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Aesthetics versus truth: DW Akademie examines ethics of retouching

By dpreview staff on May 10, 2013 at 00:11 GMT

How do you balance the demands of aesthetics and documentary truth? DW Akadamie has published a feature examining the challenges faced by photojournalists and picture editors in creating attractive and atmospheric images, without compromising their authenticity. 

Before adjustment...

[Photo: Yuri Kozyrev/NOOR for TIME Magazine] 

After adjustment...

[Photo: Yuri Kozyrev/NOOR for TIME Magazine]

Image manipulation of documentary photographs is nothing new, but it is certainly much easier now than ever before.

As the article posted by DW Akadamie points out, 'adjusting the fundamental elements of a digital photograph, its DNA if you like, such as exposure/brightness, colour/saturation, whites/blacks, contrast/shadows and much, much more, are as easy as moving a virtual 'slider' with a mouse'. 

Most people seem to agree that photojournalists should be held to higher standards than casual photographers when it comes to things like digitally adding or removing elements of an image, but what about exposure? Color balance? Shadow adjustment?

This raises a tricky ethical question for people whose job it is to collect and process documentary images. How much adjustment can be performed before a photograph stops being representative of objective reality in front of the camera?

Before adjustment...

[Photo: Yuri Kozyrev/NOOR for TIME Magazine]

After adjustment...

[Photo: Yuri Kozyrev/NOOR for TIME Magazine]

In an attempt to answer this question, DW Akademie interviewed Claudio Palmisano, one of the founders of 10b Photography Laboratory - a Rome-based 'digital darkroom' that works with several professional photojournalists. Palmisano's philosophy is relatively simple. He states: 

'We believe that talking of “manipulation” is correct only when actual pixels are “moved”, therefore when the minimum unit of a digital image is at least either replaced or cloned.'
 
Palmisano goes on to explain - 'we work together with the photographer to bring the image, and the whole story, as close as possible to the photographer’s vision. A dialogue between the photographer’s own vision and our visual culture is fundamental to achieving the desired result. I don’t think of our work in terms of ‘retouching’, but rather as ‘enhancing’ the inherent potential of the shot by containing its limits and strengthening its qualities'.
 
Asked whether he asks photojournalists to set their camera in any particular way to achieve a certain effect, Palmisano's solution is simple: 'I always recommend shooting RAW, so any further suggestion becomes superfluous.' 

Does manipulation of documentary images bother you? If so, how much is too much? Let us know in the comments. 
 

Comments

Total comments: 94
12
mcshan
By mcshan (5 months ago)

Whitening Oswald's teeth in the photo of him being shot crossed a line.

1 upvote
wootpile
By wootpile (5 months ago)

Nothing new. ALL darkroom work was manipulation of some sort. Time in the bath as the simplest example.

2 upvotes
Tony Ellis
By Tony Ellis (9 months ago)

Photography always lies

1 upvote
jetals
By jetals (5 months ago)

The camera doesn't lie.
The photographer can alter the camera settings, conpostion etc to be "selective" about the truth.

0 upvotes
GaryJP
By GaryJP (5 months ago)

The day you invent a camera with no frame and that does not capture solely an isolated moment will be the day it does not lie.

Comment edited 32 seconds after posting
1 upvote
JoeAmateur
By JoeAmateur (3 months ago)

Lie is kind of harsh. I think photographers should present their work as the moment felt to them, to convey that extra dimension to the viewer that is part of the experience. If you're a photojournalist, you can't add or delete objects, because it removes truth, but adjusting the image color and/or contrast has been a practice since the first accidental mis-timed bath.

0 upvotes
Steven Rounds
By Steven Rounds (11 months ago)

It depends on what the point of the image is. Adjusting exposure, contrast, colorimetry, grain, etc. of the shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald doesn't bother me at all. Substituting someone else in place of Jack Ruby would be forbidden.

National Geographics' disqualifying of a first-place contest image by the photographer because he photoshopped an ancillary beer can out of an image foreground was asinine.

1 upvote
joe6pack
By joe6pack (11 months ago)

World Press Photo of the year is a "retouch" too:

http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/155617-how-the-2013-world-press-photo-of-the-year-was-faked-with-photoshop?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ziffdavis%2Fextremetech+%28Extremetech%29

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
rfsIII
By rfsIII (5 months ago)

That article was based on the very unscientific opinion of a self-described imaging expert. His pronouncement has subsequently been debunked.

