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AcadieLibre
03-26-2009, 09:03 PM
Do you photoshop? And if you do, do make corrections to the photo itself, remove something, blend, or whatever it is? I was just thinking, I was looking at two photos that have been posted here before, and one I removed power lines and the other it was mentioned I should remove a stack. Now looking at the two photos the one with the power lines removed looks like a fraudulent photo, I have altered enough to where I would not use it, show it or say it was a photo, but only it was a photo at one time. Now the other photo although I agreed aesthetically it made sense I never did remove the stack.

Now looking at the photo I am glad I didn't, I just deleted the other one because to me it no longer fell under a photograph but as a computer manipulation, I have the original still but with the power lines in the photo it just is a bad shot. I use Lightroom and thats it for any of my photos and I try to stick within very rigid guidelines for myself on what I can do to a photo with Lightroom. It is just personal preference, but just curious to how far others think you can photoshop a photo and still call it a photo, when does it become digital art? I have never shown a photo that has been computer altered in a way I would not be able to manipulate it in a darkroom. Although if you never did film I imagine it would seem foreign and the limitations irrelevant.

Ben H
03-26-2009, 09:42 PM
Now looking at the two photos the one with the power lines removed looks like a fraudulent photo, I have altered enough to where I would not use it, show it or say it was a photo, but only it was a photo at one time.

Don't forget you are the only person that knew what the original looked like. No one else would look at your pic and see what you see, they would only see what's there - so I don't have a problem doing some fixes to make my picture better.

For me, it's about making good images, and I don't have the same "you must do it in camera or it's cheating" attitude that some photogs have.

But each to their own - if you prefer keeping your pics pure, then do what is fullfilling to you.


It is just personal preference, but just curious to how far others think you can photoshop a photo and still call it a photo, when does it become digital art?

I pose the question: if I show an image I'm proud of, that works, does it matter whether person A labels it a photo and person B labels it digital art? Does it matter what I personally label it as in my head?

jjeling
03-26-2009, 09:49 PM
AL, its good to hear you say this. Although much of the work I have posted here lately has been EXTREMELY manipulated, I really prefer images that are taken straight from the camera. To me, the ART of photography is the ability to use the camera, not photoshop. My brother is a jazz musician and has his very stout opinions on anything in terms of creative arts. He thinks for any photographer to be considered exceptional, they must learn weddings and photoshop. Needless to say I tried explaining him its not that way, but he doesn't have open ears, only a closed mind. It is my opinion that photoshop is a great tool when used appropriately.
In order to know how to use it, you must learn through practicing with it. Sometimes I consider taking a year off and just dumping images onto my computer without touching up saturation, contrast, or sharpness. Generally, if it is a picture I think is great without any PP work, I only use photoshop to resize it at 8x10/8x12 at 250/300(depending on camera) dpi and then save it. These are the pictures I consider TRUE pictures. I like photography because it is something that is always teaching me something. I strive to continue learning, and having left the world of formal education, photography helps me with just that. Photoshop is another medium that allows me to learn something as well.
Back in the days of film, it was necessary to learn the darkroom and the camera come full circle in your understanding of things. This can also be true of digital photography these days. A lot can be learned about photography through photoshop. It does not mean that we rely on photoshop to create great images, but photoshop helps teach us how to create images without having to use it to "fix" them and getting it right "inside" the camera.
Im sure there is no doubt you have a full understanding of the debates around this question. It has been debated and argued since the two were in the same existence. There are ethics in photography and this is one of those debates.

A few other opinions/beliefs I have are...
People - are considered fair subjects if 1) you have their permission 2) taken in a journalistic/artistic sense

Not fair game if it people are used for exploitation (making fun of them, look at this, etc)

Wildlife(animals/birds/etc) - Only fair game if it is a wild animal.
(Pets are excluded/obvious to tell in most cases)
I have yet been to a zoo to take pictures of an animal. It is important for me to take images of animals in their NATURAL setting where they act in a natural manner. To me the images are always much more stiking to see. A bird catching a fish from a stream vs. the extreme close-up of a bald eagles head. A lion crouching in the grass stalking its prey/OR YOU! vs. the images of the cheetah or leapord standing only several yards away seperated by a concrete barrier.

