Photo-manipulations vs. photography

Started 5 months ago | Polls
Laybourne
Laybourne Forum Member • Posts: 57
Photo-manipulations vs. photography

On DPR's homepage, there's a story about how 500px has drawn a distinction between what it sees as photography and what it considers a photo manipulation.

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

What do you think?

POLL
Yes, it is
26.0% 20  votes
No, there is some gray area.
74.0% 57  votes
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J A C S
J A C S Forum Pro • Posts: 15,072
Re: Photo-manipulations vs. photography
4

There is no clear line but this does not mean that there is no distinction at all.

mamallama
mamallama Forum Pro • Posts: 56,305
Re: Photo-manipulations vs. photography
5

Photo manipulations imply distorting reality which is not photography. Things like blue screening and cutting objects out of a scene are distortions of reality and thus not photography.

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yardcoyote Forum Pro • Posts: 12,096
Re: Photo-manipulations vs. photography
3

I know exactly where I put the line in my own work.

Otherwise (and generally speaking), if I can see the manipulation, then i call it "digital art based on a photograph or several photographs", not photography. And yes, that includes HDR if the effect is dramatic enough that I can see it.

Digital art is not a bad thing by any means, but it is its own thing.

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teejaywhy
teejaywhy Regular Member • Posts: 271
Re: Photo-manipulations vs. photography
3

I can't define it, but I know it when I see it.

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Sara Valentine Contributing Member • Posts: 893
Re: Photo-manipulations vs. photography

J A C S wrote:

There is no clear line but this does not mean that there is no distinction at all.

Perhaps in this specific instance.

Sara Valentine Contributing Member • Posts: 893
Re: Photo-manipulations vs. photography
1

Laybourne wrote:

On DPR's homepage, there's a story about how 500px has drawn a distinction between what it sees as photography and what it considers a photo manipulation.

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

What do you think?

The problem is 500px hasn't clarified to what extent a photograph can be manipulated (seems like copyright is the actual issue). Would the artist in question have been reprimanded had they held the copyrights to all the base image content to produce the final images?

Images also don't have to be as abstract to be manipulated either, a problem prevalent in journalism: https://www.niemanlab.org/2019/06/can-you-spot-a-fake-photo-online-your-level-of-experience-online-matters-a-lot-more-than-contextual-clues/.

Jake2046
Jake2046 Regular Member • Posts: 241
Re: Photo-manipulations vs. photography
1

my question is does Karcz even own a camera?

Seemed like all his works are borrowed images from someone else.

Don Lacy
Don Lacy Senior Member • Posts: 2,064
Re: Photo-manipulations vs. photography
8

mamallama wrote:

Photo manipulations imply distorting reality which is not photography. Things like blue screening and cutting objects out of a scene are distortions of reality and thus not photography.

So if I do say a Humming bird set up were I use a flower that I placed sugar water in then place a artificial back ground behind it and use six flashes to light everything it’s not a photograph according to your definition. So I guess my sons school pictures are not photographs either. I am confused when did the definition change and who changed it.

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robgendreau Veteran Member • Posts: 6,151
Re: Photo-manipulations vs. photography

Sara Valentine wrote:

Laybourne wrote:

On DPR's homepage, there's a story about how 500px has drawn a distinction between what it sees as photography and what it considers a photo manipulation.

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

What do you think?

The problem is 500px hasn't clarified to what extent a photograph can be manipulated (seems like copyright is the actual issue). Would the artist in question have been reprimanded had they held the copyrights to all the base image content to produce the final images?

Images also don't have to be as abstract to be manipulated either, a problem prevalent in journalism: https://www.niemanlab.org/2019/06/can-you-spot-a-fake-photo-online-your-level-of-experience-online-matters-a-lot-more-than-contextual-clues/.

Yes, that does seem to be the problem. The note from 500px said it was going to be "a purely photography website." Rather vague, and somewhat ungrammatical. No stacking? no composites, of say milky way with foreground taken at the same time and spot?

But I suspect they just wanted his images off there, maybe because someone complained he sampled their shot.

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sybersitizen Forum Pro • Posts: 14,118
Re: Photo-manipulations vs. photography
5

Manipulation is a part of the photographic process. On a basic level it can begin as soon as a photographer chooses what to include in a composition or exclude, and it can continue in many directions from there.

mamallama
mamallama Forum Pro • Posts: 56,305
Re: Photo-manipulations vs. photography
2

sybersitizen wrote:

Manipulation is a part of the photographic process. On a basic level it can begin as soon as a photographer chooses what to include in a composition or exclude, and it can continue in many directions from there.

