Photo-manipulations vs. photography

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MisterBG Veteran Member • Posts: 6,666
Re: Photo-manipulations vs. photography

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.

It's the difference between TAKING a photograph and MAKING a photograph.

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mamallama
mamallama Forum Pro • Posts: 55,885
Re: Photo-manipulations vs. photography
1

Don Lacy wrote:

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.

Are you real or not? If you are real what you created for the hummingbird picture was real.

If you do a double exposure you have two photos superimposed. You can have two photos in the same space or overlapping.

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mamallama
mamallama Forum Pro • Posts: 55,885
Re: Photo-manipulations vs. photography

MisterBG wrote:

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.

It's the difference between TAKING a photograph and MAKING a photograph.

A doctored photograph is not a real photograph. That is the issue involved in the 500px judgment.

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mamallama
mamallama Forum Pro • Posts: 55,885
Re: Photo-manipulations vs. photography

MisterBG 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 do you believe the camera never lies?

In fact the camera rarely tells the truth.

That is besides the point. A photograph does not have to be a prefect representation of the real scene or object..

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thenoilif Senior Member • Posts: 1,187
Adding emotion

I believe that a photo can be manipulated quite a bit so long as it is meant to give a complete representation of what the photographer felt and saw at that moment. A common and simple tactic to do this is black and white or images that are rendering in a dominant color.

There was another article about a photographer getting an award taken away because he edited a photo of an elephant and the ears got switched around. The sky was also likely changed out to give the image a more dramatic feel. Some argued that the background being changed alone should have also gotten the photographer disqualified but I feel that is fine if the change helped to re-create what the photographer perceived and felt at the time.

For me, photography isn't just a 100% recreation of a scene because that is a very subjective thing. Light is tricky and our cameras are usually calibrated for art, not scientific accuracy. I tend to find that some people, with more of them being found on a gear site, tend to lean toward the belief that the cameras are calibrated for science.

Stephenhampshire
Stephenhampshire Contributing Member • Posts: 940
Re: Photo-manipulations vs. photography

But all photographs are "doctored" either in camera, which applies the user's JPEG settings (which can now include HDR, multiple exposures to increase resolution, shadow boosting etc etc) or by post processing from RAW. I process photos by selectively adjusting areas to, say, lift shadows. I may tweak light balance to make the photo look more like I remembered the scene to be. This is before any cloning to remove errant TV arials etc. I did all thiis in the darkroom years ago, digital merely makes it easier. Where you draw the line between "photograph" and "digital art" is a personal decision.

Which of course makes life difficult for photo hosting sites, photographic competition judges and newspaper editors

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mamallama
mamallama Forum Pro • Posts: 55,885
Re: Photo-manipulations vs. photography

Stephenhampshire wrote:

But all photographs are "doctored" either in camera

No photograph is a perfect image of the scene, but an image is doctored when there is a deliberate effort to misrepresent the scene being photographed.

, which applies the user's JPEG settings (which can now include HDR, multiple exposures to increase resolution, shadow boosting etc etc) or by post processing from RAW. I process photos by selectively adjusting areas to, say, lift shadows. I may tweak light balance to make the photo look more like I remembered the scene to be.

That is not a deliberate effort to misrepresent. That is actually an effort to represent ans best you can remember.

This is before any cloning to remove errant TV arials etc. I did all thiis in the darkroom years ago, digital merely makes it easier. Where you draw the line between "photograph" and "digital art" is a personal decision.

See my statement about deliberate effort to misrepresent.

Which of course makes life difficult for photo hosting sites, photographic competition judges and newspaper editors

The rules should be well stated. Like you cannot switch out the elephant ears. 

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FoPar Regular Member • Posts: 115
Re: Photo-manipulations vs. photography

photo manipulations, over and above appropriate photographic post-processing, are generally worthless in photographic terms

these forms of image are best produced by painting or drawing

gary0319
gary0319 Veteran Member • Posts: 6,086
Re: Photo-manipulations vs. photography

I make my own distinction as between photo “taking” and photo “making”. If I make in camera changes before the shutter is released, be it changes in aperture, change to mono, or even applying an in-camera filter, it is all part of the taking process. Once the image is captured, from than on I’m in the making process.

