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01-09-2007, 12:08 PM   #16
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I think that the "heavily processed image" has a place but that place is, to me, in the graphic arts. People have been doing crazy things with processing, sandwiching and printing since the beginning.

I think a lot of this discussion (and fear) grows from the belief from some that "if anyone can do it, it's not art" That has been true since the Louis Daguerre choked on fumes. People like to feel superior to someone and in photographic circles that revolves around equipment. People with darkrooms (and one less bathroom) sneered at those who took their film to Target. People who lug hundreds of pounds of view camera, tripod etc into the mountains look down at those who take snaps of Mt Evans from the car window. Medium format owners think SLR's are toys for beginners. dSLR folk snicker at simple P&S cameras and camera phones. It's human nature.

Me, I'll call what I do art and "feh" on all you unbelievers

Of Course we all know that you are not making quality images unless you have a Quad Processor G5


Last edited by Mark Castleman; 01-09-2007 at 12:20 PM. Reason: spelling
01-09-2007, 12:42 PM   #17
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"I can say I totally agree with you, post-processing, yes, editing, no"

life isnt that simple is it..??

i see no clear cut distinction once i fire up paint shop pro.. i see a slippery slope of one inevitably turning into the other..

with jpeg temptation is removed.. he he

trog
01-09-2007, 12:54 PM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mark Castleman Quote
I think that the "heavily processed image" has a place but that place is, to me, in the graphic arts. People have been doing crazy things with processing, sandwiching and printing since the beginning.
Good point - perhaps some of the problem comes from the basic human urge to classify. This is a photograph, but that is graphic art. We get all antsy if it's somewhere in between.

QuoteQuote:
I think a lot of this discussion (and fear) grows from the belief from some that "if anyone can do it, it's not art"
Another interesting point. "Art" is a really loaded term, it simply reeks of superiority, and people have been fighting about what "art" is probably since some bored cave-dweller picked up a chunk of charred stick and scratched an image of an elk on the wall. And then there's the "art" vs "craft" debate - I've noticed that since the whole knitting craze really took off there are more "fibre artists" around. They're the ones with the expensive stuff...

QuoteQuote:
People with darkrooms (and one less bathroom) sneered at those who took their film to Target. People who lug hundreds of pounds of view camera, tripod etc into the mountains look down at those who take snaps of Mt Evans from the car window. Medium format owners think SLR's are toys for beginners. dSLR folk snicker at simple P&S cameras and camera phones.
Wonderful description of the heirarchy! Oh dear, that means I'm third from the bottom of the heap, I couldn't possibly do art, I must get a Hasselblad to take my lousy snaps.

Y'know, I think I'm even going to withdraw my statement that you can't make something good out of something bad. Why shouldn't you take a badly focused and underexposed image of, say, your granny, apply a bunch of nifty filters and effects, give it an arty title (I'd think of an example but I'm not arty enough, sorry), and call it art? Plenty of people who are considered artists take junk, do stuff to it, and get it in galleries. It's true, it's no longer a photograph in the strictest sense, but does it really matter so long as it's interesting and conveys an emotion? Let's not get hung up on these classifications (what exactly is a photograph, anyway?) and just enjoy making eye candy.

Julie
01-09-2007, 12:57 PM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by trog100 Quote
"I can say I totally agree with you, post-processing, yes, editing, no"

life isnt that simple is it..??

i see no clear cut distinction once i fire up paint shop pro.. i see a slippery slope of one inevitably turning into the other..

with jpeg temptation is removed.. he he

You see no clear distinction because you're using a tool in which there is no distinction. The problem lies not in my argument but in your tool.

The reason that programs like Capture One, Bibble, Breeze Browser, and especially Aperture and Lightroom are becoming popular is that Photoshop and similar programs including Paint Shop Pro were never really the right tools for photographic post-processing. Photoshop was from the get-go an extraordinarily capable pixel-editing program, a nuclear-power version of MacPaint. (Showing my age now....) You can open up a blank file in Photoshop and create something entirely from scratch if you want, and that's the way the program is frequently used (to create logos, or even illustrations). Over the years, Adobe tacked on photo-processing capabilities with Camera Raw and Bridge, but it's been a bit like adding a sink and a cot to my SUV - it still wouldn't really be an Airstream trailer. If you were using Lightroom, you would be no more tempted to over-edit your images than you are by limiting yourself to JPEG, because Lightroom simply can't do those more radical kinds of things. The existence of programs like this is based precisely on the distinction I'm making between post-processing and editing.

