When is a photo not a PHOTO?

Started Feb 3, 2012 | Discussions thread
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nex5guy
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When is a photo not a PHOTO?
Feb 3, 2012

Ken Rockwell has announced a photo contest sponsored by Adorama, and offers a link to photos on 1x.com as examples of great photography. (Here is the link):

http://www.adorama.com/catalog.tpl?op=ken-rockwells-photo-contest-2012&sub=Contest&utm_source=rflaid21866&utm_medium=Affiliate&utm_campaign=Other&utm_term=Other

However, several of the photos in the 1X Beyond gallery he posted as being impressive examples are so heavily post-processed that to my eye they say more about a person's Photoshop skills than their photography skills. So my questions is this: as what point is a photo no longer a photo?

If rays of sunlight are painted in, if green leaves are painted an impossible shade of gold, if subjects from 20 different photos are cut out and reassembled, is it a photo? Should they be allowed in a PHOTO contest, or are they simply ART? How much CGI can be added and still call it a photo? Can a fully computer-generated image simply have a bit of something captured by a camera inserted in it, and the whole image be called a photo?

Personally, I think a photo should be a PHOTO. The smoke through the eye of the needle is a real photo, shot in a single frame, with minor PP. Awesome! The woman floating in the air, hugging the red balloon just looks like Photoshop shenanigans to me. I'm also not a big fan of studio-contrived shots, like the gas-mask mother and child or the tattooed guy in the mysterious room setting the bird free - but at least those might be considered "photos".

Where the line is drawn - when is a photo not a photo any more?

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