0 upvotes
Wye Photography
By Wye Photography (11 months ago)

Digital imaging presents a huge potential for fraud.

Among the many honest photographers it is the unscrupulous photographer that concerns me. I suppose in the morass of excellently over manipulated imagery the lure of money, getting noticed, prestige or career advancement proves to much for any semblance of integrity.

Faking it, or fraud as I call it is nothing new in photography. Doing it in the old way in the darkroom is a thousand times harder and takes real skill. Nowadays it is click, click, click, done. It's just so easy. Perhaps Photoshop should embed 'History' and 'undo' etc, within the file so all changes can be backtracked to the original.

1 upvote
KitHB
By KitHB (11 months ago)

I think they're just slightly different renderings of the same subject, one's the 'accurate' view according to current technology and the other has been re-interpreted to create a shift in meaning - towards what war photos are 'supposed' to look like - and those expectations are based on the renderings we got from mid-20th century lenses and film, Leitz, Nikkor and Kodak in particular.

This is an old debate and it's not deceitful to reinterpret color and light balance so long as you don't distort the meaning too much. It's more than twenty years ago we were changing the color of Kate Moss' eyes, using early Photoshop, so they matched better with the clothes and makeup she was wearing that day. She has fabulous eyes when you see them really close up.

0 upvotes
Petrogel
By Petrogel (11 months ago)

Aesthetics over story telling, is more like it, as most of times "truth" uses more dimensions than the two used in a photograph,,,,,,,,

0 upvotes
40daystogo
By 40daystogo (11 months ago)

There is no ethical problem. The truth is in the fact of what happened. The craft of the journalist - whether photojournalist or writer - is to persuade the reader based on how the journalist saw it. No journalism is neutral. There's always a slant. Therefore, adjusting the atmosphere of the photograph is fair. Back in the darkroom days, a starker atmosphere could be achieved by different development techniques, selection of chemicals, and particularly choice of paper-grade. It used to be common to present stark subject matter using high contrast photo paper, e.g. David Bailey's photojournalism photos of Bradford, or Josef Koudelka's Gypsies project. Many of those photos are show in high contrast stark relief, which were achieved chemically in the film-days. What's the difference with doing that digitally? I think the premise by DW Akadamie is utter nonsense. Even Ansel Adams' landscape photos were manipulated in the darkroom. The issue is "seeing", and the tools help communicate that.

Comment edited 36 seconds after posting
6 upvotes
40daystogo
By 40daystogo (11 months ago)

p/s whereas removing items from a photo, claiming to be a piece of photojournalism, is deceitful.

1 upvote
wansai
By wansai (11 months ago)

I'm not sure your examples are really appropriate to the topic. Nothing has been done to alter the base image. Colour and tonal value adjustments and desaturation were the only tools employed.

As far as I can see, objects and subjects were not manipulated and moved/removed. This is well within what I consider to be acceptable.

2 upvotes
JonSr
By JonSr (11 months ago)

I don't trust photo. '.' Good Job. U earned it.

0 upvotes
buda1065
By buda1065 (11 months ago)

These are not good examples, only the lighting effect has been altered. An example of unethical would be something like what's illustrated in the book, The Commissar Vanishes: The Falsification of Photographs and Art in Stalin's Russia. Extreme examples to be sure, but a lie is a lie.

0 upvotes
Slynky
By Slynky (11 months ago)

I have a different take on the images above and believe the "tweaking" has not crossed the ethical line.

I believe the camera can only capture an image--reflections of light--and therefore has no soul. In the examples above--especially the first one--the editing has allowed the viewer to not only see what was physically captured "on film" but to also "feel" the mood of the shot. This "mood" is what I feel the photographer has brought to the image that the camera failed to capture.

Often I have been at a location and been overwhelmed by what I was viewing but when I looked at what I captured at home later, I was underwhelmed. Editing allows one to recapture some of what it was really like.

6 upvotes
alatchin
By alatchin (11 months ago)

However that mood is the emotional response the photographer has to the scene. SO in fact he is imposing his (the photographers) idea of what type of response the viewer should have.

An example, the first image, desaturating, and adding a great deal of constrast to make the shot moody and foreboding... This is putting negative feelings into an image and impacting the viewers opinion of the people in the picture.

If they say a picture is worth a thousand words, well processing the picture (as in the first example here) twists the thousand words to the message of the photographer (editor).