By the way, you don't have to use Raw to use Lightroom or Aperture. Both support JPEGs and give you easier access to the limited range of things that you DO want to do.

Will

01-09-2007, 01:34 PM   #20
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"You see no clear distinction because you're using a tool in which there is no distinction. The problem lies not in my argument but in your tool"

the tool is ultimately my computor.. its pretty high end and way over the top.. but u are basically correct..

which is why i simply use irfanview for image viewing.. basic downsizing and simple stuff.. my most favourite programe is "notepad".. the most usefull piece of software microsoft ever invented..

i did say "when i fire up paint shop pro".. mostly i dont.. thow i have made the dangerous step of linking it in as irfanviews external editor... he he

i dont even have to wait for the thing to load as i used to have to.. my over the top computor produces it instantly.. he he

i havnt even bothered loading any raw processing software on my computor.. take pic with camera.. view camera produced result in irfanview is my normal mode of operation..

even allowing for my 100% pixel peeping habits acquired since i bought my dslr i am happy with the results..

in fact i would put my camera produced jpegs up against any raw image out there.. i have seen enough examples to know i have nothing to fear..

as yet i see no need for it.. plus i see it as the first steps down that slipperry slope.. i can also claim that the images i look at are produced by my camera as opposed to my computer..

and yes i know my camera does have its own chippery but it is clearly part of the camera not my super computor..

i am not being entirely rational but the jepg dosnt need the computer and it can remain as a simple viewer however clever it is..i have rightly or wrongly drawn a line in the sand and will do my best to stay on one side of it..

why is my computor looking at me in a funny way.. he he he

trog

ps.. by high end i dont mean "mac" by the way..

ps.. 2.. as for the "art" thing.. the most abused version of that is to take a mediocre image hit the black and white filter and it instantly becomes "art".. just a tip for those who aint sure what "art" is and would like to have a go at some..

Last edited by trog100; 01-09-2007 at 01:46 PM.
01-09-2007, 01:58 PM   #21
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Someone mentioned Ansel Adams, my hero and I'm sure yours. Here are a few of his quotes. I'd argue that everyone here is correct and I think Adams would agree:


"A great photograph is one that fully expresses what one feels, in the deepest sense, about what is being photographed"

"A photograph is usually looked at - seldom looked into"

"A true photograph need not be explained, nor can it be contained in words"

"Dodging and burning are steps to take care of mistakes God made in establishing tonal relationships"

"I tried to keep both arts alive, but the camera won. I found that while the camera does not express the soul, perhaps a photograph can"

"Not everybody trusts paintings but people believe photographs"

"Photography is more than a medium for factual communication of ideas. It is a creative art"

"Photography, as a powerful medium of expression and communications, offers an infinite variety of perception, interpretation and execution"

"Some photographers take reality...and impose the domination of their own thought and spirit. Others come before reality more tenderly and a photograph to them is an instrument of love and revelation"

"There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs"

"When I'm ready to make a photograph, I think I quite obviously see in my minds eye something that is not literally there in the true meaning of the word. I'm interested in something which is built up from within, rather than just extracted from without"

"You don't take a photograph, you make it"

Dan
01-09-2007, 02:31 PM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by Photodan Quote
Someone mentioned Ansel Adams, my hero and I'm sure yours. Here are a few of his quotes. ....

"Dodging and burning are steps to take care of mistakes God made in establishing tonal relationships"
That's my favorite. :-)

Will
01-09-2007, 02:44 PM   #23
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I think of the camera still being the camera no change, the RAW file is the film and your computer is the darkroom... Its actually better now as more people have their own darkroom, less chemicals too ;-)

01-09-2007, 03:41 PM   #24
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I'm not sure where digital photography is "going"; it didn't leave it's itinerary with me when it left-if it did, in fact, leave.

