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Old Feb 19, 2010, 6:57 AM   #1
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Default On The Matter Of Photographic Truth, Art And Fake

On the matter of photographic truth, art and fake. Some reflections. You are invited

I'd rather not be the first out in the track

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Old Feb 19, 2010, 7:09 AM   #2
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Torgny - I just want to clarify - is the purpose to debate editing of photos and what is considered acceptable and what might be considered dishonest? Or did I completely misunderstand?
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Old Feb 19, 2010, 10:00 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnG View Post
Torgny - I just want to clarify - is the purpose to debate editing of photos and what is considered acceptable and what might be considered dishonest? Or did I completely misunderstand?


JohnG,


I'm happy you replied. Yes, basically that's the purpose. If there is enough interest. I think you (and others) are better suited than I am to draw(?) up guidlines

Adobe Photoshop is celebrating it's 20th anniversary today, I think. The people behind the program mean that Ps has changed the way we look at the world. Basically that means that an editing software to some degree determines our perception of "reality". That's a serious matter

Looking at photosites I can see two tendencies.

Heavy manipulation to gain artistic effects pass as "natural". Photographers of all kinds have a special responsability towards reality, I think. Perhaps it would be more honest to publish some pictures as digital art. Unaltered photos can be and very often are artistic

Overcooked colours. There is a risk that captures of these special moments with very strong colours drown in the flood of oversaturated pictures.


Thank you, John


Torgny

Last edited by Torgny; Feb 19, 2010 at 10:16 AM.
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Old Feb 19, 2010, 10:14 AM   #4
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I think this is a very interesting topic. In my opinion, it depends entirely on whether or not the image is being portrayed as art or as a documentation of reality. For example, if you are publishing a photo in a newspaper as "news" - i.e. a picture of a news-worthy event then editing the content is a very big no-no. There was a story a while back of an AP photographer fired because he cloned some additional smoke in a particular image to make it appear more dramatic.

Conversely, if the image is intended purely as art I think all is fair. Dodging, burning, unsharp mask - the use of Velvia film - warming, starburst and other filters have een used for decades before photoshop. All in an attempt to alter "reality" into the artistic vision of the photographer. My personal opinion is a lot of long time photographers get irritated because photoshop and other software programs has made it easier for novices to obtain results that took much more skill to do in camera and in the chemical dark room. But I don't see how changing color saturation in photoshop is any different than choosing different films to get similar affects in the "old days". So to me anyway the difference is in the use - if it's photojournalism (news, magazine, blog) with the inherent understanding the picture is supposed to represent the event as it happened then editing should be limited to cropping/sizing and minor exposure adjustments and no more. That's my thoughts but I'm very interested to hear how others view things.
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Old Feb 19, 2010, 10:53 AM   #5
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I think you have to strongly consider the context in which the images are being presented.

If they're for something like a camera comparison, then you want to use unaltered images to show what a camera is capable of. If it's for a news story, you certainly wouldn't want to make major changes to the subject matter (as some photographers have been caught doing), if it's being presented as factual.

When you get into images for magazine covers, etc., then it's more of a gray area (and I think the context is very important). For example, look at something like the recent controversy of Demi Moore's photos for W Magazine:

http://boingboing.net/2009/12/28/dem...s-lawyers.html
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Old Feb 19, 2010, 11:26 AM   #6
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The ethical (and intellectual) problems are, to me, more on the side of the observer than that of the photographer. The fact is no picture is real at all, be it journalism or art, nor is intented to be. Photography implies first an appropriation and then a re-presentation of reality. Everything in between should be admitted as long as the viewer is aware that the photo is not the reality. In the post Big Brother society, as ours, that naiveté is insufferable.

Last edited by Ordo; Feb 23, 2010 at 10:04 AM.
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Old Feb 19, 2010, 11:44 AM   #7
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I think its pretty well covered. If the intention of the alteration is to deceive then its not right. If its to add to the visual appeal from an artistic point of view then it should be ok. And under no circumstances should a journalistic photo ever need visual enhancement. At least without a qualifying statement what was done and why. That Demi Moore situation is just plain silly. Magazine covers etc are for visual impact and are never photos from camera to page without some kind of manipulation. For the ads and DVD covers for the movie Pretty Woman, the glamorous body under Julia Roberts' head wasnt hers but someone elses. Was that for artistic or deceptive reason?
Ordo you squeezed your reply in before I got mine posted. What the hell are you talking about? Photos arent reality? Any photo that is unaltered in any way is the reality of the moment from a particular spot and place in time. Altering that image in any way is for one of two reasons, for artistic merit or to deceive the viewer. I dont think this is rocket science.

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Old Feb 21, 2010, 9:02 AM   #8
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The function of art is for the artist to take some personal perception of reality and show it to others. I notice that a dozen good photographers can go to the same place, and produce a dozen entirely different images.

Why the pattern of pixels that shows up on the sensor is more real than any of the images produced by these photographers is not clear to me. They are all abstractions of reality.

Now, if you're moving elements around, cloning out things, and so on, that is a different matter if the image is presented as a depiction of the way things are.

For legal and news photography, it's an issue. Otherwise, probably not.
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Old Feb 21, 2010, 11:57 AM   #9
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On the lighter side, my wife was reading this thread and told me many girls are already pretty but they still wear makeup.
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Old Feb 21, 2010, 12:06 PM   #10
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i pretty much concur with much of what has been said. it depends on the goal and context.

for news reporting, for comparing camera makes, then alterations are not acceptable.

but when it comes to artistic photos of any kind, then anything goes. it is up to the artist and his vision. that is his only responsibility, to his own vision. if he wants to stay true to the scene, that is his right. if he wants to move around elements, change colors, hdr, layers, etc, that is also his right. it is then up to the viewer to decide if they enjoy that vision or not.
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