Sometimes the viewer is never able to tell the difference. In the end, the weight always falls on your shoulders to decide whether or not the image is considered a photograph, or a real "wildlife" image.

AcadieLibre
03-26-2009, 10:15 PM
I pose the question: if I show an image I'm proud of, that works, does it matter whether person A labels it a photo and person B labels it digital art? Does it matter what I personally label it as in my head?

To me it does, to others I assume not. I am saying it is not Art, I just think at some point and to me that is a very fine line between a photograph and digital art, but one is not the other, one is Art and one is Photography. I know they used to air brush and do lots of other tricks to the trade but those were no more photographs than when you remove it digitally. They were airbrushed paintings, me knowing is all that matters, that usually is good enough for me. I think photography has to have a standard, if not when we get photos from real life disasters that are manipulated either to shock or to lie about the magnitude keeping what a photograph is then will matter, so yes there should be threshold for photography that only allows so much manipulation before it is not called a photograph but a digital rendition for lack of a better term. It is defiantly not photography at some point, looking through the small prism of ones owns work blocks out the over all importance to keep a photographic standard that makes something that can be truly called a photograph.

BlueX
03-26-2009, 10:19 PM
This debate has raged on for a long time now and will continue to go on. My view is that Photoshop is a tool. Plain and simple.

If you really think about photography, the photographer is in some way manipulating what the view sees in his or her picture. There idea of the camera capturing what is there, what the eye would see, is very hard to believe. By cropping and changing you angle, you are choosing what to show and not show in the frame. Sometimes what is not shown can tell a lot more about a scene. By selecting different focal lengths, you decide how perspective is viewed. The golden hour light is beautiful, but is carefully chosen by the photographer and is hardly an "accurate" representation of a scene or landscape. Use of flash and artificial lighting also alters how a picture is capture.

Everything coming out of digital cameras is digital art. Just like I can use my computer to spit out a pic, you can use a camera to do the same. I admit, there is some satisfaction to getting it right in the camera and not having to rely on any pp. But I just see that as mastering one tool, the camera, over another, photoshop.

In the end, the import thing is the image. Photographers strive to make the perfect image, how they go about it is their choice. It can look better with fast glass or with a levels adjustment. I don't look at a good photoshopped image and think anything less of it. Skill is skill, whether it is camera skillz or photoshop skillz.

One thing I would draw the line on is trying to pass off a post processed image as straight out of the camera. This mainly refers to news and photojournalism when we are lead to believe the images we see are "true." But other than that, I assume any pictures out there have had some pp done to it.

Ben H
03-26-2009, 10:27 PM
Yep. Photography is not true. It is (or "can be") art, therefore it is a presenting imagery in an artistic context.

Whether you used the camera's inbuilt digital processing to darken it down, or you used the digital processing in Photoshop is irrelevant to me. One is not magically better better is happened in computer 1 rather than computer 2. It's not less of a photography because the picture style I had set in my camera boosted the contrast, saturation and sharpness of the data.

And I don't really see much of a difference between dodging/burning an image to make it look artistically better (whether in the darkroom, or the computer) compared to removing some blemishes in a persons' eye to make it look artistically better.

If a photographer has a personal thing where they like their images to be all done with the camera (which after all, is partly a digital image processing computer) then fine - I just don't have the same level of purity :)

casil403
03-26-2009, 10:28 PM
I think Photo shop (and I don't have it yet) allows for a bit more artistic license to a photo. I have looked at many paintings and seen the real image (as I'm sure many others have also) where the artist manipulated the scenery added/removed images to get the image they wanted in their head on canvas.

I think photo shop allows photographers to do the same.

F8&Bthere
03-26-2009, 11:08 PM
... although I agreed aesthetically it made sense I never did remove the stack...Now looking at the photo I am glad I didn't....

This may only be half relevant to what you're getting at, but of many photos I see posted to any critique forum, there's a lot of "I find that element distracting" or "I would have cloned out this or that..."

I guess it really it depends if you are staging a shot or if you are just witness to something that's happening. If the latter, and if there's a distracting element in the frame, ahhh so what. That's the way it was. If it doesn't feel right to manipulate it, don't. We're kinda spoiled these days with all this easily accessible software.