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gardenersassistant Veteran Member • Posts: 6,227
Re: Photo-manipulations vs. photography

gary0319 wrote:

I make my own distinction as between photo “taking” and photo “making”. If I make in camera changes before the shutter is released, be it changes in aperture, change to mono, or even applying an in-camera filter, it is all part of the taking process. Once the image is captured, from than on I’m in the making process.

I think similarly, and to that end I think in terms of taking (or capturing) a photo (or photos)  and then making an image from it (or them).

I'm content to refer to the photo taking and image making activities collectively as photography. In fact, I would even use photography for images made by stacking frames extracted from videos. Despite the obvious logical/definitional flaws in this usage I can't think of a more appropriate term to use.

knickerhawk Veteran Member • Posts: 6,364
Re: Photo-manipulations vs. photography

gardenersassistant wrote:

gary0319 wrote:

I make my own distinction as between photo “taking” and photo “making”. If I make in camera changes before the shutter is released, be it changes in aperture, change to mono, or even applying an in-camera filter, it is all part of the taking process. Once the image is captured, from than on I’m in the making process.

I think similarly, and to that end I think in terms of taking (or capturing) a photo (or photos) and then making an image from it (or them).

I'm content to refer to the photo taking and image making activities collectively as photography. In fact, I would even use photography for images made by stacking frames extracted from videos. Despite the obvious logical/definitional flaws in this usage I can't think of a more appropriate term to use.

OK, but where does that "distinction" get us with respect to defining what is "photography" and what is something else (call it "digital art")? Consider the difference between using an optical filter and a digital one. The former presumably is part of the so-called "taking" stage and the latter is part of the "making" stage. The results with respect to the final image are often virtually identical. Is one approach somehow more "legitimate" than the other?

Or consider the even more extreme case of a pretty bird-on-a-branch image with a very blurry background. There are two ways to achieve that effect. The "taking" solution is to use a long focal length and large aperture to create the background blur. It requires some physical effort (the presumably extra weight of the lens) and expense in terms of the presumably extra cost of a fast telephoto lens. The "making" solution is to use software to blur the background (these days, the software solution might be automated/AI based or it might involve lots of manual manipulation that cost in terms of software and editing time and effort). It used to be that the "making" solutions were pretty easily recognizable and the results were not as satisfying as the "taking" solution, but that's less and less the case, depending on scene, success of the software and skill of the "maker" and we should assume that it will only get more and more difficult to see any differences in this particular taking/making scenario. One point to bear in mind is that neither solution that results in the blurred background is particularly "realistic" in the sense of that's how we "see" a bird sitting on a branch. They are both significant manipulations of "reality". So, where does that leave us?

One final thought here. Adams introduced us to the notion of "previsualization" - i.e., even at the beginning of the "taking" stage, it's important to think about the image-making process holistically. It involves a feedback loop of anticipating the necessary "making" manipulations and then adjusting the "taking" manipulations accordingly. The human capacity to plan means that the photographic image-making process should be considered as a continuum with lots of possibilities for shifting the manipulations to one stage or the other for reasons of convenience, available equipment, available time, individual skill-sets and preferences, etc. which may have little or nothing to do with aesthetic values or intentions to mis/represent what the photographer "sees".

It's a very slippery slope and I don't think the making/taking distinction does much to help us understand where we're at on the slope.

The Ghost of Caravaggio Contributing Member • Posts: 705
Some Things Never Change
2

Photo-manipulations are as old as photography. The Pictorialism movement became popular from ~ 1886-1915. Pictorialism was a response to the view that photography was not – nor could it ever be – art.

Before digital imaging mage manipulation was tedious, and inconvenient and required a soime degree of technical skill. Now children under the age of 10 manipulate images using their parents and siblings phones.

The problem isn't manipulation. The problem is inelegant, sloppy manipulation because it is so easy to achieve.

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Dreemer Regular Member • Posts: 381
Re: Photo-manipulations vs. photography

gary0319 wrote:

I make my own distinction as between photo “taking” and photo “making”. If I make in camera changes before the shutter is released, be it changes in aperture, change to mono, or even applying an in-camera filter, it is all part of the taking process. Once the image is captured, from than on I’m in the making process.

I used to think similar, before I became aware that it was I myself that brought an image into existence by the act of pointing a lens, and that I could create unique images of the same scene by choosing different lenses. For myself, making starts as the lens cap is removed.

steve

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gary0319
gary0319 Veteran Member • Posts: 6,086
Re: Photo-manipulations vs. photography

knickerhawk wrote:

gardenersassistant wrote:

gary0319 wrote:

I make my own distinction as between photo “taking” and photo “making”. If I make in camera changes before the shutter is released, be it changes in aperture, change to mono, or even applying an in-camera filter, it is all part of the taking process. Once the image is captured, from than on I’m in the making process.

