Barry Pearson

Barry Pearson

Lives in United Kingdom Stockport, United Kingdom
Works as a Retired computer systems engineer
Joined on Sep 24, 2005
About me:

Photographic qualifications: LRPS, CPAGB

My websites require no registration, are non-commercial, and free of paid-for advertising.

I have no commercial or contractual relationship with digital photography companies, other than paying for the use of their products.

Comments

Total: 126, showing: 1 – 20
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In reply to:

Paul Guba: Honesty in photography never existed. If I simply reframe an image while taking it an entirely different message can be conveyed. This issue harkens back to the roots of photography when bodies were moved and composed for pictures of the US Civil War. So at what point does reporting and illustration cross. My belief is as soon as you begin to compose the image. Am I to believe that the photographer didn't direct the subject to stand in the beam of light in the above image or it was a happy accident. Maybe they filled the air with dust as well. I might have. So if all these things happen before the shutter actually moves is it so different afterward?

Paul Guba: Do you seriously claim "... it is unlikely to have any truth"? "... ANY ..."?

As I pointed out when discussing forensic photography, I also dispute your earlier statement "Honesty in photography never existed". It sometimes exists enough to be accepted without dispute in a court of law.

I certainly accept that distortions can happen in photojournalism, and that is affecting its credibility in general. There IS some truth, but we often can't be sure what it is. I hope the forward work proposed by these two organisations will improve things.

I personally get a lot of my news from Google's set of news sources. When I care a lot, I read multiple articles, from various various sources from left to right, casual to serious. I see more variations in the story told by the words than that by the photographs.

Direct link | Posted on Mar 3, 2015 at 15:12 UTC
In reply to:

carl frederick: Sorry. A day late and a dollar short. It matters not how many "symposiums" they hold in the distant future, their credibility is fractured. That the NPPA is "hinting" they "might" require raw images in the "future," is not much of a commitment to the truth. They might as well say, "we don't really care, cheat as much as you want, we might do something in the future." Let's face it, this "manipulation" of images, in this context, is cheating plain and simple.

80% of the finalists were NOT disqualified. If that is because those photos were NOT unduly manipulated, the situation may not be as bad as some imagine.

It is not clear to me what you think they should do other than what they are doing? They are clearly NOT saying "we don't really care"!

Changes to the rules in future will need agreement among various parties. Like changes to national laws, is it too easy to get them wrong if not enough care is put into getting them right.

Direct link | Posted on Mar 2, 2015 at 11:16 UTC
In reply to:

Scottelly: It would be interesting to know what they have to say about the use of a Lytro camera. Would it make sense if images shot with Lytro cameras be banned from "press photography" competitions? lol

I think what it comes down to is the same sort of issues they have in racing and sports, involving "cheating" - like when athletes take "performance enhancing drugs" . . . or are they "treatments" or supplements? Almost everyone does it to some degree. Some just do it more than others, and some get away with it, while others don't.

Perhaps the original image from a Lytro camera is actually more honest than from a conventional camera? Perhaps it contains more relevant information?

Direct link | Posted on Mar 1, 2015 at 18:29 UTC
In reply to:

Paul Guba: Honesty in photography never existed. If I simply reframe an image while taking it an entirely different message can be conveyed. This issue harkens back to the roots of photography when bodies were moved and composed for pictures of the US Civil War. So at what point does reporting and illustration cross. My belief is as soon as you begin to compose the image. Am I to believe that the photographer didn't direct the subject to stand in the beam of light in the above image or it was a happy accident. Maybe they filled the air with dust as well. I might have. So if all these things happen before the shutter actually moves is it so different afterward?

I've just been reading about forensic photography - making photos that can be used for evidence and stand up to scrutiny in a court of law.

The statement "Honesty in photography never existed" needs to be qualified! I think most of the comments here about ways of conveying different impressions can be catered for by using the established techniques of forensic photography.

The problem isn't that photography CAN'T be honest enough for use in court. It is that MOST photography isn't that honest, and this may be assumed to be the norm.

I think photojournalism is often thought of that way; because there are some bad practices, some people assume that is the norm. Perhaps NPPA and World Press want to change all that.

Direct link | Posted on Mar 1, 2015 at 18:25 UTC
In reply to:

the Mtn Man: I've never entirely understood the objection to photo manipulation, even in news photography. I know the idea is that a photojournalist is supposed to capture an event exactly as it happened, but simply the choice of lens and vantage point could be considered manipulation. For instance, a wide angle lens to make a space look larger than it appears to the naked eye, or to make a press conference appear sparsely attended by making the audience smaller in the frame, or shooting from a low angle to make something appear larger and more imposing. How are these kinds of manipulations any more pure than using Photoshop to make the subject "pop", or erasing an errant pole that spoiled the composition by sticking out of someone's head?

