and seems to agree with the photographer and with his clients, Further, there are plenty of other well-regarded photographers who use a
    similar approach in theirs work and have done so since the advent of Photoshop.

    However, I would NEVER do this.

    Unless a client insisted that I create an image using similar techniques, I could never see myself processing a photograph to this extent.
    Instead of enhancing colors with local adjustments, I would have waited for better light, even if that required modifying my travel
    itinerary. Instead of inventing trees that don't exist, I would have searched for a better composition. Instead of enhancing bad light with layers, I would have optimized a well-lit and properly-exposed capture in Lightroom. And if I had elected to stitch together composite images, I would have made every attempt to avoid or remove lens distortion in the process.

    When people look at my photos I don't want them to think that I've fabricated light or compositional details with computerized tools, no
    matter how skillful their application. I want the viewer to feel a sense of trust that what they see is an accurate representation of what their eyes would have seen had they been standing beside me at the time of capture. It's important to me that my photographs convey a sense of credulity and veracity rather than the exploitation of an opportunity to create a technically impressive fabrication.

    For my own benefit, I relish the feeling of walking away from a shoot knowng that I have captured something special: an interesting subject with lighting and composition that will work together to enhance the viewer's experience of that moment. I want to feel excited about having captured the light and the viewpoint that I have just witnessed. I don't think I would feel very satisfied capturing a gray, unexciting scene that I could use later as the basis for demonstrating advanced computer skills. That skips the whole magic of the exposure process, the magic that makes be want to crawl out of bed before sunrise so I can witness and capture something compelling and inspiring.

    People are welcome work with photographs in any way that pleases them and their audience. I want my images to convey the sense of an actual experience rather than a fantastic re-envisioning of a dull scene, and I want my viewers to understand the difference.
     
  2. I don't like it very much. It's visibly stretched, and the adjustments on the castle look like some very tacky lighting
    designer has had a go at it. Given the lighting condition he shot in and the squat castle that looks more militarily
    practical than fantastical - and the author's desire for something fantastical - this appears to be a tutorial on turd-
    polishing.
     
  3. "- I want my viewers to understand the difference." - why?
    Your post sounds more like a personal statement appropriate to your profile than a conversation starter.
     
  4. I don't know where to begin. If someone wants to start by humming a few bars, I'll join in...
     
  5. > I don't know where to begin. If someone wants to start by humming a few bars, I'll join in...

    Okay...

    A-hem...

    A one, two, a one-two-three:

    "Would you process a photograph to this degree?"

    Now everybody....

    ;-)
     
  6. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator Staff Member

    Are you working on an artist's statement?
     
  7. > Are you working on an artist's statement?

    Nope. Commenting on my reaction to an article.
     
  8. Dan, how is your post different than recent threads about the extent of image manipulations that advocate (mostly) against it?
     
  9. "Would you process a photograph to this degree?"
    Dan, I have in the past as part of my on-going learning, but I probably wouldn't have processed the particular photograph you linked to in the same way or even have taken the shot with that composition.
    I don't see anything inherently flawed with doing it, though.
     
  10. It's more interesting than the moronic "this camera is better than that camera" threads.
    I would not do this myself. If I wanted a picture like that one, I would simply take it with my smartphone and Vignette or something. Much quicker and easier, same basic result.
    What's the point of making an unreal travel photo?
     
  11. >>> People are welcome work with photographs in any way that pleases them and their audience.

    That seems like a reasonable position. Why not stop there?
     
  12. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator Staff Member

    What's the point of making an unreal travel photo?​
    I've been wondering about that for years. They always have these incredibly beautiful women with amazing bodies in the beach photos. No beach I've visited has ever had those women. Totally unreal!
     
  13. What is a "travel photo," anyway? Is it an image you that you made according to your vision and taste, but which happened to involve some travel in its execution? Ansel Adams' very manipulated "Moonrise" was shot while he was out on the road. He sure didn't live in the parks he photographed. Are those travel photos?

    Or are we talking about photos meant to be used by the travel industry, encouraging people to visit? Or are we talking about something meant to document one's travels. Some of my more fanciful (and manipulated) images happened to involve subject matter that was in front of me while I traveled. But then, likewise with stuff that's 50 feet from where I'm typing this at my dining room table. The conversation doesn't need to be about the scene linked-to above - it's pretty much just the usual "do I like manipulated images or not, and of course they all are, so where's the line, etc" stuff.
     
  14. No, I would never manipulate my photographs to this degree... I would rather learn how to paint and then go crazy...
     
  15. The good news is that the OP can make a photo any way he wants, and we'll look at that and judge it on its own merit. Come on guys - it's called creativity. Lots of artists hate other artists work. Just because the OP, or any of us, don't like this example of post-processing doesn't mean it has any less value.
     
  16. the viewer's experience of that moment​
    As I understand things, the viewer is not experiencing "the moment."* That's what I, the photographer, may have experienced. The viewer is experiencing the photograph! Photos are made many different ways.
    ______________________
    *There's often a bigger picture and story than "the moment."
    .
    Would you process a photograph to this degree?​
    Sure. But I wouldn't process this photograph to any degree, because it doesn't interest me. The photo is the important thing, and the process is important, not in some abstract sense of "Would I ever do this?" but in a more concrete sense of "Does the process work with the photo?" "Does it help the content to express itself in the way the photographer wants it to?" There are some photos I will process the hell out of and other photos I will process minimally. I don't go into it with a rule or limitation based on a moral or esthetic judgment about process. I process according to the need of the image I'm working with and my own desire and vision.
     
  17. What's the point of making an unreal travel photo?​
    Maybe because, sadly, reality is often neither interesting nor memorable. We conjure up (and forget) stuff all too often, through our own personal filter, no matter how slight...
     
  18. As to the picture of the castle linked to, why not process it as processed? It's a kitschy kind of shot to begin with: castle, road, and trees, kind of the ultimate cliché. So it's processed, in a sense, just the way it should be. It's made to be popular, to take iconic elements and put them together as if they are important, as if they are art, almost the definition of kitsch. The processing goes along with this kind of mindset. It could nicely hang in a motel room, a doctor's office, or a company lobby, or a model house down in one of those fancy Florida developments. No, it's not OVER-processed. It's processed like a soap opera and like millions of paintings that are sold at San Francisco's wharf every year. It will be very appealing to a lot of people, just as are Elvises on black velvet.
    It's got nothing to do with the AMOUNT of processing or with the fact that it's processed to begin with. It's the aesthetics of the processing. Someone might beautifully and harmoniously process a photo and take twice as much time as this photographer, be more manipulative and, in some cases, even more over-the-top, but with a mindful, thoughtful, visionary intention. I wouldn't consider that over-processed. I'd consider it well processed. Sometimes things are heavily and well processed because you don't feel the finished product as processed at all, even though it is. Sometimes photos are well processed and you do feel them as processed but that feeling is part of the experience the photographer wants you to have.
    Processing does not have to be about super-saturation, mindless iconization, prettifying reality. In the right hands, it is, has always been, and will continue to be, a photographic and artistic tool.
    For me, it's not about the degree of processing. It's about what it looks like.
     
  19. "What's the point of making an unreal travel photo?"
    Tourist baksheesh? Enhancing what didn't look so hot while you were there? Fantasy? Who cares? If someone want to do that, why not? The viewer is always free to look away.
    "They always have these incredibly beautiful women with amazing bodies in the beach photos. No beach I've visited has ever had those women. Totally unreal!"
    Um...Jeff no beach does...not at one time, anyway. You have to bring your own. It's like no forest has nubile pups frolicking in them like they do in Ryan McGinley pix, either. Humans have no trouble trespassing & suspending disbelief beyond the real. Besides, what is real to one, is unreal to the other. It's grand.
    Dan, I would do that to one of my pictures, if I was interested in that kind of thing, but at the moment, I'm not.
     
  20. I this is an artists view, I have no problems with the image. However, if this is some kind of real-life description, the matter is quite different, for me.
     
  21. Dan, as I read your opening comments, I sort of agree that there really isn't much to talk about. You essentially sum up the difference between photographers, that each finds their own way and a body of work that they promote. Commercially, photographers do this all the time, often developing techniques or looks that are a far cry from what they might do personally. You have to have something unique to sell if you want the better jobs or you have to do it better than others.
    I have always figured that if one does what they believe in and put their heart and soul into it, they will find success. Sitting around and comparing what I do with what others do will get me nowhere. Looking at others work and finding some inspiration, often nothing to do with what I am looking at but more a catalyst, is worthwhile.
     
  22. If a brochure or ad used it, it woud be fraud, of course. But if it's on a website or hanging in a gallery, without a "this is real" certificate...
     
  23. Another way to approach it . . .
    Let's say this same pic were taken from the same angle and in a glorious golden warm sunset light. Minimal post processing. The time of day and the right filters got the gold. It would still be schlock. Natural schlock. A premium seems to be put on "natural" instead of the sensibility and aesthetics of it all. Natural beauty wouldn't help this shot. It would just make it naturally kitschy and a naturally uninterestingly pretty photo.
     
  24. Dan -
    My full-time, day job has an art gallery that rotates through an "artist of the month" - December's artist was a local photographer who does very much the same thing.
    One of my friends commented that his photos look very different than mine - not worse nor better, just different. Having actually talked to the artist a couple of years ago when he did a visit during the exhibit, I was able to explain to my friend how his images where different than mine, and how he gets the look.
    He shoots multiple images at various exposures of each section of the final photo. He then processes them through an HDR plug-in or app. Finally once he has each section just the way he wants it, he combines / stitches them together into the final composition.
    He went on to explain that for each finished image he shoots between 40 and 50 photos, and spends probably 40 - 80 hours on the finished product, each consisting of between 6-10 different images, depending on the scene and the different lighting patterns in each.
    My initial response was wow and it still is. The colors are incredible, the exposure of each element is perfect, and the stitching is impossible to detect.
    Of course there are two problems:
    1) The scenes he captures look nothing like they do in reality. Even in nature, the colors he produces don't exist.
    2) The lighting he achieves is not possible in nature.
    But he is showing his vision and interpretation of the scene.
    Would I do something like that? Nope, not a chance. I prefer that my images capture and show things in a more nature light and color range.
    Dave
     
  25. There is fine art photography, and there is documentary photography.
    Never the twain shall meet, for the first is an attempt to produce what the photographer sees in his head, while for the second he attempts to capture what his eyes sees. In my experience, most photographers work in one field. and do not understand those who work in the other.
     
  26. Well I would not really be bothered with the stiching but I am not against creating images that are not reality.
    I made some images involving a traveling toaster a number of years ago. They are in my PN portfolio here.
    http://www.photo.net/photodb/folder?folder_id=659047
     
  27. What difference does it make what I would do? The fact that the original photographer chose to do it that way is all the justification necessary.
    No one has to conform to anyone else's standards in any part of photography. That's the Art part.
    <Chas>
     
  28. It is the difference between the documentary approach and the creative ..I would do things like that if I felt it improved the look of the image ... and recently did re-arrange the subjects, and imported another from an adjacent file, and created an image which the judge approved of.
    Even in a documentary situation I can think of an example where the journo/photographer's straight shots did not tell the correct story but his manipulated one told it perfectly. Sadly he got the sack for merely manipulating rather than his errors in manipulation technique.
    It is sad IMO that we do not trust the honesty of the photographer and rely on the honesty of the camera, which we all know frequently lies.
     
  29. The photo left the building a long time ago. Its a collage now. It would look fine over the bar at Castille Belmonte Iberian Bistro to cover the Naked Maja mural. Oh wait! The Naked Maja's Playing Cards mural. I'd not call it "processing" I'd call it "arting". When I art a photograph it becomes another class of object in my mind.
     
  30. Fred, what if perfect sunlight fell on two gentlemen kissing passionately on a bench in Golden Gate Park? Would the appealing light render that scene "schlock" in your eyes? Must photos be gray and shadowy in order to be taken seriously?
     
  31. Dan, Peter Eastway is a very successful photographer. I have been following his work since 1998. he holds the title of
    master of photography, a title bestowed upon photographers by the AIP ( Australian institute of Professional
    Photography). This title is awarded to person achieving consistent recognition for photographic excellence for their work over many years. Peter
    started a photographic magazine in 1998 called better photography, well worth looking at. The magazine provides
    beginners and experts with technical advise gear and manipulation. Peter demonstrates techniques in the magazine,
    same as the article but sometimes to greater detail. Others works are also demonstrated, and technique shared. I think
    something like that on PNet would be very helpful to some ( a page dedicated to the sharing of technique )
    Peter use to manipulate his film based images with similar results. Showing that it is not only the digital media that
    allows us to get some of the results he gets. Some of his work is really quite dramatic and amazing when seen
    hanging on a wall.
    So in summary, manipulation of an image is part of the process of photography, to the extent of that manipulation
    depends on individual skill and desired outcome wanted. It's a choice thing. I personally don't, because I don't possess
    the PS skills sufficient to do this, also I don't possess the desire either.
    Regards RJE
     
  32. Fred, what if perfect sunlight fell on two gentlemen kissing passionately on a bench in Golden Gate Park? Would the appealing light render that scene "schlock" in your eyes?​
    I'd have to see it. It certainly could be schlock. I've seen a lot of schlock when the content is two men. Hallmark greeting card kind of stuff masquerading as "art." Then again, I've seen two men shot in a certain kind of sunlight done really well. There's a lot of different kinds of "perfect" sunlight. I have no idea what you mean when you say "perfect sunlight" without further description. Perfect for what?
    .
    Must photos be gray and shadowy in order to be taken seriously?​
    No. It's not so much about the kind of light or whether it's shadowy or brilliant. It's about how the light is used, what it says, how and what it illuminates. Usually, for me, it's about being something more than pretty, something beyond pleasing and easily or superficially palatable. Schlock is an equal opportunity employer, gay or straight.
     
