Photo-manipulations vs. photography

Started 5 months ago | Polls
Lin Evans
Lin Evans Forum Pro • Posts: 17,650
Re: Photo-manipulations vs. photography

mamallama wrote:

Lin Evans wrote:

mamallama wrote:

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.

So what about an IR photograph? Is it somehow not a photograph because it depicts an altered reality from that seen by human eyes and interpreted by a human brain?

Lin

Whether it can be viewed or perceived by human eyes has nothing to do with it. It is whether it represents something that is real or not. What the IR photograph represents something that is real. But an image of an actual 747 airplane in my living room does not represent anything that is real and thus is not a photograph.

So then using an ND filter to make flowing water look totally different by that definition would not be a photograph either? Do you see the problems with the "something that is real or not" as a criterion for a definition?

Best regards,

Lin

Laybourne
OP Laybourne Forum Member • Posts: 57
Re: Photo-manipulations vs. photography

Well, I must say this thread succeeded beyond my wildest dreams! Kudos to all the contributors.

Follow-up Q: Do you guys think the computational shallow DOF many smartphones now are using qualifies as a photo-manipulation or is the resulting image still a photograph? I could see it being argued both ways.

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DenWil
DenWil Veteran Member • Posts: 4,005
A different plane of existence.

thenoilif wrote:

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.

Perceived and felt? And if he perceived rainbows and a pot of gold...lol just drop them in in post? ...manipulating a photo  in post to reflect your feelings is hilarious.

Good one.

For me, photography isn't just a 100% recreation of a scene because that is a very subjective thing.

No it is not. It is either in front of you or it isn't and I demand an accurate rendition of what I framed in my viewfinder. Whether it is worth photographing at all is what is subjective.

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.

My film  and film cameras and now  the digital equipment are  all calibrated  for accuracy = this much light generates this much recorded brightness and red looks red.  Your cameras are obviously different.

It has nothing to do with being a gear person which I am not. I cannot do my job without replicable results from my equipment  and equipment  which was programmed to be artistic would never render the same thing twice. That is my choice to make not the gear's.

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dw

lilBuddha Veteran Member • Posts: 4,377
Re: A different plane of existence.

DenWil wrote:

thenoilif wrote:

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.

Perceived and felt? And if he perceived rainbows and a pot of gold...lol just drop them in in post? ...manipulating a photo in post to reflect your feelings is hilarious.

Good one.

For me, photography isn't just a 100% recreation of a scene because that is a very subjective thing.

No it is not. It is either in front of you or it isn't and I demand an accurate rendition of what I framed in my viewfinder.

But what you've framed in your camera is not an accurate representation of the scene. It may well be close enough for your purpose.

Whether it is worth photographing at all is what is subjective.

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.

My film and film cameras and now the digital equipment are all calibrated for accuracy = this much light generates this much recorded brightness and red looks red.

Rubbish and measurably so. Fuji Velvia and Kodak Portra definitely gave different colours. And sensors from different cameras will do the same.

foot Veteran Member • Posts: 3,937
Even in the early film Era

Laybourne wrote:

Well, I must say this thread succeeded beyond my wildest dreams! Kudos to all the contributors.

Follow-up Q: Do you guys think the computational shallow DOF many smartphones now are using qualifies as a photo-manipulation or is the resulting image still a photograph? I could see it being argued both ways.

Even in the early film Era

It was mostly manipulation. Sometimes in posing or staging the scene, sometimes in the dark room

Heck, there are even famous historical photos that had certain people "removed" from the photo, and hence (or so Stalin hoped) from history

"How Photos Became a Weapon in Stalin’s Great Purge

Stalin didn’t have Photoshop—but that didn’t keep him from wiping the traces of his enemies from the history books. Even the famous photo of Soviet soldiers raising their flag after the Battle of Berlin was altered."

https://www.history.com/news/josef-stalin-great-purge-photo-retouching

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Sigma dp2 Quattro
thenoilif Senior Member • Posts: 1,209
Re: A different plane of existence.