AcadieLibre
03-27-2009, 12:51 AM
I think it is good people have different ideas, what I wanted to hear, and I think you can have a civil discussion like what is going on here. It is something that photographers on whole needs to look at. Our image is becoming well anyone can take a photo now, and thats not true, and the issue with so much PS is it has a far more far reaching effect on photography than anything in the past because those who take a photograph, take the time and are selective enough are being bunched in with the computer generated image makers. There is an international Standards for Photography for the news media, not mandatory but backed by some of the largest news sources on the globe. I just think the Arts Photography need a body to classify what is a photograph and when enough of the image has been manipulated to the point in no longer falls under that classification. IF we do no learn to implement Standards I fear we will lose a true form of art. I know photoshop inside out, I use for a ton of things outside my photography. I just think maybe it is time to differentiate between a photograph and computer generated art from a photographic image.

Gem
03-27-2009, 01:05 AM
I'm actually more interested in how the general public views this. I didn't even know PP existed until I got into photography. Now, if someone asks about a photo and I say "oh, i adjusted that in GIMP" I can see the light go out in their eyes (so to speak, lol). For me, at least,almost everyone I know thinks that the image printed is the exact same image on the camera. It doesn't seem to matter how much I stress that pretty every image is PP'd, as soon as they hear the words "touched up" they automatically skill/technique/effort required in creating the image. It's half annoying and half guilt trip. Anyone else run into this sort of thing?

I don't have photoshop but I do use GIMP. For the most part, I try to do most of the work on the photo in camera. I find PP tedious, and while it's useful (sometimes even fun to use), I try to use it minimally.

JAS_Photo
03-27-2009, 02:25 AM
To me photography is as much about what you leave out as what you put in. Photoshop can be regarded as the modern development method. When you take a photograph with film, dodging or burning in areas to make the photo look better are common and no one says well, I had to dodge that corner and burn in the face a little. True, photos can be highly manipulated in photoshop but they could be with film as well.

Still, the photographer can manipulate a photo before it ever goes to photoshop with the use of exclusion, angles and lighting.

The famous photo here by W. Eugene Smith uses lighting to convey his message in a very poignant way.
Tomoko Uemura in Her Bath, Minamata, 1972 (http://www.masters-of-photography.com/S/smith/smith_minamata.html) Because the photographer wanted to evoke feelings of shock, outrage and sympathy does that make it a lie? I don't think so but he did have a specific message to convey and his use of lighting brings his message home in a very effective way.


Here is a photo I took of my neighbourhood this winter. Do I live in the midst of a busy city or on an acreage surrounded by beautiful trees? The only manipulation this photo underwent was achieved in camera by what I chose to photograph and what I chose to leave out.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3472/3388532119_7c3ec7374c.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/jas_photos/3388532119/)

BlueX
03-27-2009, 10:15 AM
... I just think maybe it is time to differentiate between a photograph and computer generated art from a photographic image.

I'm sorry to say, AL, but any pic taken with a digital camera was generated by a computer. Your dslr has processors in it that, among other things, process the image for sharpening, noise reduction, color rendering, wb, etc... And if you shoot it raw, a computer also puts out the final image. Newer camera are getting more and more sophisticated, either by automatically stitching a panorama or by extending its dynamic range. Where would the line be drawn?

I think I understand your point of view. Capturing images with a camera is and art that requires skill. But wouldn't a good photographer who takes extra time and care to make their picture better by setting up lights, dressing and prepping this subjects to look their best, removing unwanted distractions, carefully composing, choosing the best light, etc..., want to go the extra step to make a better photograph? (And what about dust on the sensor?)

I look at digital photography as "leveling the playing field" for me. I can now make good images with the modest kit I own. I cannot afford to shoot and develop hundreds of pictures to see my results. I cannot afford fast glass and shoot in low light with fast shutter speeds. I cannot buy a long lens and fill the frame with wild life. I do not have to opportunity to shoot everything during the golden hours. And I sure as hell make tons of mistakes while learning. I know it might be the wrong way to think about this, but pp is a tool I use to compensate for the "inadequacies" I have with other aspects of photography. This might be where the problem lies, but in the end, all I am after is a good image. One that says to the viewer what I hope to convey through it.