  33. "Would you process a photograph to this degree?"​
    If I would, then it is my fervent hope that I would end up with a more convincing result.
    Peter Eastway... consistent recognition for photographic excellence​
    Everyone is allowed to have a bad day once in a while I assume....
     
  34. Deiter, he may well have on that day, here is his website http://www.petereastway.com/AboutPeter01.php
     
  35. Is whether the subject image is schlock or not even the point? It seems a sidetrack to me. The benefit of such illustrations is that one does have certain tools at their disposal and demonstrates how they might be used. Use them or not is different than having an understanding of what can be done and maybe learning and mastering of skills one might use or use on a more limited basis.
    I have spent many hours working out how someone did an image. How they lit something or how they created an effect. In most cases, I wouldn't use the information or techniques I have figured out but I end up with some knowledge I didn't have before I started. I may use some part of it or I may find myself in a situation where I will end up seeing something I might have missed because I know something now I didn't before. As a commercial photographer, this can make a session a success that otherwise might have been for not. For personal work, it just gives me a tool I can choose to use if it makes sense sometime in the future.
    Having knowledge has never hurt me, at least that I know of, but I do know that such things open one's eyes to things that might have never been seen.
    Having skills honed, even if not used, often makes what we choose to do that much better.
     
  36. No, but I think Portrait Professional is an obscenity so that gives you an idea where my head is at on the subject of image/ subject modification.
     
  37. > Is whether the subject image is schlock or not even the point? It seems a sidetrack to me.

    Agreed. I didn't bring up the schlock angle. That gets into matters of taste which are always subjective.

    Richard, I acknowledged that this fellow is accomplished, successful, and well-known. Apparently his highly manipulated
    style strikes a chord with many viewers. It's just not my cup of tea.
     
  38. Where does an image start? Does it start with the objects being photographed or in the mind of the photographer? For those cases where it starts in the mind of the photographer, there is no limit on post processing (assuming the photographer is not working as a photojournalist). Jerry Uelsmann was creating ethereal images decades ago with uprooted trees floating in the air. His work was regarded as fine art.
     
  39. Everyone has their own vision but I agree with those that think this particular image is a little strong, to put it mildly. Personally, my own vision is to post process an image until it emulates the experience of the original scene. Sometimes, this takes a lot of post processing. I remember when I was 7 years old with a Brownie and the pictures simply didn't look like the original scene. My whole goal since then has been to reproduce what I saw and experienced in that original scene.
     
  40. To me this image goes beyond the bounds of photography. It's more like the digital rendering of a background for a
    video game, which also might have been based on a photograph originally. Inventing trees that didn't exist. Squeezing
    the image to make the trees and castle look taller. That's pretty extreme. It's not like removing a bird from the sky or a
    freckle from a model's shoulder. It's too far removed from the original capture to be called a photograph IMO. It reminds
    me of Andy Warhol's paintings based on soup can labels.
     
  41. I'm surprised no one has posted a picture yet.
    Dan, this is a picture of mosquito larvae. I don't know how it "should" be represented but here's my take on it. The entire "scene" was about an inch wide.
    I'd be interested in how you might render a similar image?
    [Disco Larvae]
    [​IMG]
     
  42. How about removing a bird from a model's shoulder or a freckle from the sky? or is that going too far.
    Those pesky lines in the sand... not sure what we're suppose to do with them, so I mostly ignore them.
     
  43. If we were dealing with paintings, we'd basically be talking about realism vs. impressionism. For better or worse, most photography doesn't get labeled with a "school" like painting does. There's some "abstract" photography, but most seem to more or less take for granted that photography implies realism.
    Looking at the general question, I have no problem with that amount of manipulation at all. I've done a fair amount of work at focus stacking, panoramas, etc., that involve some pretty heavy manipulation (albeit, much of it automated with current tools). Much of that manipulation is often nearly invisible except to another photographer who knows (for example) that if you stop down far enough to get that much depth of field, you're not going to get anywhere close to that sharp of a shot.
    For another example, fashion photography often involves pretty heavy manipulation giving a result that often looks little like reality. Even though many may not consider it "art", I'll go on record as saying that whether it's art or not, the result can be quite beautiful.
    This shot, however, strikes me as rather the opposite in a couple of ways. The manipulation is heavy-handed enough that it's difficult to suspend your disbelief long enough to look at what's supposed to be there instead of what really is. Even if you do manage that, you're stuck with the fact that even the manipulated version of the subject matter isn't particularly special in itself, nor is it portrayed particularly well.
    By analogy, this isn't Jessica Alba with makeup and lighting making her look better than any normal woman every could -- this is Roseann Barr with on-camera flash, with slimming and tanning done by a four year-old with crayons.
     
  44. Michael, awesome pic! I wouldn't change a thing. Bravo!

    Gordon, very clever. For the record, I have never removed a freckle from a sky, but I would if I felt that it supported the
    image. ;-)

    Jerry, brilliant (albeit nauseating) analogy.
     
  45. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator Staff Member

    It's too far removed from the original capture to be called a photograph IMO​

    Where's the exact break point on this?
     
  46. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator Staff Member

    Portrait Professional is an obscenity​

    I seriously doubt the Justice Department would agree with you. Software is just a bunch of lines of code. Unless there's a secret message embedded in there that pops up on people's screens, this is quite absurd as comments go.
     
  47. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator Staff Member

    It's just not my cup of tea.​

    Wouldn't it be simpler just to acknowledge that and move on to things that are your cup of tea? What exactly is posting about it supposed to do? When I don't like photos, I just look at other photos. It's not like I'm trapped in a padded cell with a photo I don't like, and I doubt you are either.
     
  48. > Wouldn't it be simpler just to acknowledge that and move on to things that are your cup of tea? What exactly is posting
    about it supposed to do? When I don't like photos, I just look at other photos. It's not like I'm trapped in a padded cell with
    a photo I don't like, and I doubt you are either.

    By that measure this entire forum would be useless except for matter of fact questions such as "Do they make card
    readers for SD cards?"

    Discussion helps us fine tune and clarify our own positions. Other viewpoints, opposing and sympathetic, expose us to more
    information on a topic. Sometimes, I modify or even reverse my position on something when exposed to other viewpoints.

    By the way, when I don't like a discussion, I move on to other discussions. Nudge nudge, wink wink.
     
  49. For some reason that I don't care to analyze here, this reminds me of, and prompts me to post one of the finest commentaries on professional images by well-known photographers (link).
     
  50. "I want the viewer to feel a sense of trust that what they see is an accurate representation of what their eyes would have
    seen had they been standing beside me at the time of capture."


    I glad that I am removing this silly notion from my mindset. It takes work, though.


    "Would you process a photograph to this degree?"

    Yes. If it made or produced the image that I wanted to produce. More, actually. I have a dream I want to photograph.
    Planning and executing all of the parts to combine into that image,,,much more complex than the castle image.
     
  51. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator Staff Member

    I don't see anyone changing any of their opinions because of this thread. I don't like deep fried food but I don't run around the web posting about it, I eat something else. It's pretty simple.
    Nudge nudge, wink wink.​
    I may be the only moderator on today, so I'm reading everything. And figure I would point out the value, or lack thereof, of a thread about what one doesn't like.
     
  52. I'm just glad I'm too lazy to go to the trouble Peter Eastway took on to arrive at the results he did.
    I find it hard to understand why or how a photographer would walk around looking for things to shoot like that castle and already have a preconceived vision of having it look totally different as it appears in that tutorial. Where is HIS story originating from?
    I wouldn't think I was being honest with myself in appreciating the subject the way it is. When I trip the shutter I can't put in my mind another vision of something that scene isn't or can't be. I can't make it what it isn't at the time I shoot it. I have enough trouble trying to find scenes to inspire me without having to put pictures in my head that I hope will match up with whatever I find walking around to shoot. What am I? A photographer? or an image constructor? What story am I capturing that I don't already see in the scene as it is? If I doctor it up to look nothing like it actually is, whose story am I telling? Am I just entertaining/pandering to future viewers? Giving them the story they like and not what's there?
    If I had come across that castle as it appears in the before pre-composite stage I wouldn't have thought to add trees while I took the shot. I would find other ways of telling its story. Not my story.
    When I painted pictures of landscapes, portraits or found objects in a former life, I didn't have in my mind at the time I saw these scenes that I would change it that much. Express an impression? Yes. Exact replica? No, mainly due to technical limitations. That scene was telling me its story, though and I liked its story, otherwise I wouldn't have went to the trouble of painting it. I was inspired by its story. Why would I want to give it a complete face lift and turn into something its not?
    That's like the groom marrying his bride and then telling her to head to the plastic surgeon for a complete make over because the groom already had something in mind on how she should look when they first met. Who did the groom fall in love with then, some vision of another woman she's not?
     
  53. Dan,

    On your smugmug page you have some night photos of the Golden Gate Bridge. You used a long shutter speed, longer
    than 30 seconds, maybe a minute or two from the looks of it.

    The car light trails as you photographed them do not look that way with my eyes. The color of the bridge is different in real
    life. Even the color of the sky does not look that way in real life. If I stood next to you while you took that image, what I
    see would look very different.

    How do you consolidate or reconcile these two opposing things?

    I've just ordered up a bunch of infrared film. I don't plan on photoshopping any of the prints I make. But would you regard these film and unretouched images the same as you do of stiched photoshopped images. Are they the same trickery and frauds to you? My eyes don't see infrared light, at the very least the photos will look different than I see them with my eyes.
     
  54. There's a line in the movie "Dirty Harry" when Clint Eastwood admonishes the crook who's gone too far, "A man has to know his limits."
    I think it comes down to this. I've gone too far when I change the picture more than my internal compass allows me too so I no longer feel comfortable with myself. If people say, "Nice shot." and I feel queasy about what I constructed, that's when I've gone too far.
    Now everyone is different. But, try not to run yourself with other people's compasses, or corrupt your own for fame, or money, or ego. That won't work either. I've tried that as I suppose we all have in different areas of our lives, and it doesn't work. In the end, my compass made me feel crappy when I violated what it was telling me to do. It may be cliche, but you have to be true to yourself. None of this is to say that my compass is right or wrong, or yours either. It's just that we all have to figure out what makes each of us tick and then stick to that standard.
     
  55. It's just that we all have to figure out what makes each of us tick and then stick to that standard.​
    Yes. And then, almost ironically, maybe figure out creative and meaningful ways of breaking the very standards we've set for ourselves.
     
  56. Tim,

    "I didn't have in my mind at the time I saw these scenes that I would change it that much"

    You didn't paint things that didn't or don't exist? How limited a painter is if he or she is only a Xerox machine of what is
    there.

    I don't think I have ever heard(read) a painter or artist put that limitation on their art work before. I don't think I can think
    of many valuable artists who hold or held your opinion. Just off the top of my head, I can't think of one.
     
  57. Tim, I don't feel so much that I change scenes even when I heavily post process what comes out of the camera. It's more realizing a scene's potential to be the basis for the vision I have for a photograph. It's not the scene I'm altering. It's the grammar or language it speaks with. I'm not making a scene, I'm making a photograph. I don't see like a camera and the camera doesn't see like me. I see like a human. I see with my humanity and imagination. I may see more than what's there. And I may see what's there in many different ways. The camera doesn't use me to take a picture. I use the camera.
     
  58. If you don't post process are you not just a slave to the machine?
     
  59. Tim, you have imply that all photographers heve a story! I don't agree with you, sometimes the journey of photography
    is the story, that includesbhow to present it, where to hang it etc. That story is not always present when the shutter is
    pushed. Some may not even have a story, some may just take pictures for the sake of taking pictures, and treat them
    how ever they feel at the time. When we think from our own viewpoint and ignore the viewpoint of others, well, we start
    implying a position of superiority. Not that I am implying that about anyone here, but a few good points have been
    made. Like why is it ok to complain about a thread and tell the person to move on, yet it's not ok to tell a person to
    move on if they don't like the thread. Different viewpoints make for good discussion, and diversity.
     
  60. "To me this image goes beyond the bounds of photography."
    Only because you are oblivious to the history of the medium. People were moving, removing and inserting trees, skies, hills, people, etc. in prints in the mid 1800's. Some of the most famous images of the era were composites. It was photography then, and why should it not be now?
    http://www.codex99.com/photography/images/rejlander_lg.jpg
    The camera is more than a reality Xerox machine. The malleability that is available is there for those who wish to use it. It does not confer or take away anything. If you want to stay close to the scene, do so. If not, go right ahead. Great, boring or schlock pictures can be made either way.
    ____________________________________________________
    "It's just that we all have to figure out what makes each of us tick and then stick to that standard."
    No, we don't.
     
