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roxii

Photography philosophy

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roxii    3,996

When does a photo stop being a "photo" 

on a drone site on Facebook you often see photos with a caption like "look at the beautiful sunrise, I edited in Lightroom  added some saturation , got rid of that one pesky cloud, and made the sun shine a bit brighter" etc. 

so in reality that sunrise never really happened. 

I can understand editing in news photography, portraits etc but when does it stop being a "photo" and start being a confected imagining? 

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XCOM!    143

If we are going to be philosophical about it, when is a photograph anything other than a confected image?

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goughy    1,993

It's all "art", if that's any sort of answer? Photographers, even the old school ones, were dodging and burning in, exposing different areas differently.  

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The Customer    1,293

What Goughy said. I believe that in the category of 'photojournalism', an image can be enhanced, cleaned up and cropped to make it convey the story but shouldn't be manipulated to alter the story that was captured through the lense.

For the category of 'photographic arts', the 'artistic merit' of the image isn't just about the capture through the lense but can include image manipulation using the digital skills of the photographer.

Edited by The Customer

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XCOM!    143

I'm not sure that it's all 'art', but even so-called 'realistic' photographs can never be more than a representation of reality, and how accurate that representation is will always be subject to the constraints and use of the technology. What you can see with your eyes and what you can represent with a photograph will always have an existential difference.

Even in photojournalism, a photograph is a manipulated view through a lens and subject to interpretation by the viewer, and it does not necessarily depict reality or truth - e.g. the famous 'pistol to the head' Vietnam war photo - it intentionally limited the field of view and did not show what was actually happening - its publication was later much regretted by the photographer.

And of course, that's assuming we are not going down the rabbit-hole 'Matrix' argument of what is reality... ha!

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Abby    65

And what do we actually 'see' anyway?  Our eyes are connected to our brain via nerves - so what we are 'seeing' is just an interpretation by our brain of nerve pulses coming from the eye...

Do we know how similarly (or differently?) each person is seeing the exact same picture?  That's one hypothesis for why two people can look at the same colour combination, and one says "That's stunning!" and the other says "That's horrendous!"... :-)

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Cottoneyes    746
16 hours ago, roxii said:

When does a photo stop being a "photo" 

 

For me it's when the original photo becomes unrecognisable.  I'll only crop, enlarge and do very minor changes to the brightness or change to black and white.  Beyond that you may as well just sit in front of the computer, and take stock from Google photos and go for your life (which by the sounds of it some "renowned" photographers are getting caught doing lately).  

Technology is really driving things beyond this, with my most recent camera at 23MP, it's crap how much I can blow up a shot and still get such clarity.  My 15yo camera with 6MP could never get close even with the same lens.  Then add it all the "auto" features...

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Cottoneyes    746

Note, the above comments are from the amateur / enthusiast level.  There are some situations where professionals capturing moments have a free pass in my books to do what they need to.  Currently selling our house, the tricks the photographers in that space use to "add in" items such as pool tables "to show size" and delete out power lines etc does not cover the free pass

Another way to clarify it, the majority of the work IMO should be up to taking the shot with very minimal work after

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roxii    3,996

Yeah I tend to agree with both your posts above.

And especially this

Quote

Beyond that you may as well just sit in front of the computer, and take stock from Google photos and go for your life

and I think its a fine line that seems to be getting crossed a bit too often these days.

If you are "creating" a "picture" for arts sake and are clear about that, then sure go for your life, but to claim "here is a photo of a beautiful sunset" when that actual sunset as depicted never really existed is not a true representation of the image. 

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goughy    1,993

My wife said last night, that our eyes and the camera do see things "differently". 

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XCOM!    143
1 hour ago, roxii said:

and I think its a fine line that seems to be getting crossed a bit too often these days.

Well there you go... I never thought there was a line in the first place.

 

Edited by XCOM!

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Cottoneyes    746

Definition of photography

  1. :  the art or process of producing images by the action of radiant energy and especially light on a sensitive surface (such as film or an optical sensor)

Nope, doesn't say anything about making changes post the click

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Ex-Hasbeen    3,792
6 hours ago, Abby said:

And what do we actually 'see' anyway?  Our eyes are connected to our brain via nerves - so what we are 'seeing' is just an interpretation by our brain of nerve pulses coming from the eye...

 

5 hours ago, goughy said:

My wife said last night, that our eyes and the camera do see things "differently". 

These two strike a cord with me. I have a photo somewhere that I took years back on 35mm film. It was a night shot from the top of Mt Bellenden Ker in NQ, looking out over the coastal plain to the ocean, with a bank of clouds below me to one side. There was also the TV station's satellite dish to the other side.