I think photographers will continue to go where they will, when the want or can and that they will continue to drive manufacturors to produce whatever they collectively need to make photographs.

This may mean colored chalk on the sidewalk or 100 mega-pixel sensors--time will tell.

The only part that really matters is that humans continue to think, to create and to imagine. Until something apocalyptic occurs to alter the currant human condition, that think/create/imagine behavior seems pretty well certain given the nature of the species.
01-09-2007, 03:45 PM   #25
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"Not everybody trusts paintings but people believe photographs"

perhaps this one on its own show just how irrelevant the great man of his times comments are when applied to todays situation..

i will attempt to decipher his meaning..

no body trusts paintings because they can be too easily altered.. they trust photographs because they cant be so easily altered..

this one

"Dodging and burning are steps to take care of mistakes God made in establishing tonal relationships"

pretty much a fudge when someone picked him up on his "trust photographs" comment..

this one..

"You don't take a photograph, you make it"

well yes.. but i think he meant make it with a camera and let the odd bit of "Dodging and burning" pass unnoticed..

we now have a third element thrown in thow.. he had "painting" and "photography" we now have super computers.. i am not entirely sure he would have made the same comments today..

i am arriving at a simple conclusion.. once an image is altered to such an extent it no longer resembles the original image as it left the camera i think it can still be considered "art" but no longer a photograph in the true sense of the meaning..

in my own mind i need to make the distinction between one and the other if others dont..

trog

ps.. hows about a new name for a photograph.. how about "computograph" he he he

Last edited by trog100; 01-09-2007 at 03:51 PM.
01-09-2007, 04:19 PM   #26
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Trog,

That is an interesting view of where you see things going. I still have a mixed reaction when watching the Dove advertising campaign (forgot the name) clip on YouTube and share the same sentiments as you.

I see all that is done on a computer (and I'm quite amazed by the effort) to make a person look "beautiful" after the photo is taken but at the same time I ask where did all the effort go with the process of taking the photo?

A camera is used to capture a subject as you see it, but when PP changes the appearance of the subject such that it is totally different...
01-09-2007, 04:29 PM   #27
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QuoteOriginally posted by trog100 Quote
"Not everybody trusts paintings but people believe photographs"

perhaps this one on its own show just how irrelevant the great man of his times comments are when applied to todays situation..

i will attempt to decipher his meaning..

no body trusts paintings because they can be too easily altered.. they trust photographs because they cant be so easily altered..
Alternatively, he may have meant that everyone trusts a photograph (they certainly did then, even if they don't always now), but that a photograph isn't necessarily trustworthy. In other words it is easier to fool people with something they trust than with something they don't.

QuoteOriginally posted by trog100 Quote
"You don't take a photograph, you make it"

well yes.. but i think he meant make it with a camera and let the odd bit of "Dodging and burning" pass unnoticed..
Your analysis seems to contradict another famous Adams quote which goes something like "The negative is the score, the print is the performance".

QuoteOriginally posted by trog100 Quote
we now have a third element thrown in thow.. he had "painting" and "photography" we now have super computers.. i am not entirely sure he would have made the same comments today..
From what little I know of the man I suspect he would have embraced whatever technology was available to him to express himself as he wished. As it was he manipulated the available technology beyond the bounds that most other people believed existed (cf zone system, etc.)

QuoteOriginally posted by trog100 Quote
i am arriving at a simple conclusion.. once an image is altered to such an extent it no longer resembles the original image as it left the camera i think it can still be considered "art" but no longer a photograph in the true sense of the meaning..

in my own mind i need to make the distinction between one and the other if others dont.. <snip>

ps.. hows about a new name for a photograph.. how about "computograph" he he he
Photography literally means "drawing with light". What I think we need to ask is to what extent is the finished image influenced by light which once fell onto a light sensitive medium? And to what extent should it be influenced in order to be called a photograph?

My reading of my own questions suggests that if one or more photographic images are combined with the inclusion of no non-photographic work, then the result must be a photograph. If non-photographic work is included that is the fuzzy area.