  61. People were moving, removing and inserting trees, skies, hills, people, etc. in prints in the mid 1800's.
    Really? And how common was that? Could you show some examples of landscapes with added trees published in e.g. Newsweek, Time, New York Times (Magazine or Newspaper), The Times, or National Geographic? What about travel magazines? Do you think the town where the castle in Eastway's image will use the image to promote travel to the castle? I think not, if they have some good sense.
    The camera is more than a reality Xerox machine.
    It isn't anything like a Xerox machine. A Xerox machine copies an image of a two-dimensional object, usually a piece of paper, on another two-dimensional object. A camera (typically) projects a three dimensional array of objects on a two-dimensional sensor. That difference is crucial, as you can find a million different ways to make a photograph of a scene with a camera and typically no two photographers will prefer the same viewpoint and composition. Thus there is a lot of creative possibilities just in the way the camera is positioned, lens, exposure, and timing are selected. That's the photography part (drawing with light). When people reproduce the image on paper in the darkroom (even with editing) it still is photography since the image is projected by light (there might be obstacles on the way altering exposure of parts of the print) whereas the digital version of making a print is a new process - call it digital print making or whatever you prefer (the editing is digital image processing). Calling it photography is like saying you're filling up your car with gas when it's really an electric car and you're charging its batteries. It makes no sense, unless of course you're trying to deceive and ride with the reputation of photography for authenticity.
    If you don't post process are you not just a slave to the machine?
    No, you aren't. There is plenty of space for creativity and expression without adding objects that weren't there in the scene, to the image. Of course, some people are unable to express themselves that way, i.e. they can't find interesting subject matter so they prefer (have to?) manufacture it digitally.
    I don't think I have ever heard(read) a painter or artist put that limitation on their art work before. I don't think I can think of many valuable artists who hold or held your opinion. Just off the top of my head, I can't think of one.
    It's easy enough to find documentary photographers and nature photographers who would not feel comfortable adding stuff to their images. In fact, this includes almost all of them. Generally both communities (and their readership) shun such editing; people can get fired or lose their reputations by adding stuff to images, and sometimes have. What the so called artists here fail to see is that this is a perfectly legitimate viewpoint.
     
  62. Ilkka bristled - "Really? And how common was that?"
    Quite common in art circles, the sky in particular. TIME, Newsweek, etc. Weren't around then. Ilkka, the OP was not about the authenticity or potential labeling of a digital composite. It was a lot simpler than that, though now it has drifted into other arenas entirely. If it was used in an ad as something you can expect to see on your vacation there, it would be fraud, of course. Compositing has, as I mentioned and linked to for illustrative purposes, been around for over 150 years. It's nothing new in photography.
     
  63. By the way (just so that there is no misunderstanding) I have no problem with digital art, or digital editing of photographs; I do prefer such creations to be disclosed as what they are instead of passing them off as straight photography (not in all contexts, for example in an art gallery it's fine not to say how it was made, but in many contexts disclosure is a good thing e.g. if promoting travel to the castle, or in a newsmagazine, it should be said that this isn't really what the castle looks like; otherwise it can be seen as deception). I don't have any issue with the existence of digital art or the preference of some people to practice it, just as I don't have any issue with painting or other fields of visual expression. Like the OP, I would never do such modifications - it isn't to my taste.
    I find the suggestion that extensive modifications are somehow necessary for artistic expression is ridiculous. Photographic expression can be creative in so many other ways.
     
  64. It's nothing new in photography.
    I am not suggesting that it is new (limited to digital), but if you look at photography as practiced by common people, or by documentary photographers, instead of the art community, adding objects in the darkroom was never common. And in the eyes of many ordinary people, the knowledge that something was added to the image will lead to rejection and loss of respect. The art community has a life of its own, of course, but it constitutes a very very small percentage of the photographs seen by the public. To the ordinary man, photography is not regarded so much as art, but as having a direct relationship with reality and the exclamations that may occur when viewing an extraordinary photograph relate to the rarity and remarkability of the event that must have been behind the making of such an image, because the projection relationship is assumed. Of course, today people are much less naive as they're aware that it could all have been made-up by computer, and often is. But many people hold special value to an image if it depicts something real (in the sense of an optical projection from 3D space to 2D) yet is still extraordinary. That includes myself, and I would guess the OP also feels that way. I don't care if the art community resents this relationship and fails to see its value.
     
  65. Ilkka, thanks for the thoughtful and detailed comments. You've added a lot to the discussion.

    Luis, I'm not oblivious. I've been around a long time. We used to call it "trick photography.". But I've also been around
    long enough to have appreciated the documentary approach of Life and National Geographic. Their honest, open
    approach to photography has always meant a lot more to me than manipulated contrivances. Just because one CAN
    place virtual trees into a scene doesn't mean that one SHOULD.
     
  66. >>> Richard Sperry

    On your smugmug page you have some night photos of the Golden Gate Bridge. You used a long shutter speed, longer
    than 30 seconds, maybe a minute or two from the looks of it.

    The car light trails as you photographed them do not look that way with my eyes. The color of the bridge is different in real
    life. Even the color of the sky does not look that way in real life. If I stood next to you while you took that image, what I see
    would look very different.

    How do you consolidate or reconcile these two opposing things?

    I've just ordered up a bunch of infrared film. I don't plan on photoshopping any of the prints I make. But would you regard
    these film and unretouched images the same as you do of stiched photoshopped images. Are they the same trickery and
    frauds to you? My eyes don't see infrared light, at the very least the photos will look different than I see them with my
    eyes.

    <<<

    Richard, you raise very good points. Our eyes don't see light trails, because we perceive each moment uniquely (as
    video does) rather than accumulating time and movement within a single image as still cameras do. That said, our eyes see motion that
    the still camera cannot express other than by sandwiching instants of time into a composite. The light trails signify the
    motion that our eyes would have perceived naturally and effortlessly. They are not suggesting something that wasn't
    present at exposure time. I didn't paint in light trails to make stationary vehicles appear to be moving.

    With regard to colors, I didn't change anything. They human eye, as you know, does not perceive color well in low light.
    The camera has the ability to capture those low light colors accurately. The human eye also filters and alters color in almost every kind of light. The camera needs to apply white balance or external filtering to match this behavior. If we control the white balance, we end up with a different color rendition than they eye saw, and in fact the colors are more accurate.

    You've got me on infrared, UV, Gamma rays, X-rays or any other extra-visible radiation source. I can't see them. But I've
    seen photos of most of them, and my expectation is that those photos represent reality, even when it's inconvenient as
    when I saw the chest X-ray of my collapsed lung. Personally, I'm glad that the radiologist didn't modify the image in
    Photoshop to make my lung appear to be healthy. That would have done me and a couple of surgeons a disservice. If you want to alter your Infrared photos for creative purposes, that's
    entirely up to you.
     
  67. Ilkka - "I find the suggestion that extensive modifications are somehow necessary for artistic expression..."
    I never made that statement or suggested it.
    Ilkka - "Of course, today people are much less naive as they're aware that it could all have been made-up by computer, and often is."
    True. Specially those under 40. We are leaving out context, which I believe makes all the difference, in this off-topic foray. The same picture on a museum wall is looked at differently than in National Geo, or Flickr.
    Ilkka - "The art community has a life of its own, of course, but it constitutes a very very small percentage of the photographs seen by the public."
    ...and it remains one of the few photographic experiences (outside of outright purchase) that the public will pay money to see.
    I do not feel like the unasked for, self-appointed Truthiness Steward for all those people who still believe that a photograph is a simple window upon the world, or that what they see in a photograph is replicated reality. Caveat Inpectoris.
    [Frankly, we have this same argument here every few months, with the usual results. It should be under the FAQs. ]
    Dan, it wasn't referred to as "trick photography" back then, just photography. And it wasn't put down or exalted all that much at the time. It was all normal, everyday.
    I cannot help but get the distinct feeling that specific photographers are defending their turf and market from the compositors. Words like "honest", "manipulated contrivances" etc. speak volumes.
    Ever use Velvia, Dan? Was that truth, dishonest, contrived, or what? Did it really look like that in real time when you were there? It didn't to me.
    It is clear where you, Ilkka and others are on this question, which is quite different from the original post.
     
  68. I like to push the limits of the potential of the system. Sometimes it produces a good result, but like everything else, most is not.
     
  69. > If you don't post process are you not just a slave to the machine?

    Are the folks who photograph sports and upload the images instantly for web publication slaves to their cameras? No,
    they are MASTERS of their cameras, which is why they can produce nearly perfect images without any post processing.

    I'm not knocking post processing; I do some amount of PP on most of my images. But in documetary situations with timelines that don't account for any PP, that doesn't meant that the photographer is a slave to anything or anyone. On the
    contrary, perhaps those who rely on PP to make an image appealing are slaves to their own chosen set of tools. "Sure, it looks bland now, but just wait until I get it into Photoshop!".
     
  70. I find the suggestion that extensive modifications are somehow necessary for artistic expression is ridiculous.​
    Ilkka, you're being intellectually dishonest and have given us a straw man argument, that is you have created an argument that's simplistic for you to argue against but one that was never stated here. No one suggested "extensive modifications are somehow necessary." We're saying they are possible and very acceptable, even if we don't like the ones made in the photo linked to in the OP. We haven't been proclaiming the SHOULD and SHOULD NOTS here.
    Tim had said this:
    When I trip the shutter I can't put in my mind another vision of something that scene isn't or can't be.​
    And in response, Richard said:
    I don't think I have ever heard(read) a painter or artist put that limitation on their art work before.​
    You then bring in photojournalism and documentary work, which is not what we were talking about. The photographer who was linked to in the OP was not claiming to be a pj or documentarian and that wasn't the subject at hand. Of course we know that there would be restrictions in those arenas.
    I agree with Richard. I can understand why Tim, a NON-DOCUMENTARY and NON-PJ photographer, might want to put any limitation on himself he wants. I can't understand why he'd want to put those limitations on others. I can't understand why he can't understand that others see the world differently and see the photographic process very differently from him.
    ______________________
    In answer to Tim's question:
    Where is HIS story originating from?​
    His mind's eye, his unique vision, his imagination . . . Consider that when he looks at the same scene as you and is behind the lens of the camera, he's not seeing even close to what you're seeing.
     
  71. Luis, good point. I prefer Velvia 100 because the colors look more accurate to me than the hyper saturated 50.

    Slide film is also an extremely high-contrast medium. It renders many scenes with Rembrandt-like shadows. That's part
    of the look and the appeal. But for that matter every film that you or I have ever used had/has its own unique look. So
    whether it's Velvia or Kodachrome or Tri-X or TMax 100 or Kodak drugstore print film, the film is making its own particular
    set of adjustments to the light provided by the lens and shutter.
     
  72. "But I've seen photos of most of them, and my expectation is that those photos represent reality,"
    I don't expect reality from photos like you, it seems. Do you want to know what he first thing that popped into my head when I saw your castle example?
    Terry Gilliam as Patsy from Holy Grail, (Camelot, Camelot, Camelot)...."It's only a model". I had expected to see just a stitched photo, it was immediately apparent that it was manipulated far more for the photographer's vision.
    It's not real, and that is why even models are called models.
    It's an illusion. And you are just an illusionist as a photographer. Please don't really believe in magic, it's not real. You can if you want to, I can't change your opinion on the matter. Please don't try and convince us that it is really magic.
    I can give you example after example of film and print manipulation that is analogous to some PS technique that is used trying to convince you that it was all done before a PC or Mac built. But you can find those examples yourself, and you're not going accept the examples anyway. So this is the part of this post where I would place links to those examples....
     
  73. the film is making its own particular set of adjustments to the light provided by the lens and shutter.​
    That's one of the many reasons why a photograph is DIFFERENT FROM the subject photographed. Though there is often a referential connection between a photo and the scene photographed, there is not as often a representational connection. I usually have very different expectations from a PHOTO of a scene and a SCENE, except for situations like where I'm checking out photos of houses I want to buy, and even then I'm more often surprised when I show up at the actual house. Sometimes the "accuracy" of a photo can be exciting and sometimes the "inaccuracy" of a photo can be exciting. I consider context, intent, and the finished product in assessing what level of accuracy works in what situations. In a lot of photographic contexts, considering "accuracy" doesn't even occur to me.
     
  74. Funny,

    I hadn't read the last three sentences of your first post before I made the illusionist analogy. Really, I didn't.

    You really do believe it is real.

    No matter how well the illusion is performed, the lady is not really sawed in half or is really levitating. It is a trick. And the
    measure of how good it is, is how well it is performed.

    The sky over the Golden Gate was not that blue, and there were no streaks of light where the cars were that night you
    photographed it. It is as fake as anything else that is manipulated photographically, and it is still a good photograph. You
    just used time(a long shutter speed) to do your manipulating. For it is the vision that you had, the illusion you wanted to
    perform.
     
  75. Rods and cones, Rich. Rods and cones. Color really does exist at night. It's not a magic trick, nor is it the result of
    fanciful thinking on my part. It's a physical reality and, like the foot placement of the running horse, one of the many
    phenomena that were hidden from us before the advent or cameras and light-sensitive media.

    "On second thought, let's not go to Camelot. It is a silly place."
     
  76. Dan, I understand the rods and cones part, really I do. The blue light was there, I don't doubt. But you did not see it that way when you took the photo. That was one of your points, that one would SEE the scene as you photographed it if they were there.
    The long shutter speed allowed you to capture 30 plus seconds of the blue light, that was there, that humans could not see. It is a trick, a good one, but a trick nonetheless. You had to "add up" all those blue registering photons to equal your photo over time.
    I would not SEE the castle as the other photographer originally photographed it, either, if I were standing there. It has convergence and lens distortion from the wide angle lens. Look at them, his castle is bent in the original photos. I photograph on film in black and white, I am not colorblind. And I don't expect my audience to be either. It is a trick I use to produce the images, even unedited straight prints, that I want to produce(my performance). I see in color, for the most part.

    For example, black and white immediately removes the sodium orange from the lights of The City, in my version of the GG bridge. When I took my version, the sky was not even a tinge of blue, the lights from The City were producing an orange cast to the overhanging clouds. It appears as light grey now.
     
  77. It's a physical reality and, like the foot placement of the running horse​
    This was a series of photos. Taken with multiple cameras. Inarguably, it also was the invention of motion pictures.
    This is not a good analogy for still photographs. Using long shutter speeds to enhance car light trails, or produce a flowing waterfall photo implying or suggesting motion is not the same as multiple still photos viewed in rapid succession. Motion pictures rely on a physiological effect of sensory memory(persistence of vision/memory) to simulate motion. It is not the same thing.
    You could have used the analogy of that old racecar photo taken with a planar shutter, which implied speeding motion. Any such blurring to suggest motion, in any such manner is still a trick.
     