It is clear from responses here that a lot of manipulation can be done in-camera. And we can assume the trend will continue.

I think the important question is "how much manipulation should we accept in the photos we see in the news media, whether that manipulation is done before taking the shot, in-camera, or in post-processing?"

My view is (roughly): "I want to see what I could have seen had I been at that place, at that time, looking in that direction, even if the photojournalist hadn't been there". I want the photojournalist to be my "proxy", acting on my behalf, given I can't be everywhere.

The fact that photojournalists may currently stage the scene doesn't make it right to do the same in post-processing. I actually want them NOT to stage the scene! And so not to do anything afterwards that is equivalent to staging the scene.

Photojournalism serves a different purpose from artistic photography. (So does forensic photography). The purpose must be taken into account.

Direct link | Posted on Mar 1, 2015 at 11:18 UTC
In reply to:

Alternative Energy Photography: I have the answer for you.

Everybody's paying $10 to $60 monthly for their Adobe software, so they GOTTA get their money's worth out of it!

So it's not cheating to them.

prossi: Thanks a lot for calling me dumb!

Fortunately, I am sufficiently experienced and well-informed not to take that statement seriously.

Direct link | Posted on Feb 28, 2015 at 17:21 UTC
In reply to:

the Mtn Man: I've never entirely understood the objection to photo manipulation, even in news photography. I know the idea is that a photojournalist is supposed to capture an event exactly as it happened, but simply the choice of lens and vantage point could be considered manipulation. For instance, a wide angle lens to make a space look larger than it appears to the naked eye, or to make a press conference appear sparsely attended by making the audience smaller in the frame, or shooting from a low angle to make something appear larger and more imposing. How are these kinds of manipulations any more pure than using Photoshop to make the subject "pop", or erasing an errant pole that spoiled the composition by sticking out of someone's head?

As a matter of interest, do typical professional photojournalists (which is what this article is about) shoot raw? Or raw + JPEG? Or just JPEG?

I am not a professional. I do sometimes shoot photos that I've entered into "photojournalism" categories. I always shoot raw. (Sometimes raw + JPEG, but the JPEG is then only for preparation, not final use).

Steve McCurry used to shoot Kodachrome. That is hard to manipulate!

Direct link | Posted on Feb 28, 2015 at 17:16 UTC
In reply to:

Paul Guba: Honesty in photography never existed. If I simply reframe an image while taking it an entirely different message can be conveyed. This issue harkens back to the roots of photography when bodies were moved and composed for pictures of the US Civil War. So at what point does reporting and illustration cross. My belief is as soon as you begin to compose the image. Am I to believe that the photographer didn't direct the subject to stand in the beam of light in the above image or it was a happy accident. Maybe they filled the air with dust as well. I might have. So if all these things happen before the shutter actually moves is it so different afterward?

I've now been trying to answer some of my own questions. Although I am not a professional photojournalist, I am a customer (or consumer) of photojournalism.

Let's assume that the photos that appear in this contest were originally intended for publication in the media. So what do I want from those photos in the media?

I think I want them to show me what I would I have seen had I actually been there, on that spot, and looking in that direction. I know from everyday life that what I see isn't all that there is to be seen. I may see a different subset from a person I am with. I am used to that, and I can deal with it.

So I want the photo plus the words around it to provide sufficient context as well as important elements. I don't want any "lies" in either words or photos. I don't want bodies moved, nor a staged action. I can't be precise, but I have my own views about when what I am being presented with is dishonest, and I don't want that.

I want photojournalism ethics to match that.

Direct link | Posted on Feb 28, 2015 at 16:47 UTC
In reply to:

Paul Guba: Honesty in photography never existed. If I simply reframe an image while taking it an entirely different message can be conveyed. This issue harkens back to the roots of photography when bodies were moved and composed for pictures of the US Civil War. So at what point does reporting and illustration cross. My belief is as soon as you begin to compose the image. Am I to believe that the photographer didn't direct the subject to stand in the beam of light in the above image or it was a happy accident. Maybe they filled the air with dust as well. I might have. So if all these things happen before the shutter actually moves is it so different afterward?