3 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (11 months ago)

fortunate or not the God only gave us a pair of video cameras. we don't see still image. rather we generate a map for environment/situation recognition.

the problem is not that we process too much but too less compared with human vision. we have a large chunk of brain dedicated to image processing that we may need a hundred years to explore and imitate.

0 upvotes
wansai
By wansai (11 months ago)

@Alatchin
There is no universal truth to photo taking. Selecting the film & f stop changes the mood. Different RAW converters interpret differently. lies heaped upon lies upon more lies.

Short of telling photo journalists that they must all shoot at f8, ISO 100, pictures to be presented in one standard RAW converter and without adjustments, there's no absolute truth. And even with all that, the very fact that the camera captures light differently from our eyes still makes it a lie.

The fact is, everyone has a point of view. How we interpret the world is different from person to person. You can see this in how different photographers take the same scene but end up with totally different shots.

As long as a human is involved, they will always "impose their view". Even purely mechanical devices taken by machines are designed by humans and the resultant mechanical picture was still designed and programmed by a human to that result. Pics don't look the same from different camera makers.

1 upvote
57even
By 57even (11 months ago)

Choosing Velvia over Provia, choosing black and white film, choosing different saturation in camera, framing, using a polariser, changing the aperture, using a slow shutter, under or overexposing, using or not using flash, using a different focal length to change perspective.....

All of these change the "look" of the result, even before you hit the darkroom (and press darkrooms did a lot of work to enhance images).

The "default" RAW image is simply chosen by the RAW converter. It does not represent reality, any more than Provia did. Or Ektachrome. The eye and brain together can not only see more tonal range, but they also see the drama of the contrast...a camera has trouble doing both. Trying to recreate what the eye sees and the brain felt at the time is not wrong - any more than choosing the "right" phrasing for the accompanying article.

The whole concept of "truth" seems to have people confused. Tell your story well, just don't lie. That's all there is to it.

7 upvotes
chj
By chj (11 months ago)

no ethical problems with these two examples. Only problem I see is the 2nd one was better in its original form

Comment edited 22 seconds after posting
10 upvotes
Damo83
By Damo83 (11 months ago)

To me it's simple really. Once you come to terms with the fact that a camera interprets light, rather than accurately representing it perfectly, you'll be liberated from so many restraints.

5 upvotes
Roland Karlsson
By Roland Karlsson (11 months ago)

I have no problems with that kind of manipulation, except maybe that the second manipulation was very badly done :)

Its when you change the meaning and starts to do advanced manipulations, adding or removing details, it starts to get questionable.

IMHO

3 upvotes
JustFred
By JustFred (11 months ago)

Even this years World Press Photo winner was enhanced.
http://www.spiegel.de/fotostrecke/photo-gallery-exploring-the-limits-of-digital-enhancement-fotostrecke-96446.html

0 upvotes
Bas Emmen
By Bas Emmen (11 months ago)

Long time ago there was already a discussion in this matter.
Frank Hurley could not photograph what he saw so he did al lot of retouching and even staging events.
Must see! :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsZOsvWTmI0&list=PLECC47040F599C048

1 upvote
isawaa
By isawaa (11 months ago)

As far as I know, when did photojournalism became reality? Like every photography ever taken by man, it's a portrayal of a subject, where it can be many others. Of course we assume that, as journalism, the photo must be as "truthful" as possible, but that is impossible. Several philosophers have already discussed this.
Color is just part of a picture, and far less important that framing, which could be subject to some discussion on "photography ethics".
A group of brazilian photographers called "Cia da Foto" took photos of the candidates running for mayor at different angles at the same time during the 2008 Mayor election of the city of São Paulo. The results are incredible.

2 upvotes
JayFromSA
By JayFromSA (11 months ago)

The esthetics of the images remain subjective. Everyone who thinks the photo's we see in the news and magazines are not post processed to some extent at least, is naïve.

Comment edited 6 minutes after posting
1 upvote
arhmatic
By arhmatic (11 months ago)

There is a lot of manipulation done in camera, before you even get to see it on screen. You can spend an hour adjusting levels, tones, contrasts, and it's still a fraction of what the camera engine is doing. As long as no pixels move, I see no issue.

10 upvotes
cknapp61
By cknapp61 (11 months ago)

I find it interesting that no one has mentioned the "observer effect", that is how simply observing (measuring/monitoring) a phenomenon, alters said phenomenon. Place a thermometer in a beaker of water to measure the temperature and the temperature of the water is altered slightly by the instrument making the measurement. Introduce a photographer and camera into an event.......is not the event altered?
Craig Knap

1 upvote
rowlandw
By rowlandw (11 months ago)

The camera already processes the image before you do.