This is a good discussion. I know there are many other views and opinions out there.

Ben H
03-27-2009, 10:58 AM
It's all using tools to create art. Whether that tool is an artificial light source, the camera, digital processing in camera, or digital processing of the file afterwards (or whatever) doesn't matter to me.

If a photo makes a "these tools are on my OK to use list, and these tools I don't wish to use" distinction is up to them.

Question: Let's say you shot an image you loved, no pp, and let's say a magazine wanted to licence it for use in print - but they say - there's a little bit too much noise in the image for us to use.

Would you say - "Fine, I'll improve that with PP" and deliver a denoised version, would you say "Oh well, it's not good enough for you then, no sale" or would you say "Well, I refuse to touch the digital file personally, so you'll have to license the image but process it yourself."

AcadieLibre
03-27-2009, 03:02 PM
I am not saying it is wrong, but if an editor says my photo is too noisy what was I doing sending it in anyway, so for me it is not an issue, just love all the responses. What I take with my camera should fall within the limits of that camera, it is how you become a good photographer. I know I have some nice glass and couple of decent bodies but I worked hard to get it, when I was shooting with my Z10 kodak P&S I worked with in that cameras limitations, I could have PS'd photos to get what the camera would not normally give me. I found the limitations of it and pushed them and two prints I have in one gallery are from that camera and have sold several all without computer added manipulation.

The well you used a computer aided camera, then loaded to a computer does not equate with taking that image and PS'ing to the point it is not longer a photograph. It is just the replacement for the chemical reactions of film. Would be like equating film photography and being nothing but chemistry, that is oversimplification of what photography is. Of it is done with chemicals or with a computer the same simple rules in what a photograph is should apply. I am not saying you can't do any, I view my work as a photographer and that is to stay as true to what the camera took as much as possible.

The simplest way to make my point, if you are a photographer you could be given a Polaroid Camera where is just spit out the photo at you. Your photographs should be as good although within the limitations of that camera as you are with 7 grand body and lens. Are your photos good or do they need that expensive equipment and computer programs to get a good photo? That is the difference between a photographer and a computer manipulated image maker.

kat
03-27-2009, 03:29 PM
I don't think there is a concrete answer to this. It's all about how you feel.

I agree with both sides and then I think it comes down to what you want to present.

I use photoshop to get my selective color shots. To get dreaded pimples off my teenaged nephew/neice. And as of lately stretch marks from a pregnant woman (although I thought they should stay). I personally can't do much more. I can't add anything..I dont' know how. And I really don't want to know how.

I love to get a great shot. Maybe a bit of dodging/burning/B&W to help it out but besides that..I want it left alone. I feel great when that is all I need to do to it. But now if I gave the camera to my husband, he'd take a photo and go to town with it. He loves being creative past that point. He also reconizes that past a certain point the photo isn't a photo anymore but a created image in photoshop. Maybe the problem lies on "Where is that point?"

I think I'm just talking in circles now. LOL..either way. I agree with both sides.. :)

BlueX
03-27-2009, 05:35 PM
... Maybe the problem lies on "Where is that point?"


This is exactly the question here. It is because of this that I don't think there is a clear cut, "end all" answer.

We can all look at a picture that has been over ps'ed and say it is no longer a photograph, but how far back from that extreme does the line lie? Is simple wb and color correction ok? How about touch-ups? Removing of telephone poles? I see it as manipulation whether it is in the camera, adding filters, adding flash or in the computer.

It is true that a great photographer is able to use the limitation of his or her camera to the fullest, no matter what camera they have in their hands. But if this is so true, why are there differentiations between "pro" and "amateur" cameras? Why are all the pros shooting with mutli-thousand dollar kits? Because a great photographer makes the most of the tools (and techniques) at hand. (And pp is a tool.)

I hope I don't come off as pro-photochop. I try very hard to "get it right in the camera" first because "crap-in-crap-out." And by no means am I a great photographer.

This debate is thrilling...:p

AcadieLibre
03-27-2009, 05:39 PM
Just felt like the forum was losing some edge, and one of those discussions that no one really gets offended, it is all just subjective. Outside of that I am just right, lmao.