To the naked eye, even at night, the dish is white. Imagine my suprise a couple weeks later when the photo was developed when I saw a bright red dish. Apparently the light on the side of the building caused the dish to appear red on film. Buggered if I know, but others have had the same experience there.

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goughy    1,993
2 hours ago, FatPom said:

Showed my wife the pics, which she quite liked. Then showed her the dude with his camera and her response was "coooooool".

 

Xcom, I think I remember hearing that that girl ended up in a lot of trouble as she grew up. But still one of the most piercing faces I've ever seen.

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trinube    1,048
1 hour ago, goughy said:

I think I remember hearing that that girl ended up in a lot of trouble as she grew up. But still one of the most piercing faces I've ever seen.

The photographer got himself into more trouble and it revolved around this exact topic. https://petapixel.com/2016/05/06/botched-steve-mccurry-print-leads-photoshop-scandal/

I've made a pretty decent living taking photos, mainly news and photojournalism but also freelance commercial work and even as low as PR and weddings. Our company rule is you can alter the content but not the context. This is for a news organisation but outside of 'news' it's all art so it doesn't really matter what you do.

I've know photojournalists who are so strict with their own discipline they won't consider talking to a person they're photographing - they insist on being a 'detached' 3rd party view. Then there's the Steve McCurry's of the world (and I'm a big fan of his) who sell themselves as photojournalists until such time as they get caught out doing a bit of manipulation. He's copped a hiding over his indiscretions and now calls himself a photographic artist or similar.

I'm somewhere between the extremes. I don't have an issue with someone removing a drink can from a street scene because it detracts from the subject or destroys the aesthetics. I would have an issue with someone adding a drink can to make it look worse than it is and falsely portray the scene.

All that being said, photography was better back when it was hard :)  I've spent (literally) thousands of hours in dark rooms with manipulations limited to a bit of dodging and burning. Nowadays everyone with a phone and a pirated copy of Photoshop thinks they're a pro - actually kinda sh!ts me.

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goughy    1,993

Yep TN, many would know my feelings about a family member who's become a wedding/portrait photographer..... his background in photography???? Nil. He even had to borrow his dad's SLR to shoot his first wedding. But no one would really have a clue.... That's what modern cameras have done for us! And Photoshop.

 

Don't knock yourself for doing weddings TN. They are the bread and butter jobs that pay the way for you to do what you actually want to. I used to video them...

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Pete    277

Sometimes you have to use "trick"photography or photo editing (or both) to overcome the inherent limitations of the camera compared to the human eye - this is one of my faves - can you guess what's unusual about this one?

2q9w56e.jpg

This photo is a construct of about 40 different photos all taken at a different focus point using an automated camera control software and stitched together using photo editing software. Why? Because it is impossible for a normal photo to have all that in focus but your eye changes focus dynamically over time so you never notice.  This is also a great technique to overcome the limited depth of field in macro photography.

like this:

vq4mqc.jpg

or this

2irlvuf.jpg

but what I really like is the surrealism of HDR - multiple pics at different exposures stitched together to make something a little bit different...

u3j4g.jpg

Edited by Pete

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goughy    1,993

This has always been my favourite photo of my wife's. Old school developing and printing, plenty of dodging and burning. It's Jubilee Catholic Parish on Musgrave road in Brissie, but to me it's always looked like it could be some old church in Scotland or something. Used techniques to make sure none of the houses and other buildings around it were visible.

 

IMG_20170813_195814.jpg

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Peter    1,561
On 8/11/2017 at 1:33 AM, The Customer said:

What Goughy said. I believe that in the category of 'photojournalism', an image can be enhanced, cleaned up and cropped to make it convey the story but shouldn't be manipulated to alter the story that was captured through the lense.

For the category of 'photographic arts', the 'artistic merit' of the image isn't just about the capture through the lense but can include image manipulation using the digital skills of the photographer.

In Real Estate it's illegal to edit 1% of a photo.  Shames it's not the same in mags.

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trinube    1,048
9 hours ago, Peter said:

In Real Estate it's illegal to edit 1% of a photo.

I'd love to see their definition of 'edit'. That would be so abused as to be laughable.

Edited by trinube

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Ex-Hasbeen    3,792
9 hours ago, Peter said:

In Real Estate it's illegal to edit 1% of a photo.  Shames it's not the same in mags.

You mean like this?

Featured Image for Sydney home has ginormous water tower removed from real estate photos to attract more home buyers

Sydney home

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goughy    1,993

Yeah, that was a ripper that one!

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Peter    1,561

Pretty sure they got a massive fine for that one.

But yeah.  You can't remove or add anything to a photo.

You can play with light shades.

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