DenWil wrote:

thenoilif wrote:

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.

Perceived and felt? And if he perceived rainbows and a pot of gold...lol just drop them in in post? ...manipulating a photo in post to reflect your feelings is hilarious.

Good one.

For me, photography isn't just a 100% recreation of a scene because that is a very subjective thing.

No it is not. It is either in front of you or it isn't and I demand an accurate rendition of what I framed in my viewfinder. Whether it is worth photographing at all is what is subjective.

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.

My film and film cameras and now the digital equipment are all calibrated for accuracy = this much light generates this much recorded brightness and red looks red. Your cameras are obviously different.

I don’t think there is a camera, and definitely no film camera, that has scientific grade color meters or spectrometers inside them. You can buy them but cameras, as far as my knowledge, don’t come with this level of color control accuracy.

You also realize that everyone’s eyes see colors slightly different so your idea of red may not be the actual shade or tone of red that actually exists. Also, when you’re outside, there are all sorts of variables that dictate lighting and color that can change in an instant. So the red you see may never be reproduced again thus your rendering of that color would require the inclusion of scientific data to prove that yours is accurate. Lastly, your brain and the chemicals it produces to create the emotions you feel also effect how you perceive the world, this includes how you see colors and lighting.

It has nothing to do with being a gear person which I am not. I cannot do my job without replicable results from my equipment and equipment which was programmed to be artistic would never render the same thing twice. That is my choice to make not the gear's.

Again, you program your camera based on your preference. Like you say it’s your choice. As soon as you make personal choices you’re bringing doubt into the accuracy of the situation.

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dw

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

lilBuddha wrote:

misterodd wrote:

lilBuddha wrote:

misterodd wrote:

lilBuddha wrote:

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,

I think you did not understand what I wrote.

And I am pretty sure you did not undestand my reply.

I did understand what you wrote despite the rather crude diction used in your explanation.

Language is about communication and this is not always facilitated by grandiose vocabulary.

No one would disagree that language is used to communicate with others.  "Grandiose?"  Well, that would be a matter of opinion, wouldn't it?  But thanks!

We are talking about how a photo can be manipulated intentionally or otherwise and what would constitute this manipulation. The person I replied to provided an overt case of manipulation. I provided one that was less so. When a critique is carried out, a set of criteria is required to judge and make distinctions.

All photographs are manipulations, no philosophy necessary. Philosophy come in further down the road when we begin to discuss what manipulation changes definition.

You do understand that I am not talking about any particular philosophy or rigorous system of thought, don't you? We are discussing ideas here. And any time ideas are discussed and debated one can not escape philosophy, critical thought. It envelopes everything. It is the basic frame work, the ground in which arguments are built and put forth. We all drink from the well of knowledge, do we not?

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.

Photography can be used to enlighten, edify, or inspire others, among many things. I never made the claim that photography was only ever used for these ends.

Your phrasing certainly implies it.

Making critical judgements requires rigorous logic, a body of knowledge, and an extraordinary sense of the world around us, among other things.

No, it doesn't. One could make the case for the argument that it should, but humans are wired to make quick, instinctual judgements. Humans have evolved the ability to reason, but are still strongly governed by instinct.

Again, no one would argue with you here; indeed, we are able to make "quick, instinctual judgements" when conditions compel us to do so.  Human beings are governed by a unique combination of instinct, intuition, and intellect, and these are guided and governed by individual temperament.  Making critical judgements, however, does require more than only instincts, I'm afraid.  Especially when highly contentious ideas are being tossed around.  Language and our understanding of reality is much more complex than should be assumed.  Language must be used more precisely within its proper context to avoid ambiguity and vagueness so that discourse can be sustained.

If we look carefully at this exchange, I have used words like "enlighten," "edify," and "inspire," in contradistinction to words related to "machination." I have not implied that photography, or photographers, as you would prefer, only do the things mentioned above. It's best to see the forest for the trees.

