Do we get too obsessed by "real"?

Started 1 month ago | Discussions thread
OP MOD Tom Caldwell Forum Pro • Posts: 43,180
Re: I think distinguishing real and fake is important


I agree,  some photographic post processing is made to try and make the image more realistic to life. However much of it is to try and make the image look better. Good PP software can indeed  make an image more attractive and repair faults.

At some point the post processing can actually take over and change reality.

The point where camera made image becomes “improved” to something else must involved a photographic ethics issue.

Quite often the result is the corollary where we often excuse our lack of PP effort by the code “sooc” which is of course “straight out of the camera” to which we usually add “jpg” so that we can perhaps blame the jpg engine of the camera for any lack of quality.

I could not say that PP from raw is actually cheating.  If the raw processor is so set that it knows to fix casual white balance errors by default then many might think that the camera engine is at fault and post processing the same image involves some wonder tricks by brilliant software design.   But this does not solve intentional “errors” where we might deliberately over or under expose or even decide to use an incorrect white balance simply for effect.

I prefer that my raw processing software first replicates my actual camera settings from the metadata (so that the camera engine and PP software should come to much the same conclusion - warts and all) and I can then tell it to correct (for example) my slack white balance.  Make it cooler or more vibrant.  After all more saturated colours always look better ….  Grey skies are dreary, drought affected greenery is often very drab looking.

I also agree that images which I call photographic-art (Phart) are so obviously processed and not painted that there is no need to tell the audience that they are not real. Sometimes they can look like photographic reproductions of painted art, sometimes they can be so nuanced that it is hard to tell whether it is art or photograph.

But as we all like to present or best work then the one that somehow looks better is the one that is shared.

Future historians are sure to wonder why families were always happy and smiling in portraits.  Also when young friends went out they always sat huddled up with arms around shoulders and whatever made them so merry turned their eyes red.  Reality is a mixed bag.

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Tom Caldwell

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