In answer to your question "at what point does reporting and illustration cross?":

This article is about the World Press Photo contest. The organisers of this (and associates) are the ones with the mandate to answer that question. They state " the ... contest has encouraged the highest standards in photojournalism".

What does that mean? Ultimately, the contest must reflect how the "professional photographers and photojournalists", who can enter it, want their work to be seen by other interested parties, such as the viewing public. Think of it as promoting their profession.

The specifics of the photography are not the whole story, of course. Excessive manipulation or disruption of the scene may also be frowned upon. I don't know how that can be judged - but I am not a professional photojournalist.

At what point does it become propaganda? Or violation of people's rights? I don't know. Photographers have to beware of becoming part of the story.

Direct link | Posted on Feb 28, 2015 at 16:07 UTC
In reply to:

Paul Guba: Honesty in photography never existed. If I simply reframe an image while taking it an entirely different message can be conveyed. This issue harkens back to the roots of photography when bodies were moved and composed for pictures of the US Civil War. So at what point does reporting and illustration cross. My belief is as soon as you begin to compose the image. Am I to believe that the photographer didn't direct the subject to stand in the beam of light in the above image or it was a happy accident. Maybe they filled the air with dust as well. I might have. So if all these things happen before the shutter actually moves is it so different afterward?

To answer your last question: YES.

In the case of photojournalism, an important part of the contest is that the resultant image isn't the whole point. Part of the contest includes the skills and resources the photographer applies in order to get the shot. An image needs to be an "honest presentation". If photographers wants certain elements (eg. blades of grass) to be absent, they must have the vision to cater for this beforehand.

And, of course, it might NOT be possible to sort things out before taking the shot! So a truly honest representation would have it in. It might be argued "it was just a bystander, why does it matter?" Whose decision is it whether bystanders matter? Increasingly, organisations are saying that for ethical (and other) reasons, bystanders do matter.

Views on this differ. Some people may be convinced that they have brilliant and/or obvious reasons for their views. Other with contradictory views may be equally convinced that they do too! Debate will continue.

Direct link | Posted on Feb 28, 2015 at 15:45 UTC
In reply to:

E_Nielsen: OK, I know I'm weird, but I see photo "manipulation" as a new direction in the art of photography. And the disqualifications seem to be stifling that art form. So why not have two categories--one for unenhanced photography and one for enhanced?

The other thing that bothers me about the disqualifications is the idea that photo manipulation is inherently bad. I remember hearing about Ansel Adams nearly throwing out one of his best photos before he realized that some special treatment in the darkroom could bring it to life. (Was that Moonrise over Hernandez?) And if not darkroom manipulation, photographers of that era certainly chose film types and papers to enhance photos. That was all part of the creation of a great image.

So now we have PhotoShop instead of the darkroom, and in-camera adjustments for white balance, sharpness, etc. That's all good in my opinion when the result is a photo that can be viewed as art.

There are photographic contests for "Creative", "Altered reality", "Experimental", photos. In some of them, massive manipulation isn't just allowed, it is pretty well expected! So photo manipulation isn't automatically considered bad everywhere.

But organisers of contests have their own organisational or professional values to take into account. A contest for Press Photography will inevitably have different rules from those of a Salon wanting to encourage artistic work.

International Salons typically have a variety of categories, each with different rules. For example, I might enter birds in flight to a Wildlife category with very tight rules, and studio work into a category that allows lots of manipulation.

This variety is good. There is no unambiguous definition of "photography". There are contests to suit just about everyone. People who don't like the rules for a particular contest may be able to join the organisation, get on the "rules committee", and influence the rules.

Direct link | Posted on Feb 28, 2015 at 10:23 UTC
In reply to:

the Mtn Man: I've never entirely understood the objection to photo manipulation, even in news photography. I know the idea is that a photojournalist is supposed to capture an event exactly as it happened, but simply the choice of lens and vantage point could be considered manipulation. For instance, a wide angle lens to make a space look larger than it appears to the naked eye, or to make a press conference appear sparsely attended by making the audience smaller in the frame, or shooting from a low angle to make something appear larger and more imposing. How are these kinds of manipulations any more pure than using Photoshop to make the subject "pop", or erasing an errant pole that spoiled the composition by sticking out of someone's head?

It is precisely as Sean65 says: "we have to draw a line somewhere".

Wherever the lines is drawn, there will be some who want more scope for manipulation, and some who want less. There isn't a perfect answer. But where there are winners and awards, there has to be a "level playing field".