  78. What's the name of the 1800s-1900s French photographer who would merge two plates for his prints. One for the sky and
    one for the ocean usually? I can't remember.
     
  79. Because of the low dynamic range of the old plates, it was virtually impossible to get the foreground and the sky properly exposed on one negative. Almost every early photograph that shows clouds in the background is done by shooting a separate sky shot or combining one from 'stock'. There were many early photographers who did composites to create romantic and historical scenes.
     
  80. Richard, I never claimed that still cameras work the same way that our eyes do. The differences are well known and clearly understood
    by any experiened photographer. They are also a recurring irritation to the layperson who wonders why "the picture didn't come out
    right," I.e. didn't match what they saw exactly.

    I was referring to making imaginary trees appear, making buildings look taller than they really are, and CHANGING the look of the light
    that existed at the time of capture. The linked photo does all of these. My GG Bridge picture does none of these. But, hey. I have to
    hand it to you for making the pedantic argument of the day while pointing out differences between eyes and cameras that we all
    understood clearly already. If you like I'll brush up on my Photoshop skills and make the bridge curve instead of going in a straight line.
    Then it won't match what I saw.
     
  81. Well, I've been over the Golden Gate Bridge sixteen thousand eight hundred forty-two times since I moved here in 1975. Never once have I seen a yellow light on the tower. (Of course, for many of those years, there were no lights on the tower.) Some light does occasionally look yellow, particularly indoor incandescent light, but the lights on the Golden Gate Bridge tower do not. So, your Golden Gate Bridge photo is very much a lie, though only by your own terms.
    It brings up an interesting point, though. The camera often captures things in a way so that they don't look accurate. Often, it is only through quite a bit of good post processing work that we can get the photo to look like what we actually saw, because the camera or the lens interpreted it inaccurately. So there are times when NOT post processing or missing things in post allows a so-called lie to live. How's that for a little twist?
     
  82. I want the viewer to feel a sense of trust that what they see is an accurate representation of what their eyes would have seen had they been standing beside me at the time of capture
    Dan, those are your words. Not mine.
    I am not being pedantic. I am making a clear point that your notion is wrong, using one of your own photographs as an example. It is a valid and rational debate technique.
    It will not convince you, of course. But if there is another reader here, some new photographer thinking about this topic with regard to their own photography, it might give him or her some food for thought on the topic.
     
  83. "They are also a recurring irritation to the layperson who wonders why "the picture didn't come out right," "​
    Untold thousands of layperson photographers since Ansel Adams have been wondering why their photos of Yosemite don't look like his. For decades. I have no obligation to them. To tell them how the magic trick was performed.
    I know many of his tricks now. And can duplicate them producing the images I want to produce. Making my own magic.
    My next performances are going to be my own versions of Jerry Uelsmann's style of blending. With negatives and enlargers. Because I have images in my head that I want to get out. If only for my own enjoyment and viewing.
     
  84. It's a perfectly acceptable twist, Fred. I don't know whether our eyes or our brains are responsible, but something in there adjusts
    color perception radically. The lights in most of our homes give off a garish orange light - as any camera set to Daylight WB will
    clearly attest - but our perception is that everything looks normal. We filter out the orange cast, just as we filter the blue
    cast of an overcast sky or a clear sky at high altitude. If anything, the camera captures and represents the colors MORE honestly than our eyes do. (I smile when people ask me why a shadow looks blue as though it's a fabrication.)

    But selective color perception is well understood by most photographers. It has nothing to do with my comments regarding the castle image (I hesitate to call it a photo). I never claimed that the gentleman used white balance to represent the color of the castle inaccurately. I criticized the creation of objects and light ex nihilo and the purposeful distortion of shapes.

    Regarding the bridge, some mercury vapor lamps create light with a yellow cast. What would you like me to do?
    Confess that I altered the colors of those lights in Photoshop? Good luck with that! I wouldn't have a clue as to how to undertake such an edit. I have no interest in altering the colors of objects in my photos, and due to sheer lack of skill in
    this area, I couldn't do it if you paid me. Maybe ignorance really is bliss at least in the realm of post processing. WYSIWYG
     
  85. I hesitate to call it a photo​
    Short for photograph.
    Photo, from Greek for light.
    Graph, from Greek for drawing or writing.
    Together forming a word meaning to draw with light, or a drawing of light, or a drawing with light.
     
  86. >>> My next performances are going to be my own versions of Jerry Uelsmann blending. With film and
    enlargers.

    As an aside, I've met Jerry Uelsmann and his wife Maggie Taylor. She's also a well-known photographer.
    What's great is that they approach surrealism differently. Jerry's work is all film and darkroom. And
    Maggie's is all Photoshop; with 40 layer composites not being unusual. Both great...
     
  87. Regarding the bridge, some mercury vapor lamps create light with a yellow cast. What would you like me to do?​
    I wouldn't like you to do anything except listen. I think your photo is just fine if you're happy with it. But the fact is the lights on the bridge aren't and don't look yellow like that. Your camera, perhaps with an inaccurate white balance setting, created that yellow. It is (in your words) lying to you. That yellow was NOT THERE. If you choose not to post process or not to have adjusted your white balance more "accurately" to begin with, then all I want you to do is recognize that your photo, like the castle photo, is NOT ACCURATE. The lights on the bridge tower are not and DO NOT APPEAR that yellow. I know shadows often look blue. That's different. The bridge lights have NEVER looked that yellow.
    Now, the fact of the matter is, you might prefer the yellow to a whiter light. It kind of goes along with the glossy color palette and glow of your light in that photo, none of which looks like the bridge when I look at it at night. I think keeping them yellow is a choice you've made, or that you didn't make and let the camera make for you. But know that it is a choice. And you have either chosen or simply defaulted to not making it more "realistic." Just like the castle guy.
     
  88. Rich, we're going around in circles. Everyone knows that photographic images differ from what we see with our eyes in
    several important ways. Color casts. Contrast. 2D vs. 3D. Movement. How many times do you want me to admit this
    before you'll feel that you have made your point?

    Looking at a photo of the Eiffel tower is not the same experience as starting beside it. I never implied anything to the
    contrary in any of my posts. But using puppet warp to make the tower bend over and dip its top in the Seine is a
    contrivance that any two-year-old would notice. Maybe that's someone's artistic vision. Great. I wouldn't do it in most
    cases, but I would consider it if I were making some sort of allegorical statement. Expressing fatigue or maybe the tower
    is looking for something that slipped away. Noticeably unrealistic and perfectly acceptable. It's making a point. I don't
    know what point the castle photo makes except that you can invent stuff if you're skilled in Photoshop. But who didn't
    know that?
     
  89. > It is (in your words) lying to you.

    Fred, I never used that verb anywhere in this discussion, so those aren't my words.
     
  90. Brad,
    There is a real part of me that knows that my project(s) would be much better suited to PS and digital. It would be much easier of course. There may even be challenges to it which can only be done digitally.
    I admired his stuff back when I was a layperson, and knew nothing about photography. Now that I know how he does it, I admire him and his work more.
     
  91. > Photo, from Greek for light.

    "Sawcy pedantique wretch

    Goe chide late schooleboyes."

    - John Donne
     
  92. I don't know what point the castle photo makes except that you can invent stuff if you're skilled in Photoshop.​
    Good.
    A painter invents stuff when he or she moves and pushes paint around a canvas. Are you dismissing painting because it is all completely invented?
    Or sculpting? I want to take a night photo of the Rodin Thinker copy in SF soon. Was he a hack too? It was completely invented, it doesn't exist at all. Is it pointless because it is completely fabricated? It must be even more pointless because it is a copy of a fabricated non existence, perhaps.
    And beyond beyond pointless to take a long exposure black and white photo of a copy of an invented thing.
     
  93. Fred, I never used that verb anywhere in this discussion, so those aren't my words.​
    Oh, please, Dan, don't dwell on the minutiae. The point of my post was to say that the yellow light on the bridge tower was inaccurate, and you declared accuracy to be important . . . the word you used was "honest." Address that. Don't worry about whether you actually used the verb "lie" or not. We often ignore the spirit of posts in favor of attending to a silly detail like that. It doesn't advance the conversation. It attempt to shut it down or at least sidestep it.
     
  94. What was Eastway sensitive to in taking the picture of the castle as it appears in the before image and making it look like it's glowing yellow with no obvious point source light? What was it about the scene that made him trip the shutter and felt he needed to add trees that weren't initially there? Was he being honest with himself? Genuine? in his reaction to what he saw?
    The story of any created image is about communicating to the viewer the creator's sensitivities whether in their head and/or what they saw and wanted to share with others. You can't lie to the viewer about the sensitivities that went into first SEEING the image and then creating/enhancing it into it's final rendering.
    This is why we make pictures. Accuracy has nothing to do with this. It's about knowing why the creator made the picture in the first place.
    You want to paint a picture to share this sensitivity to whatever is being expressed? That's fine. It will be known that it's a painting even if the painter made the image look as real or even more real than a photograph. The viewer knows it's a painting. There's no lie and the viewer gains even more understanding of the creator's sensitivity from a technical aspect.
    You want to take a picture with a camera to share a sensitivity with others that was seen through the viewfinder and then enhanced later in post to show this sensitivity? That's fine. You change it into something that wasn't there to begin with then you better tell someone what you did or you're depriving the viewer and the creator of additional SHARED sensitivities. The creator is not being honest. He is stealing from the viewer and shooting them self in the foot by not tooting their own horn about their technical prowess which is another form of sensitivity from a craftsmanship aspect. Are you following me so far?!
    If I'ld not seen Eastway's manipulations I would still look at that castle image as a mediocre attempt at capturing a castle because he's clearly screwed up the manipulation/enhancement into getting me to ask where the light source is coming from. It looks like a Kinkade/Velvet Elvis painting. Eastway is telling me in his manipulations that he'ld rather put lipstick on a pig as a part of his sensitivity instead of finding ANOTHER WAY of expressing his sensitivity for WHY HE TOOK THE SHOT IN THE FIRST PLACE.
    I'm not talking about accuracy here only if it applies to the creator being honest in expressing their sensitivity. I'm left with judging Eastway's intent because he's clearly worked the crap out of that image with very little to show and for what reason. I'm left not knowing a damn thing more about Eastway's sensitivities before I even saw that castle image.
    When the creator makes the viewer ask the wrong questions about an image, the creator has missed the boat or gone to far in manipulating the image into something no one knows FROM WHERE IT WAS DERIVED! You want to make a photo look like a painting? Fine! Tell the viewer or else you're making fools out of both.
     
  95. Come on, Tim. Do you really need the photographer or anyone else to tell you that castle in that photo was manipulated? Look at it, dislike it, and move on. That's what I did. It wasn't all that difficult. I didn't feel made a fool of. Did you?
     
  96. Fred, I could tell it was manipulated which makes me doubt Eastway's sensitivities and whether he even knows himself in how he expresses them. This is why I feel this level of photo manipulation is akin to giving scissors to children.
    Alternatively your access to the gay community as a framework in expressing an alternate universe with ingenious subtlety in your PN gallery yells loud and clear about your sensitivities over any kind of manipulation you decide to perform to express that alternate universe. I wouldn't care if you cut and pasted all of your images. It's the fact that you've made it clear you have this sensitivity that is unique to you and you alone and out shines any manipulation or enhancement. IOW I can tell your images have been manipulated but it adds instead of detracts. I'm not asking the wrong questions about your images when I look at them.
    Just think you're a better photographer than Eastway in this respect. Hope you're getting the same recognition.
     
  97. mike dixon

    mike dixon Moderator

    Photo, from Greek for light.
    Graph, from Greek for drawing or writing.
    Together forming a word meaning to draw with light, or a drawing of light, or a drawing with light.

    Flagrant, from Latin "flagrans," which means burning or fiery hot.
    That's just one example of a word derived from another language which doesn't mean the same thing as the original word. It wouldn't be difficult to compile a long list of such words. The origin of a word does not restrict or define its current meaning.
     
  98. This is why I feel this level of photo manipulation is akin to giving scissors to children.​
    Tim, what you're pointing to in bringing in my work is precisely where I think you and Dan have gone wrong, which I've said from the beginning. It's not about "the level of photo manipulation." It's about the sensibility behind the manipulation. What you are saying, with which I agree, is that it's not whether or how much manipulation is performed. It's how the manipulation relates to the imagery, to the style, to the content, to the message, etc.
    These discussions are begun and conducted with the wrong emphasis. The emphasis, as you have just made very clear, should not be on manipulation per se. It should be about aesthetics and aesthetic decisions. Why zero in on manipulation, which is a complete distraction from where our heads should be, which is on photographic sensibility?
    Instead of discussing the difficult and nuanced subject of how our photographic sensibility works and can best be brought to bear and utilized to communicate what we want to communicate, we instead waste our time talking about the very simplistic and distracting subject of whether or not we should manipulate an image. It's downright silly. And I think you've just made a great case for that.
     
  99. Tim, what is the point in arguing from a static viewpoint? You are making comments as if others views and opinions
    are irrelevant. You are asking why he does this. Does it matter. I also think some of your analogies show a stagnant
    non open point of view. To each his own.
     
  100. If an image creator puts that much work into an image they better have something to say in proportion. There's nothing wrong with Eastway's methods and the extent of effort behind the manipulation.
    It's the why I'm concerned about. It's a lot of work but I still don't get what he's saying with it as I do with others who manipulate photos to this extent.
    If I'm too lazy to want to put that much work into my own images, is that the wrong reason? At least I'm honest with what I'm not seeing in an image to make me not want to put that much work into it.
    You either got it or you don't. And if you don't, be honest with yourself and not try to make it into something it never was or can't be. Or just paint a picture.
     