You set up a false dichotomy between those who seek to 'enlighten or edify or inspire' and those who do not and their potential "machinations".

I guess you're not able to digest the complexity of interlocking ideas debated in this discussion.  Either you have been deliberately disingenuous claiming that I have set up a false dichotomy or you haven't fully grasped the word "contradistinction" used above within the context presented.  Please be more careful when reading the words of another person next time or little progress will be made.

You wrote that photography is "making images by recording light." I suppose this was your definition of the purpose of photography. But this is not a definition of the purpose. It is only an ever-so-brief explanation of how photography works, in a technical sense.

Photography has no purpose, photography is a process.

Photographers have purpose.

And, of course, viewers can infer purpose.

The difference between "photography" and "photographer" is little more than a semantic differentiation.

There's no reason to split hairs here. It's unnecessary and only causes confusion. It's obvious to most people, that the individual photographer is the agent doing the photography, isn't it? If one were to say that photography didn't have a purpose this would be wrong. Because for some people, photography does serve a specific purpose, to document, to teach, to explore one's inner being, etc. This would be the same as saying art doesn't have a purpose, and I'm fairly certain almost no one would make such an assertion.

The purpose of a photographic device is to facilitate making an image using light.* The purpose or philosophy of the photographer is orthogonal to this.

Please, no more platitudes written in poor prose.

The process itself has no inherent purpose or philosophy. The reason this is important is because of threads like this one where people say "The purpose of photography is..." thus attempting to limit the discussion to their subjective determination.

It seems from the above that you have been arguing with quite a number of people on this site.  I hope you were not including me when you asserted that some members are "attempting to limit the discussion to their subjective determination."  I interpreted this as some on this board, these threads, have tried to foreclose the possibility of an open and honest debate by narrowing the scope and focus of the contents to suit their own biased opinions.

*Some other forms of electro-magnetic radiation qualify, but for the purposes of this discussion it is light.

???

From our exchange thus far, one definitive conclusion can be drawn: it is nearly impossible for us to reach any agreement on pretty much anything.  A certain rigor and spirit seem to be missing here.  Let's not waste any more words chasing phantoms.

I think you may have not fully comprehended the arguments in this exchange.

I understand just fine, but I do disagree.

I genuinely believe that we can not come to terms here. But this happens every single day when people discuss and debate and defend their ideas. It's perfectly fine.

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Box Man

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

misterodd wrote:

lilBuddha wrote:

misterodd wrote:

lilBuddha wrote:

misterodd wrote:

lilBuddha wrote:

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,

I think you did not understand what I wrote.

And I am pretty sure you did not undestand my reply.

I did understand what you wrote despite the rather crude diction used in your explanation.

Language is about communication and this is not always facilitated by grandiose vocabulary.

No one would disagree that language is used to communicate with others. "Grandiose?" Well, that would be a matter of opinion, wouldn't it? But thanks!

We are talking about how a photo can be manipulated intentionally or otherwise and what would constitute this manipulation. The person I replied to provided an overt case of manipulation. I provided one that was less so. When a critique is carried out, a set of criteria is required to judge and make distinctions.

All photographs are manipulations, no philosophy necessary. Philosophy come in further down the road when we begin to discuss what manipulation changes definition.

You do understand that I am not talking about any particular philosophy or rigorous system of thought, don't you? We are discussing ideas here. And any time ideas are discussed and debated one can not escape philosophy, critical thought. It envelopes everything. It is the basic frame work, the ground in which arguments are built and put forth. We all drink from the well of knowledge, do we not?

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.

Photography can be used to enlighten, edify, or inspire others, among many things. I never made the claim that photography was only ever used for these ends.

Your phrasing certainly implies it.

Making critical judgements requires rigorous logic, a body of knowledge, and an extraordinary sense of the world around us, among other things.