My own opinion is that it doesn't matter in the end; if the result is pleasing, why categorise it? Photography, painting, sculpture, photographic art, should I really care what it is?

Look at the images on the Royal Photographic Society Digital Imaging Group Web site. I think you will find a wide variety of work is accepted.

Simon

Last edited by Simon; 01-09-2007 at 04:56 PM. Reason: typo
01-09-2007, 04:56 PM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by trog100 Quote
i am arriving at a simple conclusion.. once an image is altered to such an extent it no longer resembles the original image as it left the camera i think it can still be considered "art" but no longer a photograph in the true sense of the meaning.
trog,

I'm coming to a simple conclusion, too. I cannot figure out what you're talking about. :-)

I don't know who or what position you are responding to. It would help if you could point to something concrete that represents the position you don't like, or give an example of it. Forget about Ansel Adams, who was a film photographer. Give us a digital example. Or give us a quote from something somebody said that represents the position you think is wrong. Perhaps you have heard somebody say, "I routinely like to turn blondes into brunettes in my photos and I think that's okay." Personally, I would have a problem with that sort of change if the photograph being altered was presented as "accurate" (printed in a newspaper as a journalistic shot, or saved in a family album) but I would not have a problem if it was a commercial shoot with models who probably dyed their hair to begin with.

I grasp that you don't want to use Raw. Somebody here might think you're making a mistake, but not me. You take nice photos, keep it up. But even on this score, I don't understand why you feel the need to say this. Nobody's forcing you to use Raw. It's as if I were to start a thread in which I stated with some passion that I do not want to do macro photography and try to defend my dislike of macro photography with some sort of arguments, like, oh, it's a lie to show bugs that close up, as if macro photography were somehow wrong or a sign that the world is going to hell. It would be a bit impertinent, no?

And beyond "I don't want to use Raw," you lose me completely. Nobody in this forum (as far as I can tell) is routinely converting Africans into Asians, turning roses into sunflowers, putting horns on the foreheads of ponies or even making their wives prettier. I think you suspect that other people are using their "super computers" (?) to somehow, um, manufacturer images that weren't there in the first place or something like that. Sorry, I don't get it.

Will
01-09-2007, 05:40 PM   #29
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"Photography, as a powerful medium of expression and communications, offers an infinite variety of perception, interpretation and execution"

Man, I don't get the hand-wringing. The above says it all. Look at the variety of images here on this site alone. Does anyone see the same way, shoot the same way or finish the image the same way? No. And that's the beauty of taking pictures.

Dan
01-09-2007, 05:49 PM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by xfraser Quote
I understand that film photography was manipulated in the dark room, levels, brightness etc., and that is basically what the computer is for also. What I don't understand are the people who say to always shoot in raw or don't worry about the lighting,exposure, etc. because you can "fix it" later. To me that means you aren't very concerned with your photography skills, but you are good at computer skills. I've seen pictures of 70+ year old women who had their skin smoothed because they supposedly look better, but they don't look like themselves. It's one thing to use PP to try to correct WB or exposure problems, or even to erase non-permanent blemishes like acne, but when you start correcting things like crossed-eyes, your going a little too far in my opinion.

I could very easily take a self-portrait, smooth out my skin, change the color of my eyes & hair, lop off 50 or so pounds, but would it still be a picture of me?

I guess it's just a distinction between digital photography and digital art.
Carol: I think good photographers all "worry about lighting, exposure etc" even when shooting RAW. I shoot raw because it give me greater control. Especially over white balance. Many of my photos are of flowers, and because of this, color is very important. Yes I can shoot jpeg and try to remember whether my WB is shade, sun, cloud etc and matches where I am, or I can shoot RAW and walk from a shaded part of a garden to a sunny part and not have to worry about changing the damn WB. But no matter how good your skills in photo editing software are, you still can't rescue an OOF picture, nor restore blown highlights, or change the angle of view, or the DOF. Those are in the hands of the photgrapher at the time of the shot, and that means the camera is a critical part of a photographers art, as is a computer, and a printer.

NaCl(it's all important IMHO)H2O
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