Comment edited 29 seconds after posting
2 upvotes
Tom Goodman
By Tom Goodman (11 months ago)

Another bogeyman posing as an argument from the editorial department of DPR. An example of an alteration of significance would be Edward Curtis' removal of an alarm clock from an interior view of a "traditional" dwelling.

These are poor examples of a serious issue.

2 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (11 months ago)

when some people say natural or objective they really mean something not under their control. and if you are at the control, you are going to be blamed.

giving up responsibility becomes a fundamental element of job.

0 upvotes
BobORama
By BobORama (11 months ago)

Lighting and saturation do not significantly alter the image.

A photograph is a point of view. Cropping can misrepresent the real situation that would be clearly understood by a first person observer. If you were to take one of these images and just to the left find people sitting under a palm tree drinking mint juleps.... that changes things.

A photograph is a point in time. Take a time series of a man falling down and a group of riot police helping him back up from the ground. ONE of those shots will look like a police beat down. Another like an act of compassion. The fraud is perpetrated when the shot selected depict the event untruthfully.

And that's just the manipulation a photographer can undertake via composition. You can take artifically long exposures to exaggerate motions to create a sense of people running, violence, excitement. We have not even wandered into the territory of actively GIMPing elements into / out of the images.

-- Bob

8 upvotes
Andreas Stuebs
By Andreas Stuebs (11 months ago)

I feel that some of the posters are missing the point of the argument. It is not about being ethical or unethical. Let me put it in a different context: a couple of years ago I attended a photography master class with an photographic artist from Cologne and when he was looking at some of my work he aked me what was driving me: was I making pictures to document or am I making pictures to achieve some athetics. (note I did not write or mean aesthetically pleasing). I read the article as a question how much should a photograph be pushing itself to the front. Picture of the balaclavered man shows this - the edited work creates a somewhat post-apocaliptic film look. A terminator type of feel. I cannot help but feel, that the photographer was trying more to create a striking image than to show it how it was. It is not unethical - but every person taking pictures will have to decide for him/herself what they are after. And it helps to be aware that there is a line somewhere.

3 upvotes
Joe Smalley
By Joe Smalley (11 months ago)

I think the second example looks far worse post processing!

2 upvotes
Falconest174
By Falconest174 (11 months ago)

I don't find any problem with the image examples shown. All that has been altered is the lighting balance to bring out details that were there but not well shown in the unretouched images. If something is added that was NOT there, then we have a fraud and that should be condemned. Adjusting to bring out details is not wrong, adding or removing details, is.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
stevo23
By stevo23 (11 months ago)

Here is an interesting point.

Anyone who thinks one or the other image is somehow more "accurate" than the other is assuming they know what it was like to be there. And yet, none of us were there and have no idea if the pre or post processed images are more like "reality".

And it's also interesting that some prefer the pre while others preferred the post processed images. Further proof that this is a massively subjective situation.

1 upvote
Bart Eleveld
By Bart Eleveld (11 months ago)

Changing the lighting characteristics in software is no different than postprocessing in a darkroom, which is really no different than selecting a shutter speed and aperture when shooting the picture to begin with. All affect how the image will be perceived. The human eye sees with more flexibility with regard to lighting than any photograph will ever do. The kind of postprocessign shown in these comparisons merely bring the end result more in line with the actual human perception of an event, which is as much subjective as objective. It makes sense to draw the line at removing actual elements that were present, or adding elements that were not present in the original image. And even that could be acceptable if the image is not represented as journalism but rather as an artistic rendering of the picture maker.

0 upvotes
JustFred
By JustFred (11 months ago)

Just some simple tonemapping has been done by the looks of it...don't see what all the hullabalooo is about actually.

2 upvotes
Hugo808
By Hugo808 (11 months ago)

Did anyone ever accuse Don McCullin of image manipulation?

I think complaints should be kept for when someone adds or removes something like an extra tank or ten. Or makes explosions much larger via morphing.

Just altering levels in LR like they did in the example above is perfectly acceptable to me.