Marko
03-27-2009, 06:25 PM
This is an interesting discussion as always.

I feel bad for the 'kids'. People that are just starting to get into digital photography now. They have to deal with all the baggage of the past...or ignore all that baggage. A.L you and I share very similar views on this....but we are old timers on this issue....and our point of view is being less and less shared.

http://www.masters-of-photography.com/S/smith/smith_minamata.html

There was always manipulation EVEN, YES EVEN Smith's image that Raiven attached, THAT very image has been bleached. Yup bleached! AFTER it was printed to make the whites whiter, Smith and many photographers of his time bleached images and manipulated them in other ways with different chemicals.

You can imagine the dismay of purist photographers of that time.

So there was always manipulation. It's just that now it's manipulation through machine, manipulation that we could never do without the 'machine'.

But the machine ain't goin' nowhere.....which means that the rules are changing and opinions are changing, and young people are so happy about what they can do and old-skoolers skoff at them brazenly.

So at the end of the day individual photographers will decide how much manipulation is too much....and as the years pass, like sands through the hourglass.....so will the days of our lives :evil2:

AcadieLibre
03-27-2009, 08:10 PM
I think it is a very important topic, why I bring it up. We just need to be careful not lose focus on what are the fundamentals of photography and that is taking a good photo right out of the camera. I understood when I finally went digital I was no longer the purest I once was either. PS'ing is going to happen, I just think it is at forums like this that you can give the new photographers some perspective, that not getting perfect shots and living with it is not a bad way to do photography. I strive to get home and pull the photos off the camera and have to nothing at all, I am like everyone else I am not always successful. I just try much harder the next time. Most bands I shoot I will get one shot at them and thats it, so when I take those photos I better know what I am doing behind my camera because PS can not fix everything and once the chance passes you might not get second chance, so learn to take a good photo then if you decide you like the PS side of it great, just learn to take a photograph first.

AcadieLibre
03-27-2009, 08:13 PM
.and as the years pass, like sands through the hourglass.....so will the days of our lives :evil2:

Days of our Lives lmaooo....

kat
03-27-2009, 08:15 PM
I think it is a very important topic, why I bring it up. We just need to be careful not lose focus on what are the fundamentals of photography and that is taking a good photo right out of the camera. I understood when I finally went digital I was no longer the purest I once was either. PS'ing is going to happen, I just think it is at forums like this that you can give the new photographers some perspective, that not getting perfect shots and living with it is not a bad way to do photography. I strive to get home and pull the photos off the camera and have to nothing at all, I am like everyone else I am not always successful. I just try much harder the next time. Most bands I shoot I will get one shot at them and thats it, so when I take those photos I better know what I am doing behind my camera because PS can not fix everything and once the chance passes you might not get second chance, so learn to take a good photo then if you decide you like the PS side of it great, just learn to take a photograph first.

Agreed. Fundementals should be there and are quickly being lost. I think that what you said defines what photography is to me and why i love it. The thrill to get it right.

Greg_Nuspel
03-28-2009, 08:18 AM
I think if one really wants to see the limit of Photoshop manipulation you have to look at the work of Bert Monroy (http://www.bertmonroy.com/). He is an absolute master of what you can do with PS, it is hard to believe he starts with a blank screen.

Marko
03-29-2009, 12:28 PM
I strive to get home and pull the photos off the camera and have to nothing at all, I am like everyone else I am not always successful.

I think A.L. makes an excellent point, and that point impacts the way some photographers will learn.

In general, you want the camera to be your canvas, not photoshop.

Get out there and take your best shot IN CAMERA. Frame the sucker properly, expose for it properly and then use P.S. just to slightly enhance or for basic corrections.

Try to see the final image in your head - damn hard to do, I know...but better learning happens that way. If all we do is open up images in P.S. and play with them until they look vastly different from the original...this impedes learning. :twocents:

Ben H
03-29-2009, 01:26 PM
So, I have a song in which the lead vocal performance is emotive, dramatic and moving.

Does it matter if it was sung in one take, or if the vocal was comped together from different takes? If a few notes were slightly pulled in tune? If EQ and compression are making it sit within the track nicely, and reverb is giving some thickening and ambience?