No, it doesn't. One could make the case for the argument that it should, but humans are wired to make quick, instinctual judgements. Humans have evolved the ability to reason, but are still strongly governed by instinct.

Again, no one would argue with you here; indeed, we are able to make "quick, instinctual judgements" when conditions compel us to do so. Human beings are governed by a unique combination of instinct, intuition, and intellect, and these are guided and governed by individual temperament. Making critical judgements, however, does require more than only instincts, I'm afraid. Especially when highly contentious ideas are being tossed around.

In reality, the more contentious an idea, the less likely critical thinking will be brought to bear.

Language and our understanding of reality is much more complex than should be assumed. Language must be used more precisely within its proper context to avoid ambiguity and vagueness so that discourse can be sustained.

If we look carefully at this exchange, I have used words like "enlighten," "edify," and "inspire," in contradistinction to words related to "machination." I have not implied that photography, or photographers, as you would prefer, only do the things mentioned above. It's best to see the forest for the trees.

You set up a false dichotomy between those who seek to 'enlighten or edify or inspire' and those who do not and their potential "machinations".

I guess you're not able to digest the complexity of interlocking ideas debated in this discussion. Either you have been deliberately disingenuous claiming that I have set up a false dichotomy or you haven't fully grasped the word "contradistinction" used above within the context presented. Please be more careful when reading the words of another person next time or little progress will be made.

Cute.

You wrote that photography is "making images by recording light." I suppose this was your definition of the purpose of photography. But this is not a definition of the purpose. It is only an ever-so-brief explanation of how photography works, in a technical sense.

Photography has no purpose, photography is a process.

Photographers have purpose.

And, of course, viewers can infer purpose.

The difference between "photography" and "photographer" is little more than a semantic differentiation.

There's no reason to split hairs here. It's unnecessary and only causes confusion. It's obvious to most people, that the individual photographer is the agent doing the photography, isn't it? If one were to say that photography didn't have a purpose this would be wrong. Because for some people, photography does serve a specific purpose, to document, to teach, to explore one's inner being, etc. This would be the same as saying art doesn't have a purpose, and I'm fairly certain almost no one would make such an assertion.

The purpose of a photographic device is to facilitate making an image using light.* The purpose or philosophy of the photographer is orthogonal to this.

Please, no more platitudes written in poor prose.

Because style is superior to communication? Keeping it simple is in deference to the audience, in this case.

The process itself has no inherent purpose or philosophy. The reason this is important is because of threads like this one where people say "The purpose of photography is..." thus attempting to limit the discussion to their subjective determination.

It seems from the above that you have been arguing with quite a number of people on this site. I hope you were not including me when you asserted that some members are "attempting to limit the discussion to their subjective determination." I interpreted this as some on this board, these threads, have tried to foreclose the possibility of an open and honest debate by narrowing the scope and focus of the contents to suit their own biased opinions.

*Some other forms of electro-magnetic radiation qualify, but for the purposes of this discussion it is light.

???

From our exchange thus far, one definitive conclusion can be drawn: it is nearly impossible for us to reach any agreement on pretty much anything. A certain rigor and spirit seem to be missing here.

I agree, but likely seeing opposite cause.

Let's not waste any more words chasing phantoms.

I think you may have not fully comprehended the arguments in this exchange.

I understand just fine, but I do disagree.

I genuinely believe that we can not come to terms here. But this happens every single day when people discuss and debate and defend their ideas. It's perfectly fine.

Mark_A
Mark_A Forum Pro • Posts: 15,071
There are photographs and there are images and ..

There are photographs and there are images and .. perhaps there are artworks.

It does not much bother me which an image is, I just wonder do I like it?

There are abstracts created in camera, or in photoshop, again, the only judgement I use is if I like the end result.

If people want to restrict for some reason items to be only photographs then they are free to do that, and I understand that wildlife photography is like that, but I also know some of the tricks wildlife photographers use to get really close to their target animals and there are lots of tricks. Does it mean the photo is any way less worthy, probably not.

Mark_A

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