1 upvote
hombregrande10
By hombregrande10 (11 months ago)

This issue is somewhat silly. First of all, even with film photography, contrast and brightness were always altered in the darkroom. With different color films, the colors were different, as well, and not always accurate as to the real colors (Kodchrome, for example, exaggerated colors). Regarding digital images, the image is not always accurate in color, contrast, or brightness, and frequently has blown out highlights and underexposed areas that need fixed. So to suggest fixing contrast, brightness, color, etc., is manipulation is just not correct.

This article is somewhat analogous to camera-testing articles that find differences that are in practical terms meaningless -- take sharpness as one example. If you showed people the same image taken with two cameras with small differences in sharpness, hardly anybody would be able to know the difference. In fact, I would bet the testers themselves would not be able to tell most of the time in a blind test of multiple images.

1 upvote
gurmusic
By gurmusic (11 months ago)

I'm sorry but very stupid comparisons, not for slang just to say the truth

0 upvotes
ManuelVilardeMacedo
By ManuelVilardeMacedo (11 months ago)

In my view, the two pictures above don't pose any ethical problems. What was done, in the first one, was to add contrast (both global and local) to good effect; the second picture has received an HDRI (-like) treatment that's aesthetically debatable, but none of the pictures add or subtract anything of what the camera saw. They haven't been forged by adding layers, cloning, or erasing undesired objects, so they're well within the boundaries of ethics. They stay true to reality - which is not a dogma with photography anymore, but remains important in photojournalism.
It's a fact of life that pictures don't look all that good straight out of the camera; some degree of retouching is always called for. The way these pictures were edited is nothing outrageous; they are no more than retouched pictures - even if some may find the editing employed somewhat heavy-handed. There's nothing to discuss here. This can't even be called 'manipulation'.

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
7 upvotes
fibonacci1618
By fibonacci1618 (11 months ago)

Journalistic expression is always subjective, whether in print, in words, in sound, or in the pictorial sense. At the end of the day, it is the editor's job to decide on the content and portrayal of the news item, be it the words, illustration or pictures.

Just as the words used in an article can be expressed in many different equivalent ways, how it is expressed or worded can make a world of a difference, and hence the persuasive or intended effect can be "adjusted to taste". The same thing can be said for the pictures.

After all, a picture may be worth a thousand words, but a thousand different iterations of "those words"...

1 upvote
Ivar Dahl Larsen
By Ivar Dahl Larsen (11 months ago)

In these photographs nothing really deviates from the way the photographer photographed it except the condition of light. What if a photographer underexpose or overexpose a picture, would not the reality of the picture still stand if nothing else is tampered with? It is of importance to raise the question of authencity, but the exampless used here have no significance to the article according to my opinion.

3 upvotes
guyfawkes
By guyfawkes (11 months ago)

I wonder. If it had been possible to take the same images with a film camera loaded with b/w film, one loaded with colour neg, one loaded with slide material, and any number of digital cameras from different manufacturers, wouldn't the images all be different to some degree or another? So which would be the truth, and which the lie?

Actually, these two images don't bother me as I can see, BY COMPARISON, that nothing has been removed or added, other to treat the image in a particular way for emphasis. Are Turner's paintings real life?

5 upvotes
Madaboutpix
By Madaboutpix (11 months ago)

Er, why do so many commentators deride this article on the grounds that photo manipulation is nothing new, and in fact as old as photography itself? Well, it is, but nobody tried to argue this away. To quote from the article: "Image manipulation of documentary photographs is nothing new, but it is certainly much easier now than ever before." That is, the point being made here is just that digital technology has made retouching so damn easy that it can be applied almost casually, unthinkingly, routinely. Now routines certainly make life easier, but it does pay off to challenge routines now and then, especially when they touch ethical issues.

Actually I find the before/after examples quite instructive, since people may differ on what is still ethically acceptable, and where the line is already crossed. Personally, I have little to object to in the first two shots, while I think the one with the child and cattle is quite manipulative (why so much grit? why the cheapo-lens vignette?).

0 upvotes
Steve Balcombe
By Steve Balcombe (11 months ago)

This is a daft argument and always has been. If an image is used to tell a lie, it doesn't matter whether that was achieved by digital manipulation, directing a scene, using a biased selection of images, or whatever. A lie is a lie and the tools used are irrelevant.

Neither of the above examples tells a lie, so there's nothing to object to.