(I've personally been on sub-committees at my local photographic society trying the get acceptable and unambiguous rules. It was a thankless task! There are always people, contradicting one-another, saying we got it wrong).

Direct link | Posted on Feb 28, 2015 at 10:07 UTC
On Adobe celebrates 25 years of Photoshop article (356 comments in total)
In reply to:

Francis Sawyer: I wonder how many of the profound defects that plague this product are also 25 years old.

Like dialogs not remembering settings. The Image Size dialog is a great example. Every time you pull it up, the units of measure are reset. So you have to switch from pixels to percent, for example, over and over.

And Undo, by default, is not multi-level. WTF, this has been standard on other apps for what, 20 years? And when you address this by remapping Ctrl- or Command-Z to be "step backward," you find another bug: "Step backward" inexplicably changes the layer that you selected, in addition to undoing the last action. If you were on a text layer and then switch to a bitmap layer to draw a brush stroke, try pressing Ctrl-Z. Not only is the brush stroke undone, but the text layer is reselected, making it impossible to make a new stroke until you go and reselect the bitmap layer.

Then again, Photoshop is positively throbbing with activity compared to the abandonware that is Illustrator.

With the Photoshop I use, (the latest Photoshop CC), the Image Size dialogue remembers the units for the Width and Height boxes from one use of the dialogue to another. This applies whether or not I restart the program.

I agree that the current "Dimensions" of the image are always initially given in pixels. Is that what you meant?

Direct link | Posted on Feb 28, 2015 at 09:57 UTC
In reply to:

AksCT: What does constitute as "image manipulation"?
Are they referring to processing of image post-acquisition?
What about so many built-in (in-camera) image manipulations?
Between the shutter is pressed until image is stored in camera memory storage, there are so many elements that user can changes via camera setting (some of these can be done externally by software as wells).

What about "content manipulation"?
For example, if you want to take a picture of scene and someone is standing there, whom you feel he shouldn't be there. What if you ask that person to move (or wait until he is gone) and then take picture (as opposed to removing that person digitally post-acquisition)

AksCT: There may be no difference in the final photo between sorting things out, if possible, before taking the shot, or taking it out afterwards.

But there is a difference in the vision and skills needed. And that is part of the test in such contests. (In an open contest it probably won't matter at all. But in a contest about photojournalism, perhaps the ability to adapt to the situation at hand is considered a vital ingredient).

And, of course, it might not be possible to sort things out before taking the shot. So a truly honest representation would have it in. It might be argued "it was just a bystander, why does it matter?" Whose decision is it whether bystanders matter? Increasingly, organisations are saying that for ethical (and other) reasons, bystanders do matter.

I've seen photos (I think from North Korea) where inconvenient people were removed from scenes afterwards. At some point (I don't know where) this changes from record photography to propaganda.

Direct link | Posted on Feb 27, 2015 at 15:56 UTC
In reply to:

AksCT: What does constitute as "image manipulation"?
Are they referring to processing of image post-acquisition?
What about so many built-in (in-camera) image manipulations?
Between the shutter is pressed until image is stored in camera memory storage, there are so many elements that user can changes via camera setting (some of these can be done externally by software as wells).

What about "content manipulation"?
For example, if you want to take a picture of scene and someone is standing there, whom you feel he shouldn't be there. What if you ask that person to move (or wait until he is gone) and then take picture (as opposed to removing that person digitally post-acquisition)

Here are rules recently agreed by PSA, RPS, and FIAP, for "Wildlfe" and "Nature":

http://rps.org/news/2014/may/nature-definition-agreed

They give clues about what is allowed or not for these very strict categories. They have lessons for press photography too.

An important part of the contest is that the resultant image isn't the whole point. Part of the contest includes the skills and resources the photographer applies in order to get the shot. An image needs to be an "honest presentation". If photographers wants certain elements (eg. blades of grass) to be absent, they must have the vision to cater for this beforehand.

I've personally had (minor) success with photos where conditions were so bad that everyone else had gone home! I carried on to ensure I had some keepers. With sufficient manipulation I could have avoided much misery! But in effect I was rewarded for perseverance at taking-time as well as for the final image.

Direct link | Posted on Feb 27, 2015 at 14:19 UTC

Here are the Entry Rules for the 2015 " World Press Photo contest":

http://www.worldpressphoto.org/2015-photo-contest/entry-rules

This may help resolve some of the debates and confusions present in the comments below.