I think similarly, and to that end I think in terms of taking (or capturing) a photo (or photos) and then making an image from it (or them).

I'm content to refer to the photo taking and image making activities collectively as photography. In fact, I would even use photography for images made by stacking frames extracted from videos. Despite the obvious logical/definitional flaws in this usage I can't think of a more appropriate term to use.

OK, but where does that "distinction" get us with respect to defining what is "photography" and what is something else (call it "digital art")? Consider the difference between using an optical filter and a digital one. The former presumably is part of the so-called "taking" stage and the latter is part of the "making" stage. The results with respect to the final image are often virtually identical. Is one approach somehow more "legitimate" than the other?

Or consider the even more extreme case of a pretty bird-on-a-branch image with a very blurry background. There are two ways to achieve that effect. The "taking" solution is to use a long focal length and large aperture to create the background blur. It requires some physical effort (the presumably extra weight of the lens) and expense in terms of the presumably extra cost of a fast telephoto lens. The "making" solution is to use software to blur the background (these days, the software solution might be automated/AI based or it might involve lots of manual manipulation that cost in terms of software and editing time and effort). It used to be that the "making" solutions were pretty easily recognizable and the results were not as satisfying as the "taking" solution, but that's less and less the case, depending on scene, success of the software and skill of the "maker" and we should assume that it will only get more and more difficult to see any differences in this particular taking/making scenario. One point to bear in mind is that neither solution that results in the blurred background is particularly "realistic" in the sense of that's how we "see" a bird sitting on a branch. They are both significant manipulations of "reality". So, where does that leave us?

One final thought here. Adams introduced us to the notion of "previsualization" - i.e., even at the beginning of the "taking" stage, it's important to think about the image-making process holistically. It involves a feedback loop of anticipating the necessary "making" manipulations and then adjusting the "taking" manipulations accordingly. The human capacity to plan means that the photographic image-making process should be considered as a continuum with lots of possibilities for shifting the manipulations to one stage or the other for reasons of convenience, available equipment, available time, individual skill-sets and preferences, etc. which may have little or nothing to do with aesthetic values or intentions to mis/represent what the photographer "sees".

It's a very slippery slope and I don't think the making/taking distinction does much to help us understand where we're at on the slope.

In my mind you have unnecessarily complicated the issue. It's simple, if you use any of the technology in your scene recording device prior to the time the sensor is offloaded to the recording medium, be it an SD card, a tethered computer, or some film......it is part of the taking process. Once the image is recorded on the storage medium, the taking has ended and the making begins.

The dividing line is that exact moment the image, as adjusted by the photographer, has been "frozen" by the camera,

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knickerhawk Veteran Member • Posts: 6,364
Re: Photo-manipulations vs. photography

gary0319 wrote:

knickerhawk wrote:

gardenersassistant wrote:

gary0319 wrote:

I make my own distinction as between photo “taking” and photo “making”. If I make in camera changes before the shutter is released, be it changes in aperture, change to mono, or even applying an in-camera filter, it is all part of the taking process. Once the image is captured, from than on I’m in the making process.

I think similarly, and to that end I think in terms of taking (or capturing) a photo (or photos) and then making an image from it (or them).

I'm content to refer to the photo taking and image making activities collectively as photography. In fact, I would even use photography for images made by stacking frames extracted from videos. Despite the obvious logical/definitional flaws in this usage I can't think of a more appropriate term to use.

OK, but where does that "distinction" get us with respect to defining what is "photography" and what is something else (call it "digital art")? Consider the difference between using an optical filter and a digital one. The former presumably is part of the so-called "taking" stage and the latter is part of the "making" stage. The results with respect to the final image are often virtually identical. Is one approach somehow more "legitimate" than the other?