  101. Tim, what is the point in arguing from a static viewpoint? You are making comments as if others views and opinions are irrelevant. You are asking why he does this. Does it matter. I also think some of your analogies show a stagnant non open point of view. To each his own.​
    Then don't read my viewpoints. Clearly you're not deriving any value from them, so why read them.
     
  102. Tim, I am reading all the view points, and I am finding it very interesting, I understand what you are saying, but what I
    am not understanding is that although you may not like what Eastway does, you seem to disregard his art form and
    dismiss it as irrelevant. It is a wonderful thing that opinions can differ so much. But dismissing one persons technique
    because you don't like it is fine, but to stamp your world view on it is somewhat narrow minded ( no disrespect or
    malice intended ). I am just offering my viewpoint from a person who happens to like and respect what east way does,
    I have followed his work for over 16 years. To that end I too am projecting a bias.
     
  103. If you show your picture to someone, and he asks if it's real, what do you say?
     
  104. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator Staff Member

    All of my photos are real, regardless of what processing they went through. A photo is a two dimensional object that is its own entity.
     
  105. Alan,

    You have black and white photos in your portfolio. Do you ever have anyone ask you if you really are colorblind?




    Of course my prints are real.
     
  106. I am sure that when Man Ray held exhibitions that the purists thought they were nonsense, irrelevant and tacky. It is
    usually those who push out of the comfort zone of the masses that stamp their mark on the art world. They are leaders
    in the field, not followers. They don't have a problem sticking their heads above others. I would put Eastway in this
    category (although I don't particularly like the castle image) but over the years he has challenged the conventional, and
    earned the right to the tittle of Master photographer.
     
  107. I didn't say I didn't like Eastway's work. I applied no blanket statement to the rest of his work which I did take a look at.
    I just didn't get why he needed to manipulate the castle image the way he did from the perspective of not knowing why he took the shot in the first place.
    His lengthy method of manipulation offered very little if none in attempts at injecting subtlety in the final image. Subtlety is the brick and mortar/molecular DNA (for lack of a better description) in an image that tells the viewer the image is more than what it is by virtue of the creator's intent behind manipulating it to the lengths provided. There's no "I like this image, but I can't put my finger on it as to why" nuance provided by the manipulation.
    With that particular image I'ld be more interested in why he needed to manipulate it over how.
     
  108. The photograph as an artist... When you spend more time in front of your computer screen altering your shots than out on the field capturing them, I would consider you're more of a graphic artist than a photographer. Your photographs are your clay, but the result (outstanding by any length) has more to do with graphic creation than photographic enhancement. It is, of course, my personal opinion, and you're free to disagree. To answer the opening question of the thread, (and even though I would be able to do it), I would not process my pictures to that extent.
     
  109. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator Staff Member

    When you spend more time in front of your computer screen altering your shots than out on the field capturing them​

    This is one of those absurdist ideas that pops up from time to time. It completely ignores the past, when some people would spend a week in the darkroom on a shot that took them a few minutes to make. Nobody called these people "darkroom artists" or anything similar. A photographer could spend a year in the darkroom on a handful of shots, and nobody thought they weren't a photographer.
     
  110. Tim, that is why I said I understand what you are saying.
    Jeff, there are many great photographers who don't have the technical ability to process images, both in the dark room
    and from a computer, I can agree that sometimes a lot of emphasis is placed on the finished image ie how it was
    processed, that said, I think historically many famous photographers never printed an image ( especially those using
    colour film) , although they may have directed the outcome. I would still say that the real art of photography lies in the
    ability to capture an image of strength. Easy to teach process, not so easy to teach a talent in vision.
     
  111. I would still say that the real art of photography lies in the ability to capture an image of strength.​
    Maybe so, maybe not. But it's NOT what you said.
    You said this:
    When you spend more time in front of your computer screen altering your shots than out on the field capturing them . . .​
    You're dead wrong. And it's not a matter of opinion. It's a fact that many great photographers/artists spent more time post processing the shot than they did shooting it.
    ANSEL ADAMS, the master graphic designer. LOL.
    You also show a fundamental misunderstanding of post processing when you say that post processing is a matter of altering what you've already shot. It's not. It's a matter of realizing what you want from what you shot. Adams knew that what he shot was only a score. To bring it to fruition, the score needs to be PERFORMED and the photo needs to be PROCESSED. The performer doesn't "alter" the score. That's simply the wrong vocabulary. He performs, he realizes, the score. That's what is done in darkrooms and sitting in front of the computer.
     
  112. Um Fred I didn't say that, Eric did.
     
  113. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator Staff Member

    a talent in vision.​
    This has nothing to do with capture or post-processing. It is part of something much bigger, which makes it clear how absurd all the rabid frothing about post-processing is.
     
  114. Mucho frotho. Hay caramba! :)

    > A photographer could spend a year in the darkroom on a handful of shots, and nobody thought they weren't a
    photographer.

    Dat's cuz da film RuLeZ! ;-)
     
  115. Sorry, Richard. my bad. I'll end my participation by suggesting to you that processing with vision is not any easier to teach than is shooting with vision. A good photographer doesn't see them as two separate processes. He sees them as aspects of the process of creating a photo. A good photographer processes with the same strength of vision and creativity that he shoots with.
     
  116. When shooting Raw and noodling around during post processing reacting to your own sensitivities with each change, it's nearly impossible not to imbue some personal subtlety and nuance from one's own personality and vision into the final image. You can always tell when someone put some thought into a creation by noticing all the different nuances whether seen in wood carving, fine tapestry or a homemade fishing lure.
    It's pounding the image into submission without taking the time to experiment and react to subtle nuances within the image is where mediocrity thrives. But the photographer has to have a sensitivity to this. Knowing when something looks interesting is a talent unto itself and usually requires just enough restraint to allow the photographer to see before something important is missed.
    This is why I like shooting Raw.
     
  117. Actually , I agree with you Fred they do both go hand in hand.
     
  118. Tim - "What was Eastway sensitive to in taking the picture of the castle as it appears in the before image and making it look like it's glowing yellow with no obvious point source light?"
    I can't know with any certainty, but I imagine he was gathering elements for digital collaging.
    "What was it about the scene that made him trip the shutter and felt he needed to add trees that weren't initially there?"
    His creativity.
    "Was he being honest with himself? Genuine? in his reaction to what he saw?"
    I imagine so. Why not? What he saw was potential for making something that wasn't there, and it's allowed.
    On the one hand, Tim freely acknowledges that Eastman's composite reveals what it is. On the other hand, he thinks there should be a label accompanying the image telling others what it is. Seems redundant.
    "It's about knowing why the creator made the picture in the first place."
    How do you know what you imagine the why to be to be correct? You may think you know, but you could be wrong. Even if the artist tells you. Historically, artists are notorious for speaking in riddles and avoiding explanations like the Plague. I look at lots of other people's art and write about it. I may have my own ideas as to the why, but I never assume I've nailed anything. Sometimes the artist himself does not know the why.
     
  119. James G. Dainis

    James G. Dainis Moderator

    My vacation photos usually look like the top middle one of the six that Mr. Eastway took to stitch. People would look at mine, ask what castle it is and move to the next. If I had Mr. Eastway's finished photo of Belmonte castle in with my usual drek they would say, "Wow, what a great photo!" Shows how dumb they are.
     
  120. Why would you want your vacation photos to look like something you didn't see?
     
  121. Alan: I think what you are referring to as vacation photos and more like snapshots you put into and album to show your sister.
    Whether I'm shooting around home or on vacation I have the same approach: I'm trying to use the camera to realize an image that I have conceived in my mind -- not to simply record that I was at some particular place. My vacation photos are not a crutch or supplement for my memory (though at times it could use it), but I hope a creative interpretation of the subject I shoot. More and more I view my camera as a digital sketchbook that I use to develop visual images. My goal is rarely (if ever) to simply produce a postcard picture of the place I'm visiting.
     
  122. Wish I had the time to read the entire post, but to reply in a way to the OP's original question I wish I had the ability to do such post processing. It is definitely a craft unto it's own. I do remove unwanted items when I can such as trash, a telephone line etc, but I'm not really proficient overall. In this case to take a picture and create a, what?, graphic?, is fine by me as the movies have been creating unreal scenes for ever and I still go see them. Reality never really looks perfect, so to say, and using tools to create something un-real is fine by me. I just can't do it or maybe I'd be a famous name and making big buck. Overall it's a graphic and not a real picture of something and neither was Star Trek or Star War's etc.
     
  123. The technique and medium the artist uses is in itself important to understanding the work. Somewhere in the matrix of production the photo part can be lost. Photos sometimes are almost oblitered by another medium. The end product is NOT considered a photograph by any stretch. This kind of information may be expanded on in the label. It is evident that some here find important distinctions.
    Does anybody here read the labels at art museums - the part that describes medium? My experience, paying close attention to them, has kept me fairly current with curatorial practices. They seem fairly consistent but some of you may have seen variations or omissions.
    Describing the object and medium accurately is obviously important to scholars and archivists. Pictures that have some photographic material substance are clearly stated: "Mixed media with photograph on canvas. " Or, "Epson ink jet photograph with watercolor wash on rag paper." The dominant technique used such as collage (PS or glue-pot) or specific multi-exposure techniques is stated to record the extent that the object deviates from basic methods of photography. An object that is not a photograph output to chromagenic, inkjet, etc. is "Digital media... on whatever". Being "based on a photo" in digital media is not the same as an oil painting or drawing based on a photo.
    00Zn9p-428351584.jpg
     
  124. processing with vision is not any easier to teach than is shooting with vision.​
    The level of difficulty was never at issue. The final effect is the issue.
    As I see it there are two approaches: seek out the light and compositions that you want and capture them in their natural form, or create them using any and all tools at your disposal. Which camp are you in and why? That was the intended goal of this discussion.
    I'm surprised that we haven't had more images posted along the way, e.g. I removed a to give the composition a less cluttered look, or there was a tree on the left, so I revised the composition to eliminate it. No matter; the discussion itself has been quite entertaining. ;-)
    Speaking only for myself, real light moves me emotionally. That's why I seek it out. That's why I'll come back another time if it's not happening today. Created works are inventive and require skill and effort, but they don't impact me in the same way. If that's your vision, more power to you.
    I'll leave you with an example, one of the first shots I ever took on 4x5 film. There were only a few weeks in the year when this shot was possible. At all other times the boats fell into shadows from tall buildings as the sunset approached (and today a hideous new pier obscures them even further). During those weeks I visited the site numerous times looking for the combination of light and sky that I wanted.
    Happy shooting!
    00ZnA8-428357584.jpg
     
  125. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator Staff Member

    The final effect is the issue.​
    That's why the route to get there isn't particularly relevant.
     
  126. processing with vision is not any easier to teach than is shooting with vision. --Fred
    The level of difficulty was never at issue. The final effect is the issue. --Dan​
    Dan, you're mistaken. It was at issue. Richard brought it up.
    I would still say that the real art of photography lies in the ability to capture an image of strength. Easy to teach process, not so easy to teach a talent in vision. --Richard​
    __________________________
    Here's a photo that got extensive work from me in the digital darkroom. I didn't add any elements. When I took the photo, it wasn't because I was fixated on the scene. It was because I saw something I could make a photo out of. I was seeing ahead. I saw potential in the scene. I also saw triteness in it. Picture postcards of it were floating before my mind's eye and I was laughing at them. This was the final result, the photograph, which was and is much more important to me than the scene.
    00ZnAS-428365584.jpg
     
  127. How do they keep the potatoes from rotting?
     
  128. As I see it there are two approaches: seek out the light and compositions that you want and capture them in their natural form, or create them using any and all tools at your disposal. Which camp are you in and why?​
    Neither or both. I go where the photo takes me. Either/or choices are usually some sort of trap or mind game.
     
  129. I'll grant you that one, Fred. Let me rephrase to say that it was never an issue to me.
    Very nice photo, by the way!
     
  130. That's why the route to get there isn't particularly relevant.​
    Can you make gold out of lead or Filet Mignon out of Spam? Input influences output.
     
  131. Straw man, Dan.


    Your set diagram is missing some subsets.

    For example, your filet analogy: The filet can be cooked(edited) correctly or incorrectly. Are you in the habit of eating filet
    mignon raw?
     
  132. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator Staff Member

    Why is the last stand for a flawed argument so often a bad analogy?
     
  133. OK, I'll modify my vacation question. So after you modified your vacation photo cloning in three trees on the left to balance out the composition, what do you tell your neighbor when he asks you if that's what you actually saw while you were on vacation? "Is it real?," he asks. Do you tell him that you edited it artistically for effect? Or do you just say that was what you saw? Will you feel comfortable with your answer?
    I don't want to know anyone's answer. Because I think each of us is different and have to make the choice that best fits ourselves. The answer we each give is for each of us to consider for ourselves. In my earlier post about"...a man knowing his limits..." was that whatever it is, you should be comfortable inside yourself with the answer. If you violate your inner core, your inner compass, all the explanations and rationale will not work for you! And it really doesn't matter what anyone thinks or says in this thread regardless of which side of the question they support.
     
  134. As I see it there are two approaches: seek out the light and compositions that you want and capture them in their natural form, or create them using any and all tools at your disposal​
    This is a false dichotomy. Any number of reasonable photographers, will seek out light and compositions which they want to capture and then use any and all tools at their disposal to create a final result which best exemplifies their vision of that light and composition.
     
  135. Straw man, Dan.​
    Wrong again.
    The filet can be cooked(edited) correctly or incorrectly.​
    I don't dispute that, merely that lesser quality meats cannot be processed into Filet Mignon.
    Are you in the habit of eating filet mignon raw?​
    No, but lots of people eat Steak Tartare. What does raw meat have to do with anything? Are you guys completely lost?
    Why is the last stand for a flawed argument so often a bad analogy?​
    Why is the last stand of many to attack the style of the argument rather than its substance?
     