I think photo-manipulation of the OP is different from the manipulation you are talking about that includes choosing a composition.

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misterodd
misterodd Senior Member • Posts: 1,284
Re: Photo-manipulations vs. photography

It's grey.  It always is.  The problem is one of language.  A problem of signification.

There are others problems here, as well.  But fundamentally, this is a linguistic problem and it's inescapable.

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sybersitizen Forum Pro • Posts: 14,118
Re: Photo-manipulations vs. photography
2

mamallama wrote:

sybersitizen wrote:

Manipulation is a part of the photographic process. On a basic level it can begin as soon as a photographer chooses what to include in a composition or exclude, and it can continue in many directions from there.

I think photo-manipulation of the OP is different from the manipulation you are talking about that includes choosing a composition.

Yes, it's different. There can be a progression from minimal manipulation to obvious, rampant manipulation, and people have been known to raise personal objections to manipulation almost anywhere along that progression.

Hello123
Hello123 Senior Member • Posts: 1,320
Re: Photo-manipulations vs. photography
1

Laybourne wrote:

On DPR's homepage, there's a story about how 500px has drawn a distinction between what it sees as photography and what it considers a photo manipulation.

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

What do you think?

Can this be narrowed down to something as simple as documentation versus artistic expression?

misterodd
misterodd Senior Member • Posts: 1,284
Re: Photo-manipulations vs. photography

mamallama wrote:

Photo manipulations imply distorting reality which is not photography. Things like blue screening and cutting objects out of a scene are distortions of reality and thus not photography.

I completely understanding your line of thought and it's a fair definition relatively consistent with the opinions of many individuals and groups, photographers and non-photographers, alike.

In a broader sense, perhaps a socio-philosophical sense, however, even "photography" is inherently "manipulative" as it provides no context, especially historical context.  In the case where images are used for purposes outside the aesthetic realm, an image, whether it be a overtly engineered or left alone, possesses the potential to serve ideological purposes, particularly, if this is the very intention of either the photographer or the editor or the medium, etc.

Without context, there is little meaning; coherent understanding can only be derived contextually.  Since an image is frozen in space and time, we have to be careful judges.

An image is one signifier among an inexhaustible many and can fall prey to the machinations of those who do not use photography to enlighten or edify or inspire others.

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mamallama
mamallama Forum Pro • Posts: 56,305
Re: Photo-manipulations vs. photography

Don Lacy wrote:

mamallama wrote:

Photo manipulations imply distorting reality which is not photography. Things like blue screening and cutting objects out of a scene are distortions of reality and thus not photography.

So if I do say a Humming bird set up were I use a flower that I placed sugar water in then place a artificial back ground behind it and use six flashes to light everything it’s not a photograph according to your definition. So I guess my sons school pictures are not photographs either. I am confused when did the definition change and who changed it.

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.

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J A C S
J A C S Forum Pro • Posts: 15,072
Re: Photo-manipulations vs. photography
1

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.

This is the MW definition of photographic, not photography; it is incomplete (it should end with "of a photograph"); and it is one of the three. The definition of photograph is different.

Don Lacy
Don Lacy Senior Member • Posts: 2,064
Re: Photo-manipulations vs. photography
6

mamallama wrote:

Don Lacy wrote:

mamallama wrote:

Photo manipulations imply distorting reality which is not photography. Things like blue screening and cutting objects out of a scene are distortions of reality and thus not photography.

So if I do say a Humming bird set up were I use a flower that I placed sugar water in then place a artificial back ground behind it and use six flashes to light everything it’s not a photograph according to your definition. So I guess my sons school pictures are not photographs either. I am confused when did the definition change and who changed it.

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.

Both of my examples distorted reality or more important show a false reality so my question is why in the process of of making an image does it matter when I distort reality.  If I do it before I press the shutter it’s a photograph after I press the shutter in a editing program it no longer is a photograph one of the problems I have with that is when it was done in a dark room it was still considered a photograph.  So why have the rules changed if I did a double exposure using film it’s a photograph if I combine two I’mages in PS it’s no longer a photograph.

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MisterBG Veteran Member • Posts: 6,755
Re: Photo-manipulations vs. photography

mamallama wrote:

Photo manipulations imply distorting reality which is not photography. Things like blue screening and cutting objects out of a scene are distortions of reality and thus not photography.

So do you believe the camera never lies?

In fact the camera rarely tells the truth.

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