Or consider the even more extreme case of a pretty bird-on-a-branch image with a very blurry background. There are two ways to achieve that effect. The "taking" solution is to use a long focal length and large aperture to create the background blur. It requires some physical effort (the presumably extra weight of the lens) and expense in terms of the presumably extra cost of a fast telephoto lens. The "making" solution is to use software to blur the background (these days, the software solution might be automated/AI based or it might involve lots of manual manipulation that cost in terms of software and editing time and effort). It used to be that the "making" solutions were pretty easily recognizable and the results were not as satisfying as the "taking" solution, but that's less and less the case, depending on scene, success of the software and skill of the "maker" and we should assume that it will only get more and more difficult to see any differences in this particular taking/making scenario. One point to bear in mind is that neither solution that results in the blurred background is particularly "realistic" in the sense of that's how we "see" a bird sitting on a branch. They are both significant manipulations of "reality". So, where does that leave us?

One final thought here. Adams introduced us to the notion of "previsualization" - i.e., even at the beginning of the "taking" stage, it's important to think about the image-making process holistically. It involves a feedback loop of anticipating the necessary "making" manipulations and then adjusting the "taking" manipulations accordingly. The human capacity to plan means that the photographic image-making process should be considered as a continuum with lots of possibilities for shifting the manipulations to one stage or the other for reasons of convenience, available equipment, available time, individual skill-sets and preferences, etc. which may have little or nothing to do with aesthetic values or intentions to mis/represent what the photographer "sees".

It's a very slippery slope and I don't think the making/taking distinction does much to help us understand where we're at on the slope.

In my mind you have unnecessarily complicated the issue. It's simple, if you use any of the technology in your scene recording device prior to the time the sensor is offloaded to the recording medium, be it an SD card, a tethered computer, or some film......it is part of the taking process. Once the image is recorded on the storage medium, the taking has ended and the making begins.

The dividing line is that exact moment the image, as adjusted by the photographer, has been "frozen" by the camera,

The question is, "So what?"

What does that particular dividing line achieve? Yes, it's simple enough to understand, but how does it clarify anything about what's a "photograph" and what's something else?

And even within the clear demarcation between "taking" and "making" there's some fundamental ambiguities hidden. Is the Polaroid process a purely "taking" process with no "making" involved? Is the OOC JPEG process a purely "taking" process with no "making" involved? How is that different in any meaningful way to shooting raw and then processing the raw with default settings in the camera maker's raw converter? How is that meaningfully different from processing the raw with default settings in a non-camera maker's raw converter?

In short, even the "clear" taking/making distinction breaks down, and that's even before any consideration of how it helps resolve the original question posed by this thread.

Krav Maga
Krav Maga Senior Member • Posts: 2,878
Re: Photo-manipulations vs. photography

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.

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knickerhawk Veteran Member • Posts: 6,364
Re: Some Things Never Change
1

The Ghost of Caravaggio wrote:

Photo-manipulations are as old as photography. The Pictorialism movement became popular from ~ 1886-1915. Pictorialism was a response to the view that photography was not – nor could it ever be – art.

Indeed. It was an effort to legitimize photography as a form of art and not just as some poor substitute that anyone with a camera could achieve. Then came "straight photography" proponents like Adams, Weston, et.al. who rejected the notion of tying photography's legitimacy as an art form to other forms of art, like painting. Today, that debate is completely dead. Nobody argues anymore that photography isn't a legitimate art form in its own right. Nobody cares whether or not photographs parrot the look of representational or abstract painting.

And in all likelihood, as we move into the era of deep fakes, AI and all that comes along with it, the need to legitimize "digital" image making by tying it back to accepted conventions of "photography" will just fall away. Eventually, nobody will really care or expect that what they're viewing is unadulterated "reality" captured without "manipulation". They will have long-since accepted that any such claimed distinction is a rather quaint one, not unlike the attitude we have today about photography vs. painting.

Before digital imaging mage manipulation was tedious, and inconvenient and required a soime degree of technical skill. Now children under the age of 10 manipulate images using their parents and siblings phones.

The problem isn't manipulation. The problem is inelegant, sloppy manipulation because it is so easy to achieve.

That's a problem, to be sure, but again art history can tell us something about this. Abstract art in the form of "inelegant, sloppy manipulations" of paint is also easy to achieve. Kids in kindergarten create "abstract art" every day! Despite the many grumblings and dismissals of abstract art based on this same argument, somehow that particular form of art has survived and even flourished.

gardenersassistant Veteran Member • Posts: 6,227
Re: Photo-manipulations vs. photography

knickerhawk wrote:

gardenersassistant wrote:

gary0319 wrote:

I make my own distinction as between photo “taking” and photo “making”. If I make in camera changes before the shutter is released, be it changes in aperture, change to mono, or even applying an in-camera filter, it is all part of the taking process. Once the image is captured, from than on I’m in the making process.

