Photo-manipulations vs. photography

Started 3 months ago | Polls thread
Levantinian Regular Member • Posts: 153
Re: Computer art vs. photography

Lin Evans wrote:

Levantinian wrote:

Laybourne wrote:

But is the line between the two really as cut and dry as they make it out to be?

What do you think?

The line between photography and decorative art employing a digital image file and computer manipulation is quite well defined.

It is a photograph if the computer manipulation of camera generated digital file is restricted to the following:

  1. Restoration of image perspective to what it would be if the lens axis and the sensor x direction were both in the horizontal plane.
  2. Crop within the existing sensor frame.
  3. Correction of blemishes introduced by the foreign particles on the sensor surface.
  4. Correction for the colour temperature, light sensitivity and contrast, uniform over the whole image frame.

If there is any computer manipulation of the image file produced by the camera, it may well be art, but it is not photography.

But the camera itself is a "computer," is it not?

Camera is primarily an optical instrument that captures the light intensity of the visible points in three-dimensional scene in front of it on a two-dimensional sensor or film inside it. If it is a digital camera, then yes, there is a computer that records the intensity (and colour components) of each pixel into a digital file, performing (in general case) only the transformations covered by item (4) above.

There might be other corrections that are caused by imperfect recording characteristics of the sensor, or the imperfect optical characteristics of the lens, but those are uniform over the frame of the sensor and do not materially infringe on the restrictions specified above.

A perfectly objective rendering is an unobtainable ideal. The restriction outlined above help in keeping photography within the realm of communication where most viewers believe that if they were at the same spot as the photographer, at the time the exposure was made, what the scene depicts is what they would have seen. The art of the photograph, if it exists, is the consequence of the creative selection of the place and time of the exposure, and not of the artist's emotional manipulation of it - which is the domain of another art form, namely painting.

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