5 upvotes
Nishi Drew
By Nishi Drew (11 months ago)

What do people expect, that the cameras see "Exactly" as a scene should? I'm all for not manipulating a scene unless for purely artistic reasons like putting together a cool front cover shot, but calling exposure, contrast, tone and color adjustments as manipulation is ridiculous... working with RAW, of course you will have post work to do on a photo, and I let people know that I edit every photo and most of the time the reaction is "huh really? You don't just, let the photo be all natural?" I don't get it, what makes a photograph natural to begin with? Photojournalism is through the eyes of the journalist, what he/she sees and possibly wants you to see, there could be so much more to a story with what's outside of the frame, and regardless of shots being staged or not anyways

Comment edited 20 seconds after posting
1 upvote
Nerval
By Nerval (11 months ago)

Eh, I don't understand.

As far as documentaries go or art goes, well the debate will always remain on where is the line and that's fine. After all, it's a healthy one.

However, when it comes to journalism, as in reporter, and news photographer, I (but that's my own opinion) can't figure out why or how there could be any place for retouching other than matching the actual scene (how a human eye sees it): the job is to show reality, not "enhanced reality", so adjusting to match the scene brightness and actual colors okay, "enhancing it", not okay!

Giving it a more dramatic or less dramatic impact, well the selection of images, and the framing already does that a great deal, and now it would not even be what it looks like?

It's illogical, if a journal, newspaper claims to be objective, they ought to do their best to stick to the truth, and we know they will still have trends.

Otherwise they 're just tabloïds trying to sell stories and images...

Comment edited 3 times, last edit 7 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Nerval
By Nerval (11 months ago)

And please...

"enhancements", ah come on, stop jesting with words, enhancing solely means making better, which in that case is subjective, and you do it by retouching, chemicals and burn and dodge process were called that, and they did not move silver particles...

Also, journalists have always manipulated images, and that's nothing new, it's just that saying "go ahead and and do as you please with the representations you bring to your audience" is a bit too much...

Aesthetics, well shoot your shots correctly, not everything in this world has to be aesthetic, moroever what is and what's not is subjective...

After, journalists will always edit their shots, and when they want their photograph to carry a strong message, they will always be very selective on the way they shoot it, and present it... But it should be done prioritizing information, not to please viewers' eyes... (that does not mean the shot cannot be beautiful, I'm talking about intents and principles).

Comment edited 2 times, last edit 9 minutes after posting
0 upvotes
stevo23
By stevo23 (11 months ago)

So you're ultimately proposing a 3D sight and sound experience. In full colour, no black and white. And at boring and sterile angles. And with full HDR. Hmmmm....

0 upvotes
keith james taylor
By keith james taylor (11 months ago)

seames licke another good reason not to subscribe to CC ;=)

0 upvotes
MadMacStew
By MadMacStew (11 months ago)

I had a similar discussion with a friend who photographed a near-miss at an air show where a jet fighter is on full thrust, afterburners, everything flat to the wall trying to avoid hitting the ground on a slow pass that went a bit too low. Great shot, but in the mostly green and grey background there is a red/white striped pole which is very distracting. When I suggested that the shot would be better with the pole removed, his (somewhat pretentious IMO) reply was "Certainly not - that shot is *far* too important for that!"

Food for thought - absolute accuracy to the scene, or removal of a distracting irrelevance?

2 upvotes
wootpile
By wootpile (11 months ago)

Bwahaha! I choke on my coffee.. Only people who have never been in a real darkroom think editing / retouching is something new and controversial. LOL!

Staged shots? EVERY shot made with a glass plate box camera was always staged because the exposure times were so long.

it isn't about how you do it. The only thing that matters is the content / message of your image.

2 upvotes
Greg VdB
By Greg VdB (11 months ago)

I like my images to look natural, so the war-movie treatment will never do it for me anyway, but what concerns me most in the case of "documentary" photography are staged images.

0 upvotes
yabokkie
By yabokkie (11 months ago)

post processing has been an integral part of photography since the very beginning 150 years ago. there is no such thing as "documentary truth" that you can get without post processing. you only give out the control to the people who don't know you, your subject, or your audience: the engineers who invented the film, the staff at film development laboratory, ...

no post processing, no photography

Comment edited 4 times, last edit 13 minutes after posting
3 upvotes
kgreggain
By kgreggain (11 months ago)

Simple contrast and vignetting changes ?? It's not like they photoshopped in a dead goat.

Check out the story on Eugene Smith, war photographer. He would spend weeks in the dark room with his prints getting them just right.

Comment edited 56 seconds after posting
3 upvotes
Total comments: 94
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