  136. This is a false dichotomy.​
    No it's not.
    Any number of reasonable photographers, will seek out light and compositions which they want to capture and then use any and all tools at their disposal to create a final result which best exemplifies their vision of that light and composition.​
    That's absolutely correct, Gordon. And please notice that I never suggested that a photographer cannot use both approaches. They can even be combined on the same project as you suggest. I simply suggested that two approaches exist. There was no mention of exclusivity.
     
  137. There is an implication that a photographer should be limited to what the eye sees. Typically I don't compose the image in
    the camera or even with my eyes. I use my imagination to compose the image ... Maybe days, weeks or months before I
    pick up the camera. The camera is just one of the tools used to bring the conceived image to fruition.
     
  138. RE rotten produce? Probably a grad student is responsible for refreshing the potatoes since the Fogg acquired the piece in 2010. I should ask. The thing was made in the early 70's! Google Victor Grippo (images) - he loved his spuds. I know other spud artists. One is currently doing 1000 spud pics. Say, this isn't OT is it?
     
  139. James G. Dainis

    James G. Dainis Moderator

    Of course, if I were to take my vacation photos and process them to the degree that Mr. Eastway does, people would look at them and say, "Wow, you must have a really nice camera!"
     
  140. Wayne: why are you making a connection between reality and a photograph? That is a purely arbitrary and artificial
    connection. Reality is four dimensional and photographs are merely two dimensional. At best, a photograph is a partial
    representation of some reality, but there is no reason that it must be, or even should be.

    I realize that the views we all are taking here are personal and purely subjective. I guess also that no two are like any
    more than our photographs would be alike if each of us was told to photograph the same subject. Because no two can be
    alike, the direct relationship with ny reality is irretrievably broken ... Or more precisely, never existed.
     
  141. The end result is nice, but I don't like the fact that the original photo was a flat, middle of the day shot. What happened to chasing the light and the magic hour? In my opinion this guy is an artist, but in the art of photoshop, not photography. The photo sucked, but since the guy does have a talent within photoshop, he turned it into a nice image. I wish I was this skilled on the post side, but I'm not. I may not use that skill to rescue a bad photo, but it would be nice to have that skill to put towards great photographs.
     
  142. Isn't post processing (Photoshop) every bit as legitimate a part of the process of creating a photograph as choosing the
    subject, selecting the camera and lens, visualizing the final product, setting up the tripod, lighting the subject or tripping
    the shutter?
     
  143. Nathan, when one is on holiday you cant expect wonderful light all the time, you get what your given, and you cant always be at a certain location at a certain time of day.
    I will be travelling through the USA next April May, and i know there will be parts of the country that i want to photograph but because of my itinerary not all places i will visit will be during the best time of day. And the weather may inhibit what results i get as well. But I will do the best with what presents me, and if PS tools help me create a better image because of what poor lighting etc then at least i can try to make something of what i capture.
    A trip i took to central Australia this year specifically for photography presented great clear days and nights, unfortunately no drama in the skies, people commented on that about the images i got, the critiques where, the skies are a bit uneventful, but hey that was out of my control. I could have done what Eastway does and add a sky, but i dont have the skills or the motivation to edit that much.
    The comment about him not being an artist in photographer, i completely dissagree with. I suggest you check out some of his work. and accolades bestowed apon him. http://www.petereastway.com/showports.taf
     
  144. Would everyone agree that in photojournalism, editing what's in a photo to change the content should not be done? While I would argue that improving the contrast and color is acceptable on the right photo, the removal of people is not. Hmmm. Interesting it was the photographers that were removed. What could that mean?
    http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/12/28/from-north-korea-an-altered-procession/?partner=rss&emc=rss
     
  145. I will be travelling through the USA next April May, and i know there will be parts of the country that i want to photograph but because of my itinerary not all places i will visit will be during the best time of day. And the weather may inhibit what results i get as well. But I will do the best with what presents me.​
    You have a good attitude about working with what it presented. I find that it helps to match the subject to the light. If the light isn't great for castles and sweeping vistas, maybe flowers or portraits or macro photography would work. Brightly colored objects still look bright on dull days. Textures and patterns can hold interest when color fails. Bad light can happen, but bad USE of light is avoidable.
     
  146. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator Staff Member

    This has nothing to do with photojournalism.
     
  147. Interesting link, Alan.
     
  148. Isn't post processing (Photoshop) every bit as legitimate a part of the process of creating a photograph as choosing the subject, selecting the camera and lens, visualizing the final product, setting up the tripod, lighting the subject or tripping the shutter?​
    I suppose that it depends on the degree of veracity required by the photograph's usage. For art, it doesn't matter if you move objects around. For evidence in a bank robbery or the final play of a sporting match, contrived composition would not be a great idea.
    Other than that, the limits that we follow are the ones that we impose upon ourselves. I process every image. I fix lens distortion, adjust contrast, adjust white balance, sharpen, etc. Sometimes I remove blemishes from skin, remove birds from the sky and remove electrical wires from a scene. I'm comfortable with all of these edits. Others might be comfortable doing more, others less.
    If there were a plug-in that looked just like the light that I seek, I would be tempted to use it at least occasionally. If it could be used to rescue an unrepeatable moment at someone's wedding for example, it would be well worth the effort. But nothing like that exists, and there's nothing like really good REAL light. That's why I seek out great light. At the end of the day I'm going to process that light a bit more to optimize it. But I'm not going to shoot a dull, flat, gray scene and use tricks to try to fool people that I shot it in good light. It just doesn't look as good to me even though it might look fine to you.
     
  149. Jeff: I thought that since there is so much disagreement in this thread, I was looking for some common ground where we all could agree on something, at least in the area of Photojournalism editing. The OP's point, I believe, did not rule out photojournalism pictures from the discussion.
    One thing interesting if you check Eastman's site. He calls his work, "Photo Art". And if you look at a lot of his pictures, they are obviously changed artistically. It's obvious in many of his photos, if not the one in question, that they are heavily changed and edited and could not be confused to represent the actual scene.
     
  150. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator Staff Member

    the limits that we follow are the ones that we impose upon ourselves.​
    Advancement in art, and in most areas, usually comes from the people who don't impose limits.
     
  151. Advancement in art, and in most areas, usually comes from the people who don't impose limits.​
    I kind of agree with the spirit of Jeff's statement, but there are some important caveats I'd make.
    Sometimes, self-imposed limits are very much part of a creative process. Hitchcock was famous for setting limits to work within. Rope has unprecedented long, continuous takes by design. Lifeboat was limited to the lifeboat for the entire film. Ravel famously wrote a piano concerto for left hand only, written specifically for Wittgenstein's brother Paul who had lost an arm in WWI. Now, Ravel's is a case where there was a practical reason for the limits. So let's take John Cage's Four Walls for piano, in which he limited the piece to the playing of white keys only. There are many other examples. I've done photography projects where I've imposed all kinds of limits on myself, which actually can enhance my creativity rather than diminishing it.
    One key for me is not imposing whatever limits I may adopt at a given time on anyone else. And that doesn't just mean paying lip service by saying everyone's entitled to do what they want. It means not suggesting that you're welcome to do whatever you want but if you don't set the same limits as me you're not being honest and it means not suggesting you're welcome to do anything you want and if you don't work within the same limits as me what you come up with is not called a photograph.
    Another key can be knowing what the limits are and being honest to yourself, to the extent possible, about why you're abiding by those limits, if you are. Even if you devise arbitrary limits, the consciousness you have of those limits is significant.
    Accepting others' limits unthinkingly can undermine creativity.
     
  152. Fred: I think you make a very good point. One of the things that it is fun to challenge yourself with are those self imposed limits and then push the envelope to the edge. I used to have my students do assignments with these sort of constraints. For example -- "get the best image you can that is underexposed by three stops."
     
  153. It would seem to me that the answer to the question posed by the OP would be a simple "yes" or "no". In my case it's a "no", but who cares? It's an image that's all, you either like it or you don't - it's not pretending to be anything it isn't - it's not being used by a travel agency to attract tourists to the castle.
    I'm unsure why there is so much distain, chest beating and superiority being thrown about over something as simple and unthreatening as the way someone else chooses to process his own images. There is no right and wrong unless there is deliberate deception or fraud. I'm guessing Salvador Dali would be in serious trouble with this crowd!
    As has been previously stated, every photograph is merely a two dimensional representation of a single moment in time, and as such reality has already been distorted and altered by the photographer. If the aim is to create art and not be subjected to the banal, endless questioning of "Is it real" (?!) then who cares what someone else does? You like it or you don't, but questioning its viability or legitimacy seems shallow and pompous at best.
     
  154. John: Nail, meet hammer head.
     
  155. Fred, good point about limits inspiring creativity. Necessity is the mother of invention.

    Thanks for the notable examples. Robert Fripp produced a couple of Peter Gabriel's early albums. On one of them he refused to use
    any cymbals. He wanted the other instruments to fill the high frequency range that the cymbals typically dominate. Bruce Springsteen
    recorded his Nebraska album in a spare bedroom. There's a story about one of David Bowie's recording sessions where he made his
    band members switch instruments to see what would happen.

    The scene from A Hard Days Night where the Fab Four are running around in a playground was filmed on a day when John was
    committed to appear at a book signing. The footage was filmed from far away. Had all of the Beatles been present the cinematographers
    might have filmed the scene very differently.
     
  156. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator Staff Member

    Robert Fripp produced a couple of Peter Gabriel's early albums. On one of them he refused to use any cymbals. He wanted the other instruments to fill the high frequency range that the cymbals typically dominate. Bruce Springsteen recorded his Nebraska album in a spare bedroom. There's a story about one of David Bowie's recording sessions where he made his band members switch instruments to see what would happen.​
    These aren't particularly good examples of "limits" being used. Gabriel's album wasn't ground-breaking, some good songs, but nothing special about the sound. Most people other than drummers and people who read about it have to be told that there are no cymbals.
    Springsteen's album is more an example of not setting limits. The normal "limits" for recording pop albums rarely extend beyond the standard studio setup. By ignoring the "limits" for pop recording, Springsteen did make something more notable. By the way, the same was true of "Street Fighting Man," which was recorded ignoring the normal limits of studio recording.
    Bowie's example is also one of ignoring "limits." It's yet another example of someone who went completely outside what is normally done. And all are different than the idea of sticking to the methods of twenty or fifty years ago, which refusing to test the bounds of creativity with the interaction of computers and photographs does. That's a limit, and one which ultimately will bring no advances.
     
  157. So you don't like Dan's examples, Jeff...how about Fred's?
     
  158. The manipulation/anti-manipulation should have been burried in the last century but it keeps on raising its head .. again ... and again .... and again ... urrrgh!
     
  159. Why are so many here approaching this like there is a right or wrong answer? Let me pose an equally important question:
    which is better, Mozart, chocolate or the Green Bay Packers?
     
  160. Thank you John - finally an easy question. The answer, of course, is chocolate.
     
  161. John: it was a trick question. The correct answer is beer.
     
  162. Must be beer. Ya can't get tanked on chocolate,Mozart, or the Packers.
     
  163. Yep, put me down for beer as well, especially since I'm a Steelers fan.
     
  164. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator Staff Member

    John G, thanks for your enlightening opinion.
     
  165. I'll drink to that. What I want to know is this unfiltered beer, or has it had a lot of processing?
     
  166. Assuming it was really dark, I'd take the chocolate -- and eat it along with a good Cabernet, which will get you just as tanked as beer if you drink enough, but in my opinion tastes a lot better.
     
  167. you're so funny, Jeff. you just slay me with that wit of yours!
     
  168. Steelers fan as well, Dan! Got a favorite NFL team, Jeff?
     
  169. I still want to know if beer has tone natural and unfiltered, or if it can be heavily processed and still be beer?
     
  170. John, I've found that most advancement in the brewing of good beer has come about as the result of the brewmaster
    not imposing limits on the process...so I'd think you could process the living hell out of it and it would be just that much
    better! Of course that's coming from someone who's seldom met a beer he didn't like.
     
  171. John, I was just reading your bio and found that you spent a month in Yosemite with AA! We have to talk sometime.
    I'd love to listen for as long as you'd care to talk about your time spent with "the master"!
     
  172. John, beer is a close to nature and all natural product. It has been brewed for thousands of years with out any processing.
    Beer is meant to be natural and should not be tampered with by those using modern technology.

    I'd love to talk to you. I had both knees replaced ten days ago and am doing a lot of hanging out.
     
  173. Yea, John...my "processing" remarks were made with tongue planted firmly in cheek ;). Sorry to hear you're laid up,
    but I'm sure the surgery will be for the best...although recovery is no fun. I have bad knees myself but have been able
    to avoid surgery thus far. My wife is a physical therapist at a sports medicine clinic & works with patients just like you
    on a daily basis, so if some day if the knees finally wear out, at least I'll have the luxury of my own personal therapist!
    I'll get some sleep and I'll drop you an e-mail about our AA chat. I look forward to talking with you. - JG
     
  174. John: I'm glad we can all treat photographic discussions as if they were matters of life and death. However, beer is much more important than that and requires special reverence! ;-)
    Drop me a line at johne37179@tds.net
     
  175. Wow, John, I wish you a speedy recovery. I hope that the new knees will give you a good boost in mobility.
    As the song says: "I like beer / It makes me a jolly good fellow!"
    Go Steelers!
    :)
     
  176. Thanks, Dan. I'm looking forward to being bake to take pictures more than 50 feet from the car once again. I live near Shenandoah National Park and hope to be on the trails again this Spring.
     
