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Old May 23, 2006, 4:45 PM   #1
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In another thread there has been some discussion about ethics in photography. I thinkthe issue is worth it's own thread and sinceI value theopinions of the Pentax Forum members highly Istart it here with some reflexions.

A photo is never a replica of reality. Quite common is to convert the colours to black and white only, and when not they are often enhanced or slightly changed in some other way. In spite of efforts done, no one has been successful in keeping the three-dimensional view we have with our two eyes (but you're darn close, Ira:bye. It's like theater, an agreement with the audience to pretend reality (who would really believe in a guy screaming "let me whisper in your ear" in order to make his line audible to the last row)

Photography can (must)be seen as an artistic activity, and digitalization and software like Photoshop give us tremendous possibilities for our creativity. We start with something that catches our eye, and then continue with post-processing in the computer till we get to our point, be it to present an idea or an aesthetic form or a combination of coulors. I'm working on a picture of a small, pittoresquecottage under some huge electric wires, which I call "the threat of modernity". I'm still not satisfied, the colours still look to vivid and not threating enough. I hope to get it right some day, and that day the photo will for sure not show how it actually looked that day. But it will show what I saw.

The problem occurs when we try to manipulate the viewer to believe that she/he sees reality as it is. I'm really worried about commercial presentations where the already thin fashion models are photoshopped to get longer legs, thinner waist and whiter teeth. This drives young girls into anorexia, not understanding that not even Claudia Schiffer looks like Claudia Shiffer in real life. Anotherdangerous manipulation is in news photography. Did you know that Newsweek changed the moustache on Saddam Hussein to make him look morelike Stalin on a front cover? OK,I didn't like the guy before that either, butneither do I like to be manipulated. And it's an irony that it was Stalin, haven't you like me laughed at the clumsy efforts to retouch photos in order toget rid of thememoryof executed Soviet leaders during that era? Stalin would have been green of envy over what can be done, and is done,with modern technology.

Conclusion: copy, cut, crop and paste as much as you want, as long as you don't abuse the possibility to fool people for commercial or political purposes without them knowing it.

Looking forwards to read your points of view,

Kjell


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Old May 23, 2006, 5:34 PM   #2
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pheeeew,

i agree kjell. I've been asked on a nother forum if i manipulate my images. absolutely i say. but if i add something from somewhere else I'll tell you or call it digital art.. I've seen amazing images taken with a gold/blue polarizer. and then manipulated in PS. but it's still the original image.. what would you call that?? expression??? sure and all the power to them..

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Old May 23, 2006, 6:49 PM   #3
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Photographers have been altering images for a hundred or more years--it is the artist showing his or her version of reality to others.
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Old May 23, 2006, 7:57 PM   #4
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I posted my 2 cents in the thread this first came up before I saw you had started a new thread. There are different types of photography, and the rules for each are very different.

I agree with you that photojournalists shouldn't clone things that aren't there. The Los Angeles Times ran into problems with one of their photos. The photographer took a series of photos over a period of a couple of minutes, and from several different angles. He had 2 photos that had different outstanding elements, so he cut and pasted them to capture what was dynamic in each frame. Unfortunately, he didn't do the best job of it, and someone picked up on the fact that a background figure was in the picture twice. It was a huge story here for a while.

I'll agree that it was dishonest and it was unethical to publish it in the paper. I wouldn't have minded it if he had posted the same thing here with a comment that it was an impressive image (it was).

I'm sure we could all post photos we're really happy withwhere we've cloned out something or changed things around (I have a picture of my dog with 2 impressive century plants on either side - the thing is that there was only 1 and it made the photo really lop-sided. I cloned it on the other side to balance it and it came out looking much better). And what about those that exposure bracket, then take the parts that are correctly exposed on each of the photos and put them together? It might not be what the camera/film saw, but it is the way the eye saw it.

I'd better get off my soapbox now - I'm at work and my ride will be here in a couple of minutes.
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Old May 23, 2006, 9:03 PM   #5
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Kjell, in theatre it is called the "willing suspension of disbelief" which allows an audience to accept the play presented to them.

I may have had some indirect influence on this discussion with my altered lighthouse image in another thread, but I am glad it has come up. Before digital there has been abuse of photography to portray the "truth" as someone would like us to believe it. Stalin actually had photographs altered to remove "comrades" that had fallen out of favour during his regime in the USSR. Digital imaging has just made it so easy that it may be that "photographic evidence" is not worth the paper it is printed on. I think this is where ethics enters the picture (pardon the pun). When O.J. Simpson was arrested a major news magazine printed an altered version of his photograph which created a "mood" which may have influenced public opinion, was that ethical? The Saddam Hussein example given by Kjell is another example, regardless of our opinion of the man is it fair to alter an image to allude to historical references we associate with evil? I think not. As I stated in the other thread, "My only issues are with images that are created for some other agenda such as to sway public opinion or perpetrate a hoax."

I think what we are doing here is art, it is never meant to deceive, just to entertain the eye. As long as the images are not meant to convey a message beyond aesthetics, then digital alterations are acceptable. They should however be noted in the image description. Ansel Adams was a master in the darkroom, dodging, burning, masking, whatever was necessary to bring an image to match his original view. That is art. If we slavishly hold to the premise that great photography must flow unaltered from the camera, then we condemn it to the role of record, and art is mere incidental.

I do minimum work on most of my images, usually just a little levels adjustment and some sharpening, however I will move beyond that when the image needs it. Check this collection I just uploaded to illustrate http://s81.photobucket.com/albums/j2...ered%20states/.

Photojournalism deals in truth, or all too often the illusion of truth. Art photography (which includes private portraits) deals with emotion and the impression of artistic truth. Although not mutually exclusive they must be viewed differently.

There we go, not a single question answered, just more created. Perfect.

Ira


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Old May 23, 2006, 11:55 PM   #6
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I really like your selective desat - it was beautifully done and really enhanced the picture. I'm not usually a fan of the various filters, but the watercolor one also suited the scene perfectly. They are all awesome, and perfect examples of what wonderful artwork photography can be.
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Old May 24, 2006, 1:36 AM   #7
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Monza76 wrote:
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Kjell, in theatre it is called the "willing suspension of disbelief"
Besides everything else, I learn a lot of English by taking part in this forum! Thank you all!

What do you think of this one? I haven't made it myself, it's made by a friend who doesn't take photos himself but enjoys playing with pictures he finds on the web or gets from people like me.

Kjell
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Old May 24, 2006, 1:47 AM   #8
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Now if I could just learn some Swedish or Norwegian for the next time I go over there.

It is a interesting image that is well done, but bothers the mind because it is not visually balanced and looks like it would tip over.

Tom
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Old May 24, 2006, 10:14 AM   #9
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"Tyranosaurus Horse" or "Equus Rex", Either way I hope it never falls down. What do you get if you cross a horse with a T-Rex? I don't know either but if it bites you you can ride to the hospital!

Sorry, I couldn't resist.

Ira
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Old May 24, 2006, 10:19 AM   #10
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