Photo-manipulations vs. photography

Started 5 months ago | Polls
Offside Senior Member • Posts: 5,887
Re: Photo-manipulations vs. photography

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.

Levantinian Regular Member • Posts: 153
Computer art vs. photography
1

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.

Krav Maga
Krav Maga Senior Member • Posts: 3,016
Re: Photo-manipulations vs. photography

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.

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

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lilBuddha Veteran Member • Posts: 4,377
Re: Photo-manipulations vs. photography

misterodd 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.

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.

It is not a socio-philosophical sense, but in a the way reality works, sense,

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.

What? Photography is not meant the enlighten, edify or inspire, it is making images by recording light. It can be used to enlighten, edify or inspire or whatever motive the maker and/or viewer wants. But that is not its purpose.

lilBuddha Veteran Member • Posts: 4,377
Re: Photo-manipulations vs. photography

knickerhawk wrote:

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.

Making was, as far as I can tell, introduced to combat the very nonsense we are talking about on this thread.

All photographs are made, what differs is the amount of effort and skill put into making them.

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

If I collage a bunch of stock photos...do you still think it's photography...or is it just art?

mamallama
mamallama Forum Pro • Posts: 56,308
Re: Photo-manipulations vs. photography

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.

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Wayne Larmon Forum Pro • Posts: 10,410
Group f/64

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.

Yes. See Group f/64.

Wayne

lilBuddha Veteran Member • Posts: 4,377
Re: Photo-manipulations vs. photography
1

mamallama wrote:

The photographic process is not perfect but its purpose is to obtain an exact representation of the scene as the photographic capability allows.

No, no it is not repeat it all you wish but that does not make it true. Photography is making an image by recording light. That is it, full stop. The photographic process is deciding what to record, from where, at what time, with what lens, using what shutter speed and aperture, processing that image and deciding on display mediums

The idea that a photograph captures reality is a distortion of reality.

mamallama
mamallama Forum Pro • Posts: 56,308
Re: Photo-manipulations vs. photography

Jake2046 wrote:

If I collage a bunch of stock photos...do you still think it's photography...or is it just art?

It's quite simple.  The item is art composed of photographs. Assuming what you posted is a picture of the item taken with a camera without manipulation, you posted a photograph.

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lilBuddha Veteran Member • Posts: 4,377
Re: Group f/64

Wayne Larmon wrote:

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.

Yes. See Group f/64.

Wayne

It is imrotant to note that f64 was about straight photography which is

'to depict a scene or subject in sharp focus and detail'

or as Adams himself said

'defined as possessing no qualities of technique, composition or idea, derivative of any other art form'

No reference to "recording reality".

Krav Maga
Krav Maga Senior Member • Posts: 3,016
Re: Photo-manipulations vs. photography

mamallama wrote:

mamallama wrote:

Dictionary definition:

Photograph: representing nature and human beings with exactness.

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.

Goalpost moved.

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WunWegWunDarWun Regular Member • Posts: 410
Re: Photo-manipulations vs. photography

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?

Why isn't anybody arguing about whether photorealistic painting actually an art or just a slow and inaccurate form of photography ?

knickerhawk Veteran Member • Posts: 6,417
Re: Computer art vs. photography

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.

That's an incredibly restrictive definition. It imposes arbitrary rules that permit some "computer manipulations" and excludes others. Just a few of the problems I see with this "well defined" separation of photographs and non-photographs:

  1. All B&W images are not photographs. Virtually all of Steiglitz's, Weston's, Adams, HCB's, Salgado's works, all of the WPA-sponsored photos, all of Capra's war photos, and on and on must be removed from the "Photography" galleries of museum or, at a minimum, they must be accompanied with labels that describe them as non-photos.
  2. All images stitched and stacked/merged in postprocessing are disqualified apparently. Query whether HiRes images now available in a number of cameras are also qualified.
  3. Sharpening and noise reduction is not permitted. Assuming this is an oversight and global sharpening and noise reduction is ok, then what about localized sharpening and noise reduction? These are clearly computer manipulations. What about any form of localized "corrections" such as dodging/burning? What about any of the allowed types of corrections that are not "uniformly" applied but are, rather, restricted by "blend if" thresholds or masked or painted in to regions of the image that were adversely affected by technical capture limitations?
  4. What about "corrections" uniformly applied to a single color channel? These, too, apparently are verboten.
  5. Resizing is not addressed, so presumably when an image is upsized and new pixels are generated by some computer algorithm, this transforms the photo into a non-photo. Likewise, when an image is downsized so that details (such as those sensor dust bunnies) that were visible are now removed, what was previously a photo becomes a non-photo.
  6. Images blended to correct for a camera's dynamic range limitation are not photos.
  7. Removing a single (temporary) zit or a strand of hair from your daughter's high school prom photo transforms it into a non-photo. And that's true even if the only way you see the zit is by viewing the image at 100% instead of at typical viewing sizes on most portable devices and in most web applications.

I could go on, but the above should illustrate the problem with such a rigidly limited definition. It might be fine for some photo contests and it might be applicable for certain forensic and documentarian use cases, but it is far too restrictive as a useful general definition of what distinguishes photography from non-photography.

foot Veteran Member • Posts: 3,937
Way to jump on a sinking ship

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?

Way to jump on a sinking ship, since everything is moving to computational photography (even Leica!).

I could understand this move better if 500px divided the images up somehow, maybe by using special tags so people, who wanted to, could limit their views to more photographic-like (maybe a slider instead of a tag?)

Or maybe 500px is trying to grow value by being seen as "exclusive-ly real-life photos". Branding: "THE place to go to see *actual* REAL-LIFE photos!"

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knickerhawk Veteran Member • Posts: 6,417
Re: Photo-manipulations vs. photography

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.

There is no way to reconcile your claim that "scene representation does not need to include color" with your claim that the purpose of the "photographic process" is to "obtain [as] exact [a] representation of the scene as the photographic capability allows."

Krav Maga
Krav Maga Senior Member • Posts: 3,016
Re: Photo-manipulations vs. photography

knickerhawk wrote:

There is no way to reconcile your claim that "scene representation does not need to include color" with your claim that the purpose of the "photographic process" is to "obtain [as] exact [a] representation of the scene as the photographic capability allows."

^^^ This.

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knickerhawk Veteran Member • Posts: 6,417
Re: Way to jump on a sinking ship

foot 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?

Way to jump on a sinking ship, since everything is moving to computational photography (even Leica!).

I could understand this move better if 500px divided the images up somehow, maybe by using special tags so people, who wanted to, could limit their views to more photographic-like (maybe a slider instead of a tag?)

Or maybe 500px is trying to grow value by being seen as "exclusive-ly real-life photos". Branding: "THE place to go to see *actual* REAL-LIFE photos!"

The irony is that 500px, perhaps more than any other well-known photo site, has attracted and effectively rewarded photographers who engage in extreme amounts of photo editing. It's the place you go when you want to see super saturated, super smooth, ethereally luminous and tonally enhanced shots of touched up models and pristine landscapes.

lilBuddha Veteran Member • Posts: 4,377
Re: Computer art vs. photography

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.

Wow is this ignorant of what was done in darkrooms well before a pixel or computers existed.

J A C S
J A C S Forum Pro • Posts: 15,075
Re: Photo-manipulations vs. photography
1

Jake2046 wrote:

If I collage a bunch of stock photos...do you still think it's photography...or is it just art?

Or none of the above?

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