  177. You guys need a break. How many days will this go on?
    Here, go contemplate these images from a member whose recent absence no doubt leads to 'touchiness' here: (link)
     
  178. Who's touchy?
     
  179. I was wondering the same thing, John.
     
  180. Or was that touché?
     
  181. John, good luck on the recovery of your knee op. i know some blokes who had it done, they were like new men once they recovered from the surgery. Good luck
     
  182. The comment about him not being an artist in photographer, i completely dissagree with.​
    Perhaps you're right. I haven't seen his other work, and basing my judgement on this one photo, I'm not impressed. I should not have judged a photographer by one photograph.
     
  183. I do not want to beat a dead horse here but it comes down to the use of the photo. I often use stitching, subtle hdr, other types of post processing but always to try to do it to the needs of the client. Sometimes hdr is required to get a perfect exposure or stitching is needed to gain the right field of view or more commonly for me a high resolution. When a client requests photos with this type of capture I am an image maker. There is nothing wrong with making an image that best represents the scene or product. I agree that if what he made was being used for commercial work that that would be misleading. But I often spend many hours post processing images to get them absolutely right. I guess it depends on your personal style but to get absolutely perfect images in the commercial world these techniques are used everyday. Though i would like to point out that his image would be far from acceptable due to the distortion, the lighting looks fake, and overall LOOKS processed. I might post process a lot but strive to make sure the viewer would never know.
     
  184. "Further, he was generous enough to share the details of his approach to post-processing freely with the photographic community."

    It's pathetic. I was expecting some kind of HDR-ed monstrosity but it's just a pathetic photography. The kind of thing most people could knock up in five minutes. It's a facile, useless example of instructional technique and - more importantly - it's a rubbish image. It looks tacky and cheap, like the kind of thing you'd see on a Hong Kong eBay auction for UV filters. He's chopped the tops off the trees, used awful selective colour with a shoddy mask, and it just looks rubbish. It makes the castle look like a cheap plastic model.

    Shot with a Phase One P45+, no less. I picture a self-unaware idiot waffling on about the rapturous wonder of nature, etc; either incredibly naive and pampered, living in a bubble, or a trained salesman with a fixed smile. I'm seriously unimpressed with Luminous Landscape, to put it mildly, and all the people who write for it. Vast, vast quantities of expensive equipment lugged across striking landscape; utterly bland photographs of distant trees, pelicans, the same picture postcard rubbish year after year. Small businessmen who shoot images to illustrate lectures and workshops, pompous self-aggrandising miniature people who want their shot at immortality without putting in the work. They will pass from this world leaving nothing behind.

    "I was so impressed with Belmonte that I took my family back the next day and was treated to a beautiful misty morning" - yeah, I bet you did, you woke them up at 06:00 so you could take a rubbish photograph of a castle. The weird thing is that the rest of his work, on his website, is often very good. Perhaps he was asked to submit an article to Luminous Landscape, and he just tossed something worthless off for the publicity. It doesn't help me at all.
     
  185. There's no need to hold back, folks. Tell us how you REALLY feel.
    ;-)
    Maybe the Phase people should ask the publisher to add a disclaimer to the article. ("This image isn't representative of the capabilities of our camera systems.")
     
  186. >>> Tell us how you REALLY feel.
    OK. Two words. Thomas Kinkade...
     
  187. Ashley, dont hold back mate, i mean dont let fear stand in your way. Your abhorence is evident, But to say it is pathetic as an absolute is just nonesence, What you really mean to say is you dont like it, you may even hate it. What you have is an opinion, we all have one of those.
     
  188. But, Richard: does Ashley, or do any/ all of us have to preface everything we say with..."it's just my opinion" , or risk being
    accused of expressing some "absolute" , universal statement? I think it's abundantly obvious that he's expressing how
    he thinks/feels about the photograph...
     
  189. JOhn you are right, but its a full on opinion,
    Brad, I just checked out Thomas Kinkade, and for me his work is not a pleasure to look at. To me it apears as if he is creating almost a cartoon like scene, something from snow white or something, And thats ok, what ever floats your boat.
     
  190. Richard, not sure I understand what you mean by "full on"...but whether or not I agreed with his opinion or not, it was
    refreshing to hear someone say what's "REALLY on his mind"...minus all the tip-toeing around that's so prevalent in so
    many responses. I'm right...but?
     
  191. Richard, one thing for sure; we agree about Kinkaid. Should you be interested...you might want to Google a bit. Lots of
    controversy regarding the ethics of his business practices.
     
  192. When enough people agree and when a lot of experts agree (and I do think there are photography experts as there are in other fields, including painting, sculpture, and plumbing), it can go beyond opinion. I may not know much about opera (I happen to know a fair amount about it). And if I say I don't like a certain opera and many people who have much greater exposure to and fluency with opera tell me the one I don't like is a good one, I tend to put stock in what they've said. I may not be capable at the moment of liking it any more, but I can accept it as good and set my own opinion aside in making that judgment.
    One's opinion is often ONLY one's opinion (though it may be a strong one and the only thing we may have at the moment) and there is a lot of very real stuff beyond opinion, in my opinion(!). That's why my not liking a certain opera doesn't make it a bad opera. This is tricky stuff, but I very much believe there's a lot more than opinion on a lot of these matters. It's somewhat in vogue to say art is all subjective and just a matter of taste. I don't think so, and that's not the way art has always been viewed or thought of. I think there are many objective judgments that can be made and I consider some people more qualified to make those judgments than others. [I'm not specifically talking about the photographer or the opinions about his work in this thread.]
     
  193. >>> And thats ok, what ever floats your boat.
    We are talking about the Painter of Light, you know...
     
  194. Fred, I know nothing of opera, with what relatively little I've heard coming from movies or TV (it's a bit embarrassing
    making the admission). With more exposure, perhaps I would have acquired more of a taste for it than I presently
    have...but nonetheless, from time to time I do hear opera that I truly enjoy.

    Case in point: "Vide Cor Meum"' written by Patrick Cassidy. I understand Cassidy was commissioned to write the
    piece for the movie, "Hannibal" (of all things). I'm simply in love with with this aria. So a question to you, Fred : as
    someone who does know opera...how would you rate this particular piece of opera?
     
  195. I wouldn't rate it in this context, John. I'd appreciate the fact that it's caught your attention and introduced you to the world of opera. From there, I'd just encourage you to listen to more and form your own judgments over time, but most of all and long before judging, I'd say just listen and enjoy.
    To add to your opera repertoire, here's one of the most beloved of arias, Casta Diva from Bellini's Norma.
     
  196. "Tell us how you REALLY feel."
    Teapot tempest. The indignation was amusing. The original question was personal and, as some of us responded, a yes or no, but thread entropy took this well beyond that, to Kinkade's business practices.
    "...pompous self-aggrandising miniature people who want their shot at immortality..."
    Imagine that in a giggle of photographers. Thank God that only happens elsewhere.
     
  197. Personally processing an image to this degree is certainly something I wouldn't do however my objection comes when a photographer tries to pawn work like this off as a photograph rather than a digital manipulation. Unfortunately there are many photographers out there that fall in this bracket.
     
  198. Guy: How did you get to define "photograph?" Photographs have always been manipulations -- chemical before they were digital.
     
  199. How about this image from 1932?
    00Zojy-430039584.jpg
     
  200. John, that posted 1932 photograph is apples to oranges by comparison to the OP's linked tutorial.
    That posted image above makes it obvious that it is a manipulated photo. The viewer is in on the experience of what the artist wanted to say.
    The image of the doctored castle landscape isn't a landscape at all but a composite and a mediocre one at best of something that doesn't exist, but it's not made obvious to the viewer as Guy pointed out.
    It's a lie and bad one at that. The effort put into making it the way it looks says more about the lack of vision from the artist-no strike that-SCREAMS bad judgement and vision on the part of the artist. It's just a bad example for showing why someone would NEED to manipulate a photo like that. There's no aesthetics value or payoff for all the work put into it.
    As I said before I'ld be more interested in why Eastway edited and even shot the image of the castle, not how.
    It leads me to question the creative impetuous behind the rest of the his work that isn't that bad but does look manipulated/stylized.
     
  201. My point is "who cares?" There is no standard that says: This is a photograph and this is a digital image, or whatever. The camera and the rest of the system, be it a chemical darkroom or a digital CPU are all creative tools. A photographer can be a creative artist. It is purely an artificial construct to draw some sort of imaginary and totally subjective line that defines "photography". The artist/photographer did what he did because he liked it or wanted to experiment with it. You can choose to like it or not, but your view does not matter a wit as to the legitimacy of what was done.
     
  202. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator Staff Member

    It's a lie​

    It's not a lie. It's a photograph. Photographs are two-dimensional objects that don't have the ability to tell the truth or lie.
     
  203. Great point Jeff. In the sense that no photograph can reproduce its 4 dimensional subject, all are lies. I guess some might lie better than others. Not to mention photographers and fishermen as accomplished liars.
     
  204. From the article about Peter Eastway:
    Australian Landscape Photographer of the Year three times.
    Is it really a landscape if the resulting landscape image wasn't wholly based on an actual one?
    Just wondering.
     
  205. Of course it was based on the actual one. If you were standing any where near where the shot was taken from would you have any doubt about it being the right location?
     
  206. I was thinking of the trees as integral to that specific landscape.
     
  207. When did "wholly" become "holy"?
     
  208. In the sense that no photograph can reproduce its 4 dimensional subject, all are lies.
    This is such nonsense. Equally, I could say that "since no sentence can tell the whole truth about all things in the world, all sentences are lies."
    A photograph is a two-dimensional projection created by light hitting a photosensitive surface and forming an image. The characteristics of the projection are determined mostly by the optical system in use. The relationship between photograph and reality is generally known and understood by even lay people (even if non-mathematically). It is strange to suggest that there is no relationship.
    A digital image which is altered like the image referenced in the original post is something else entirely. It's a merger between photography and drawing, in a way. Not straight drawing or painting or photography, but a mixture.
     
  209. The optics are just the first step in a 1000 step journey. I didn't know that chemical and digital processes were outside the
    laws of physics! All photographs are mixtures of multiple components.
     
  210. I like JDM's merger of techniques/technologies description. That describes the Eastway image accurately.
     
  211. It's a lie from a perspective on what the artist is trying to communicate to the viewer. What's a photograph? It's just a word.
    What's an idea? An emotion? It's what makes a person. We're not cyborgs. We don't view images/photographs/paintings/sketches (pick a medium) just so we can view them. We view them to gain further understanding of what is being said by the artist.
    The least we can gain from the artist/photographer as a communicator is they show us their sensitivity to know when to trip the shutter at the right time. With the Eastway example he didn't even do that or else he wouldn't needed to manipulate it to the levels lined out in the tutorial.
    Or maybe this is really just all about "garbage in, garbage out" and we can agree to that.
     
  212. The least we can gain from the artist/photographer as a communicator is they show us their sensitivity to know when to trip the shutter at the right time.​
    That's just your own imposed and arbitrary rule. Man Ray didn't do. Why should Eastman? What Man Ray had that Eastman didn't was NOT that he gave me the sense that he needed to trip the shutter when he did. He often didn't even trip a shutter. What Man Ray had was an aesthetic sensibility, a vision I cared about, a vision that was intertwined with his process. Eastman, as far as I'm concerned, is just snapping a shutter and then pushing buttons and creating something I don't care about. I don't care about WHAT I SEE when I look at his work. It's not how he does it that bothers me.
     
  213. Fred, I think you are absolutely right. Even the very traditional photographers, like Ansel Adams, had a vision they sought to execute -- both with the camera and in the darkroom. I have no doubt that if Ansel were shooting today he would be pushing the limits of Photoshop. He certainly pushed the limits of the traditional darkroom. He designed his own enlarger, he played with the chemistry and he meticulously recorded the results to be able to reproduce them. Ansel would at times spend months or even years waiting for the right circumstances to come together so that he could execute his vision. Those who have read his books will be familiar with his "previualization" terms. I remember going with him to a site in Yosemite that he had probably visited over a hundred times. We spent most of a day there and he never felt the light was right and we left with out him tripping the shutter. I, on the other hand took dozens of pictures. My vision clearly was not his. I don't think any here would call Ansel's photographs "lies", but they may be as far from the scene in front of the camera given the tools available to Ansel, as some of the heavily Photoshopped images today. Ansel wasn't trying to capture nature in the raw. He tried and frequently succeeded in capturing his personal and preconceived vision of nature.
     
  214. I might call Adams's photos lies just as I might call any photo a lie. But I'd use it as a term of endearment, not one of derision. "Art" and "artificial" have the same root. There is a sense in which all art is a lie, ironically usually a lie that tells an important truth. A kind of magic. Go figure.
     
  215. There is a sense in which all art is a lie, ironically usually a lie that tells an important truth.​
    Bravo Fred, this long exchange has at least advance the many previous discussions on "lies and photography". The Casual photo forum is here more fertile than the Philosophy forum has been.
     
  216. No body reads what I write. They interpret. I give up.
     
  217. Tim, I always thought that art was a search for the truth -- not lie. ...all those years I've wasted.
     
  218. What I've learned here is that photographers are all a bunch of liars. ;-)
     
  219. "Ansel would at times spend months or even years waiting for the right circumstances to come together so that he could
    execute his vision"

    Or just hurriedly stop and jump out of his truck. Take the single shot then photoshop it dramatically back in the darkroom.

    He was very reluctant to print a straight print of Moonrise Hernandez, I believe only one print was shown. And it is a pretty
    mundane snapshot photo in comparison.

    http://www.leeduguid.com.au/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/Ansel-Adams-with-straight-and-fine-print-of-Moonrise.jpg


    In an interview Adams(on youtube somewhere) said that it is his most popular print, the photoshopped one I mean.


    "Those who have read his books will be familiar with his "previualization" terms"

    He was previsualizing how he was going to photoshop the negative. He saw in his mind how he was going to edit it to make the image he wanted to make. Sounds exactly what Eastway did.
     