I think similarly, and to that end I think in terms of taking (or capturing) a photo (or photos) and then making an image from it (or them).

I'm content to refer to the photo taking and image making activities collectively as photography. In fact, I would even use photography for images made by stacking frames extracted from videos. Despite the obvious logical/definitional flaws in this usage I can't think of a more appropriate term to use.

OK, but where does that "distinction" get us with respect to defining what is "photography" and what is something else (call it "digital art")?

Nowhere, it seems to me. It wasn't about that.

Consider the difference between using an optical filter and a digital one. The former presumably is part of the so-called "taking" stage and the latter is part of the "making" stage. The results with respect to the final image are often virtually identical. Is one approach somehow more "legitimate" than the other?

And nowhere in relation to "legitimacy". It wasn't about that.

Or consider the even more extreme case of a pretty bird-on-a-branch image with a very blurry background. There are two ways to achieve that effect. The "taking" solution is to use a long focal length and large aperture to create the background blur. It requires some physical effort (the presumably extra weight of the lens) and expense in terms of the presumably extra cost of a fast telephoto lens. The "making" solution is to use software to blur the background (these days, the software solution might be automated/AI based or it might involve lots of manual manipulation that cost in terms of software and editing time and effort). It used to be that the "making" solutions were pretty easily recognizable and the results were not as satisfying as the "taking" solution, but that's less and less the case, depending on scene, success of the software and skill of the "maker" and we should assume that it will only get more and more difficult to see any differences in this particular taking/making scenario. One point to bear in mind is that neither solution that results in the blurred background is particularly "realistic" in the sense of that's how we "see" a bird sitting on a branch. They are both significant manipulations of "reality".

And nowhere in relation to "realism". It wasn't about that.

So, where does that leave us?

In relation to your three areas above, no further forward. It didn't address any of them.

One final thought here. Adams introduced us to the notion of "previsualization" - i.e., even at the beginning of the "taking" stage, it's important to think about the image-making process holistically. It involves a feedback loop of anticipating the necessary "making" manipulations and then adjusting the "taking" manipulations accordingly. The human capacity to plan means that the photographic image-making process should be considered as a continuum with lots of possibilities for shifting the manipulations to one stage or the other for reasons of convenience, available equipment, available time, individual skill-sets and preferences, etc. which may have little or nothing to do with aesthetic values or intentions to mis/represent what the photographer "sees".

And it wasn't about aesthetics or intentions either.

It's a very slippery slope and I don't think the making/taking distinction does much to help us understand where we're at on the slope.

I was on a different hillside.

(It was about how I use the word "photography", loosely, "Despite the obvious logical/definitional flaws", in the apparent absence of "a more appropriate term".)

FoPar Regular Member • Posts: 115
Re: Photo-manipulations vs. photography
2

to be meaningful a photograph has to be an accurate record

photo manipulations may be decorative, attractive, enjoyable etc. but are essentially meaningless

otherwise a 'photograph' is just another entertainment and has no historical and lasting value and photography is no longer a unique medium

knickerhawk Veteran Member • Posts: 6,364
Re: Photo-manipulations vs. photography

FoPar wrote:

to be meaningful a photograph has to be an accurate record

Your two adjectival qualifiers ("meaningful" and "accurate") make this claim so vague as to be empty. As soon as you start defining those two terms, things start getting complicated. Indeed, that's pretty much what this whole thread has been about.

photo manipulations may be decorative, attractive, enjoyable etc. but are essentially meaningless

In which case, you're condemning the entire history art photography to being non-meaningful. You seem to be arguing here that any form of photography that isn't purely forensic and admissible as evidence in a court of law isn't "meaningful." I don't think I'm alone in rejecting the idea that photography is "meaningful" only to the extent it involves no human judgment either during capture or during transformation to a viewable medium or, for that matter, during the act of viewing the image (i.e., your monitor's settings, the room's lighting, the distance of the viewer from the image, etc.)

otherwise a 'photograph' is just another entertainment and has no historical and lasting value and photography is no longer a unique medium

Better tell that to all those patrons of the photographic arts who've wasted a lot of good money to purchase/invest in photographs that you've declared to be historically short-lived and valueless!

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