My personal opinion is that the rules are a bit sloppy. Rule 13 says "The participants are required to provide file/s as recorded by the camera for all images that proceed to the final stages of the contest". As I would expect!

But it doesn't say they must be raw files, therefore it can't rule out significant manipulation in-camera. Perhaps it is the nature of press photography that many important photos are shot in JPEG. In which case, they may struggle to resolve their problems in future.

On the rare occasions that I shoot JPEG, typically when I use the Pentax FluCard, I shoot raw to one card and JPEG to the other. I always have a raw file. But I'm just an amateur and so ineligible for this contest.

Direct link | Posted on Feb 27, 2015 at 14:01 UTC as 7th comment
In reply to:

Digitall: The contest juris were undecided up to penultimate round? Please, very strange that action, and providing a false expectation to selected photographers. It was not a politically correct action. I doubt that the rules were clear.

Must be forgotten the controversy winning photograph of world press photo by Paul Hansen on 2013:

http://www.worldpressphoto.org/awards/2013/spot-news/paul-hansen

There are competitions that request raw files from the finalists, but not earlier. It would be too much trouble all round to do this level of checking earlier.

I don't know if that is the case here.
(Whoops! badi got there first).

Direct link | Posted on Feb 27, 2015 at 07:17 UTC
On Adobe celebrates 25 years of Photoshop article (356 comments in total)
In reply to:

clicstudio: I am tired of people complaining about having to pay just about 10 bucks a month for Photoshop CC.
Just a few years ago, Photoshop alone cost about $700. At 10 bucks, that's 70 months or 5.8 years of usage.
Most software is obsolete within a year or two. So having the latest version updated frequently is a great thing.
If you are professional, then you need to use the best professional tool available out there.
I've been using it for 21 years, and I still learn something new about it every day.
As a full time professional photographer, this is my bread and butter and I can live without it.
So, stop complaining and start creating.

mikesco: I bought the full Photoshop in 2001 for the full price. I've taken nearly all the upgrades ever since. But I'm not bitter about the CC model. (I subscribe to the full CC, not just the photographic version).

The point I'm making is that not all people who paid the full price share your views. You don't speak for all of us. I don't know all the reasons why some people are comfortable with the CC model and others hate it, but they are not all simple reasons.

Direct link | Posted on Feb 27, 2015 at 07:06 UTC
In reply to:

duartix: Unless that black circle near the grip is another camera/sensor pair, I fail to even imagine how can they generate a focus overlap picture from a single combination of sensor/lens.

Even very advanced software solutions by Google (the google camera app on Android is such an example) need a minimum amount of parallax to reconstruct/generate a depth map and thus create a that focus overlap, but doing this temporally (à la Google) isn't practical on a rangefinder where you need immediate feedback.

Plus, if it is indeed a secondary camera/sensor pair, you will have to account for parallax errors on the focus overlap reconstruction. And what is much worse, you will have to be very careful on where you place your fingers when you shoot.

P.S. Before anyone else does it, I'm always ready to make a fool of myself. :)
http://konost.com/?page_id=7182
Yes there is. Now I'm just questioning the placement.

duartix: I thought earlier that the superimposed image came from the main sensor. Now I think it is from a secondary sensor via that window you identify; which I think is what you are saying.

(Yes, the main viewfinder image comes from the optical viewfinder).

Direct link | Posted on Feb 26, 2015 at 18:45 UTC
In reply to:

arrr: These dinosaurs need to evolve, many digital effects can be applied in camera at the time of exposure. It's no different than smacking a filter in front of your lens. Cloning out a distracting element shouldn't be an issue either. This is something any talented printer could have done for you in their darkroom. Photoshop aint cheating baby... it's part of the camera.

Photography Purists need to go back to shooting film and processing it a Walmart.

You have views on what the rules of a photographic context should. So do many others here. And these rules tend to be incompatible with one-another!

It is obvious that there is no consensus about what "photography" is. That is one reason there are many photographic contests across the world, with a large variety of rules. Whatever a person's views, there are probably photographic contests to suit.

I enter work into international salons accredited to FIAP. A typical salon has a number of sections or categories, each with a theme and its specified rules. (It is normally possible to put up to 4 images in a section). I study the rules for each section, and select from a large pool of my better images those that match each section. (Sometimes I can't find 4 because the rules are not ideal for me).

It is up to the organisations running a contest (or accrediting it) to decide what the rules are, based on their own nature. Find a suitable contest for your own views. Or run your own contest!

Direct link | Posted on Feb 26, 2015 at 17:00 UTC
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