  220. I'd never seen both versions side- by- side. Thanks, Richard!
     
  221. The side by side versions are exactly what I would expect. A negative with all the information, and a print conveying a
    vision, this really is no different than most accomplished photographers, it's the vision that people have issue with..
     
  222. So Ansel took several photos of different locations and pieced them together as a composite to fit his vision he had in his head? If so, then Ansel was using reality as just a blueprint/framework to create a picture of a scene that doesn't exist except in his head?
    I didn't know this could be done in the darkroom, but then the only darkroom I've ever worked in was for shooting and enlarging with a graphics camera logos off business cards to appear in newspaper ads and t-shirts. I couldn't perform composites in there to save my life. I had to resort to piecing layouts and graphic elements on a light table and reshoot with the graphics camera as one single composite image.
     
  223. The optics are just the first step in a 1000 step journey. I didn't know that chemical and digital processes were outside the laws of physics! All photographs are mixtures of multiple components.
    So where do you draw the line of what you still call a photograph? Record an image with a camera, then draw a cartoon on top of it and leave one pixel of the original photograph intact. Is it still a photograph when you have one pixel left that was recorded by a camera and the rest you drew by mouse? What about when you print the "photo", and finally 50 years after that the paper is recycled and made into some raw material that could be used to make paper again. Is the physical ink pigment that held that one pixel still enough for you to maintain that that lump of pulp is a photograph? It's all governed by physical processes after all.
    No. A digitally edited image that originated from a photographic image recorded by a camera is something else. It could be a reproduction of a photograph if faithful to the original image, or it could be a piece of digital art. But the photograph is the image which was captured by the camera.
    By the way I sincerely doubt that you do 1000 editing operations on a typical file you capture with a camera.
     
  224. Tim,

    I am sure you are familiar with Jerry Uelsman. He uses several negatives with six enlargers to produce his
    photographs.

    http://www.uelsmann.net/data/pages/061208082602_1Home01.jpg

    http://www.uelsmann.net/home-p_1.html

    "I didn't know this could be done in the darkroom," Of course it can.



    "If so, then Ansel was using reality as just a blueprint/framework to create a picture of a scene that doesn't exist except in his head?"

    If you watch his interviews or read the introductions of his many books, he says this exactly. Usually using a different analogy(music), but yes this is true.
     
  225. Kerik Kouklis is an alternative process photographer. You should check out his work.

    http://www.kerik.com/new/

    He uses several different processes and workflows for his work. One of which is to scan a plate, print it to a large
    transparancy, then contact print to paper. The vast majority of his work is done using 100+ year old techniques, that you
    or I would probabably never use, and then uses PhotoShop during the making of a REAL photograph.

    I am fascinated by this process and his work. And if Ilford goes bankrupt after Kodak, it's something I might be forced to
    take up.

    Cool video.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdGV_XGgWCg&feature=youtube_gdata_player
     
  226. +10000 to everything that Ilkka said above. There's a point where the image diverges far enough from the original content of the negative (file, etc.) that it should be considered something other than a photograph.
    I can't offer an objective way to determine where that "fine line" lies, but to extend Ilkka's analogy, if I took a photo of a model in a bikini, isolated only the bikini in a Photoshop layer and pasted it onto a drawing of Miss Piggy, I would no longer call the end result a photograph, even though the final image contained some amount of information captured by a still camera. If on the other hand, I used lights and a backdrop to photograph the muppet dressed in a bikini, I would still call that a photograph.
     
  227. Dan,

    Take your "non photo" of Miss Piggy in a bikini and print it.

    Now take a photograph of that print(with a background and lights, ha).

    Would you call the photograph a photograph?
     
  228. We can argue about what's a photograph and what's not a photograph. That's a whole lot of fun. But we're being disingenuous. I think it's been shown quite clearly on this thread that we are using different standards depending mostly on our taste to determine what's a photograph and what's not. It's got more to do with our taste than what medium is used. So, it's rare that the work of ManRay or the work of Adams is referred to as a non-photograph and yet, people who do no more manipulation than they and play around with the medium no more than they are called non-photographers, especially when it's with photoshop instead of the darkroom or someone who's finished product they don't like as much as ManRay or Adams.
    It's all well and good to claim categorization has its place. I can see that point. And I'd be willing to buy this photograph/non-photograph division if I ever felt it were consistent and genuine. But it's not. On PN, at least, it is mostly used as an exclusionary tactic or a subtle put down. The more you read these inane threads, the more you realize that.
     
  229. That's an excellent post Fred - I think you've summed up perfectly what's going on here.
     
  230. In this long and interesting debate I would like to draw your attention to the work of Misha Gordin who processed his photo in a traditional darkroom to his own satisfied degree.
    http://bsimple.com/home.htm
     
  231. Now take a photograph of that print(with a background and lights, ha).
    Would you call the photograph a photograph?
    I would call it a photograph of a piece of digital art.
    it's rare that the work of ManRay or the work of Adams is referred to as a non-photograph and yet, people who do no more manipulation than they and play around with the medium no more than they are called non-photographers
    There is no inconsistency. Photography or non-photography is not about whether the image is manipulated or not, but with the method used to make the image. The optical enlarging of the negative is merely a second step in the photography process (light draws the image) and the manipulation occurs by e.g. placing objects in the path of the light during the exposure of the paper. Here the manipulation occurs during the photography. If instead the negative is scanned and manipulated in a comparable way in photoshop, then the manipulation occurs after the photography.
    I don't know why this is so hard. Well actually I do know - it is because some people insist on having their work viewed under a category which deceives the viewer about the nature of the image because that category has a certain reputation.
    If you read the above discussion you will find several comments as to how the digital manipulator will make every effort to hide the fact that the image was altered. If the person is entirely comfortable with what they are doing, why then try to make it look like something it is not? I think the problem is that some manipulators are at least a little uncomfortable with admitting what they're doing and want to keep the process of the image hidden and then they invent all kinds of fabulous excuses like "everything is manipulated since the whole world and all eternity is not shown in one".
    I have no issue with digital art, it can be good or bad, just like photography. I do seem to have difficulty communicating with people who make an (conscious or unconscious, I do not know) effort to not understand meanings of words and how to use them correctly, instead choosing to confuse and say that nothing really means anything and it's all blurry. Language is meant to communicate, not to confuse.
     
  232. I can only speak for myself, but I see mt camera as a capture device similar to a sketch pad. Sometimes my vision for an
    image is a vanilla and traditional black and white photo and others it is a Monet painting. Why one vision should have
    more or less legitimacy is beyond me. Both start with the same camera, both get processed with the sme software ...
    Photoshop. So, does which code in the software determine whether or not the legitimacy is sucked out of the image?
     
  233. Ilkka, I'm with John on this one. You can give your personal opinion about whether you call an image a photograph, a "non-photograph", a digital image or a helicopter if you want. As long as you make clear that it's just your personal opinion that great.
    What you don't get to do is to attempt to define a genre, or state as a fact what category different levels of processed images go into.
    Photographic image making has evolved and been a moving target since it's inception, and thank goodness for that. Let's not try to limit people's vision by degrading their images and making them somehow second class or inferior to the almighty "photograph" as you see fit to define it.
     
  234. "I don't know why this is so hard." --Ilkka​
    It's so hard because it's so false. You've arbitrarily labeled doing things in the darkroom to be part of the photographic process and doing things in photoshop (the digital darkroom) not to be part of the photographic process. It's a senseless and arbitrary division created only by you. Others realize that the photographic process includes many stages, from planning, to pre-visualization, to setting up the shot (if that is done), to taking the shot, to processing the shot, to displaying the shot.
    There are people who refuse to call any image displayed on a screen a photograph, even if it is displayed directly as it came out of the camera. They are simply dinosaurs who sound silly to everyone else who has moved on with the changing times and methods of working and presenting photos.
     
  235. Ilkka,

    So is a photogram a photograph? Is a contact print a photograph?

    If I burn a digital image to a film negative, and use an enlarger to print, is that print now a photograph?



    "I would call it a photograph of a piece of digital art."

    What is digital about it?, it is a piece of paper with ink on it. We are defining terms here, why would you define a tangible
    piece of paper with ink as digital?
     
  236. "If you read the above discussion you will find several comments as to how the digital manipulator will make every effort
    to hide the fact that the image was altered"

    Jerry Uelsmann does this too in the darkroom.

    So does Misha Gordin, in the darkroom.

    Are you saying they are not photographers?

    And for that matter, there are photographer posters here who still believe that Adams did not photoshop his prints in the
    darkroom. I would say that his alterations are well hidden, given that.


    "Language is meant to communicate, not to confuse."

    Poetry is confusing, often intentially confusing. Is it now not language?
     
  237. It's good to sometimes compare Music with Photography, one visual and one audable. but both very creative proceses. (I notice it has been done on this thread a few times).
    Music nowdays is also digital and the level of manipulation to the music is as complex as it is in photography. Do we not call it music? of course it is still music and of course we know it has been "digitised". Voices are enhanced, pitch is corrected, cut a paste is common with sections of the music. echo, reverb, delay, compresion, chorus, a whole swag of digital tools at the disposal of the musician/producer. IT IS STILL MUSIC. The same goes with photography, it has now been digitised, colour enhancement/replacement, cut and paste, distortion, blend etc etc. IT IS STILL PHOTOGRAPHY. Some would have us call it other than photography, There is no logic here. visualization, interpetation, and yes"Manipulation" of an image taken with a "camera" is what photography is about. All items discussed through out this thread fit that catagory.
     
  238. Are you saying all my MP3 files ... Purely digital are music? I'm shocked. I've always thought they were lies about music.
     
  239. JOhn, I was refering to the processing and the creating of the music, not where or how it was stored. I hope you dont listen to MP3's!, With an MP3 there is bugger all detail there.
    I have 2 versions of Beethovens "Adagio Monto Cantabile" 24bit 197khz and a CD 16bit 41khz, Its like looking at Ansell Adams "Moonrise over Hernandez" Museum quality and comparing the quality to a web based version of the same.
     
  240. It's hard to put the system at home in my pocket. I'm also burdened with these 70'year old words that can hardly hear a
    single word my wife speaks.
     
  241. It's so hard because it's so false. You've arbitrarily labeled doing things in the darkroom to be part of the photographic process and doing things in photoshop (the digital darkroom) not to be part of the photographic process. It's a senseless and arbitrary division created only by you.​
    That's not accurate at all. Ilkka said noting of the sort. You're parsing words to forward your own agenda. Digital manipulation that mimics traditional darkroom manipulation still produces a photograph. No one would argue that it's still a photograph if you apply dodging, burning, enlarging, cropping, contrast adjustment, sharpening, color management, etc.
    But a digital composite of Elvis and Marilyn holding hands over a stitched backdrop of a Grand Canyon sunset is a fabrication of reality. Using the Free Transform tool to make a squat castle look taller and copying and pasting trees around it to balance a rather awkward composition, that's just as much a fabrication.
    The digital artist whose work we have been discussing refers to himself as a photographer and offers workshops in photography. I haven't revieewed the curriculum of his workshops in detail, but if he teaches techniques of digital fabrication, why doesn't he just call his work Digital Photographic Art and teach workshops under the same banner? That was Ilkka's point, i.e. that the term 'Photography' is accredited some measure of respect because of what people like Ansel Adams have been able to accomplish within the traditional boundaries of the medium. When someone comes along with a whole new set of tools and creates something via means that bear little resemblance to the darkroom tools of Adams and his contemporaries, why do they continue to label their work Photography?
     
  242. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator Staff Member

    whole new set of tools and creates something via means that bear little resemblance to the darkroom tools of Adams and his contemporaries​
    When people started using enlargers, instead of contact printing, and the capabilities changed dramatically, nobody jumped up and down screaming that it wasn't photography. It was radically different, and composites were appearing commonly in the late 1800s and accepted as photographs. The problem now is that people can't accept that manipulation is available to a wide variety of people and have decided to rewrite history, claiming that what's happening now is radically different than then. But it isn't. Enlarging, and the associated manipulations that came with it, were dramatic changes from what photography had been.

    It appears that photographers back then were a lot more open minded than they are now. Well maybe photographers were more open minded then than web forum residents are now.
     
  243. As I said above, it's a sad part of human nature, kind of like scapegoating. Make someone else into the OTHER, the NON-PHOTOGRAPHER, and you somehow feel better about yourself. It's as elementary as US vs. THEM.
     
  244. Richard, you're welcome to address any point or points that I've made along the way. If you think that they are genuinely irrational, please tells us why in some detail and I'll do my best to explain myself. Perhaps I have made some errors; I'll keep an open mind. But your dismissal of this entire debate as irrational is not worth a response. I have already acknowledged Mr. Eastway's considerable success, and I have stated that he can do anything that pleases him, his fans, and his customers. I simply stated that I would not do some of the same things that he has done. Which part sounds irrational to you?
    Fred, I'm sorry to hear that you're feeling sad about the human condition. Hope you feel better soon. ;-)
     
  245. Dan, you must have misunderstood me. I don't feel sad about the human condition. I'm exhilarated by the human condition. I think it's sad that some people need to make OTHERS feel different or need to use labels to refer to them to make them seem different in order for them to feel OK about themselves. I hope that's clearer to you. It should be clear, because it's exactly what you're doing.
     
  246. Dan it is my lack of computer skills that prevents me from addressing specific point. I don't know how to take previous
    Text and insert it into a grey box. I did not intend to state that your whole arguments was invalid, merely wanted to
    state that Eastway unlike you or I enjoys considerable success with his photographic carreer, and regardless of our
    opinions we should respect. Hope you didn't take offense to my comment. None was intended.
     
  247. it

    it

    "However, I would NEVER do this."
    Well. his photos are better than yours so maybe you should.
     

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