Photo-manipulations vs. photography

Started 3 months ago | Polls thread
lilBuddha Veteran Member • Posts: 4,369
Re: Photo-manipulations vs. photography

knickerhawk wrote:

Lin Evans wrote:

mamallama wrote:

Krav Maga wrote:

Offside wrote:

Krav Maga wrote:

mamallama wrote:

Only on a dpr forum are there arguments about the definitions of very simple fundamental things:

Dictionary definition:

Photograph: representing nature and human beings with exactness.

Both of your examples fit the above definition of a photograph.

So a black and white photo is not a photo.

Got it.

I doubt any reasonable person would make the statement you just made. You probably know that.

I think the definition of what is and isn't a photograph is determined by what it is used for. The processing of a "true" photograph should not go beyond making only those changes to best represent what your eyes saw. That's pretty liberal.

Nothing wrong with staging a scene to create a photograph, the example being bird feeders, etc. I do believe it is best to clarify what was done if a scene is staged.

I generally agree with you. I was responding to the notion that a photograph can only be a representation of "nature and human beings with exactness" which mamallama seems to advocate, unless I've misread them.

Scene representation does not need to include color. The early photographs were all black and white or sepia and white.

Using that definition, even using a lens filter would render a photograph as not being a photograph.

Using a lens filter is an attempt to obtain a better representation of the scene, not an attempt to misrepresent the scene.

The photographic process is not perfect but its purpose is to obtain an exact representation of the scene as the photographic capability allows. Deliberate attempts to misrepresent the scene is what deviates from being a real photograph. That distinction makes it clear what is a photograph and what is art based on the photographic process. Can some photo art be passed off as a photograph? Yes. But that does not change any definitions.

So if an ND filter is used to make moving water look different, it misrepresents the scene and therefore is not a photograph? You see there are all kinds of problems with making blanket statements. What the human eye and brain see and interpret are quite different than what another sentient creature might see. A cat sees things in darkness differently than a human so if the camera is set up to represent what a cat sees does that negate the definition of a photograph?
The reality is that there exist many frequencies which humans can't see but which other sentient creatures can. So using a camera which can record these other frequencies by that definition would not qualify as photography? It gets confusing, doesn't it?

Understanding "reality" and its relation to the observer and the observer's representation of reality has been confusing from the era of Plato's allegory of the cave to Heisenberg's uncertainty principle. We still have a lot to learn, but one thing we can be confident about is that the conception of a reality "out there" that can be faithfully recorded by a device is a simplistic one and, hence, the follow-on notion that any change applied to that faithful recording is somehow illegitimate is also naive. This topic is inherently a gray one. If we don't start the discussion with that fundamental understanding, we'll get nowhere with defining acceptable working definitions that reasonably balance of historical usage of the term, "photograph" with changing technology and social practices.

One problem is that people do not start with conversation with an understanding of the historical use of photography. Much of what people argue against in digital is fundamentally unchanged from film. Digital makes things easier and in many cases more versatile and powerful, but most of what we do is fundamentally no different to what has been done in the nearly 200 years of photography.

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