Surely what really matters is the emotional response to the person listening?
It's the end result that matters in my view - the only person to whom the steps and workflow really matter is the artist producing the work.

If one of the mandates of the artist for a given work is self-imposed restrictions or constraints, for whatever reason - be it to shape the work, to learn different techniques, to break habits - these are all valid. If the artist has a self-imposed constraint that they apply as a general rule - "Sharpening, contrast and colour balances are fine to alter in Photoshop, but nothing else", or "I'm only going to use film" or "All my photos must be taken with my eyes closed and out of sheer luck I want to come up with something interesting I'd never have shot otherwise" - these are all fine. More power to you - whatever inspires and motivates.

I don't subscribe to the "technology is evil" attitude, or "it's too easy nowadays" or "In my day we had to XXXX and that's the only proper way" and so on.

After all, the fact that we all have different opinions and weightings on these things helps to produce art that varies significantly in tone and style and content, making our culture all the richer for it.

Now, I'm off to sing this chorus again, for the 87th time... ( ! ) ;)

BlueX
03-29-2009, 05:53 PM
Photgraphy has many stages before an image is created, these are the basics:

Pre production- pre-vis, set-up, location scouting, research of subject, etc...
Capture- camera and equipment deployment to capture the image
Post production- corrections, touch-ups, enhancements, etc...
Print/display- on the web, in a book, in a poster, etc...

One should hope to strive to master all aspects and not just one. This being a photography forum, I can understand why the emphasis is on in camera capture. The reason why I come to this place is to better myself in that regard. But I also am open to, and do not shy away from, any other aspect of the craft.

BlueX
03-29-2009, 06:47 PM
I think if one really wants to see the limit of Photoshop manipulation you have to look at the work of Bert Monroy (http://www.bertmonroy.com/). He is an absolute master of what you can do with PS, it is hard to believe he starts with a blank screen.

Also at http://revision3.com/pixelperfect/ for tutorial podcast.

Marko
03-30-2009, 12:05 PM
Surely what really matters is the emotional response to the person listening?
It's the end result that matters in my view - the only person to whom the steps and workflow really matter is the artist producing the work.

lol - that's a good point BEN. Although some people on the street looking at an overly photoshopped image might suggest it's not 'real'; I think the people that fuss about this the most are old skool photogs like myself and art critics.

In 5 years time or less, we won't be having this discussion, as no one will really care. The change will be more embedded and nobody will ask how much photoshopping was done to an image. :twocents:

AcadieLibre
03-30-2009, 03:45 PM
"And in recent years, the mainstream press has embraced this orthodox view. The principle is straightforward. Zero tolerance. Allow no digital manipulation. No posing. If a photographer uses any one of a variety of Photoshop tools, fire him."

Photography as a Weapon (http://morris.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/08/11/photography-as-a-weapon/)

from the an article I read today funny enough. The article as a whole is a lot more ambiguous then the single statement but that line struck me. What I try to portray with imagery is the truth, capture the event as it happens. I am not a zero tolerance person but I try to be in my own work, a personal choice. I do what I believe was possible in a dark room but unless you worked in one, been exposed, etc. how would you know? My personal bias so we can twist and confabulate anything to justify the ends, but we need "clean" photography from some for I hope historic, newsworthy and just to feed our memories and the meaning of those images to our children. We are a visual species and once we make everything a PS we have blurred one of the few things that lets us see what the photographer tried to. I just think it will be unfortunate if people all see PS as a need rather than a choice. Image manipulation does have its place, but you need some who find it almost vile, or how would we be able to trust news, historic or even family photos?

JAS_Photo
03-30-2009, 04:05 PM
The thing is photographers can and do photograph their subjects in such a way as to evoke a response from the viewer. You do not need photoshop or fancy trickery for that. Newspapers do it all the time in the language they choose to use and not just in editorials. For instance a recent headline I read in the Sun had a police officer 'gunning down' a criminal. Now that term evokes a whole lot of emotions that may or may not be true but you can bet that the Sun carefully chose that phrase.

But when you talk about photography, there are so many facets to consider. It is as deverse as the written word and maybe more effective in evoking a response from the viewer. But I agree a photo by news journalists should tell the truth as much as truth can be perceived by the viewer.