Photography or Graphic Art?


Lowela

Link Posted 06/08/2010 - 19:54
I'm a beginner and I love the fact that I can always do some post production fiddling with my photos if I'm not happy with them. After reading through Davex's thread on his Iceland shots, I have also thought I would have probably done some tweaking myself if it were my photo (though the original is lovely in itself)... But then, sometimes, I am more satisfied if I get the photo I wanted with just my camera settings and no photoshop adjustment(which may sometimes mean trial shots and lots and lots of patience)...

Hhhmmmmmmm... This brings me to a question, what really is photography? Where's the fun and pride in taking pictures if we can at any point alter what we have photographed? And if some editing is allowed in photography, up to what extent is acceptable before we are no longer producing photographs but graphic art?

thoughton

Link Posted 06/08/2010 - 19:59
My opinion is that unless you are entering a competition or something similar there are no rules. Do whatever you like Just be honest about it and don't try to hide what you've done.
Tim
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Anvh

Link Posted 06/08/2010 - 20:46
Creating your photo in post processing is as much part off photography as selecting the right aperture and clicking the shutter. How ever you turn it, you need to process what the film capture with chemicals or use software to make from those zeros and ones from the sensor a photo.

Do what needs to be done to get what you want.
Like Tim said, there are no limitation.

Just look at the IPA (International Photography Award) winners to see how far you can go for example http://www.photoawards.com/en/Pages/Gallery/winner.php

Someone went all out with enhancement VS manipulation thread on deviantart that might be interesting. Picked out the things concerning this matter.

Quote:
-) There is no line. "Enhancement" is manipulation. To call it anything else is nitpicking of the highest order. Every single photograph that has ever been taken (or that ever will be taken) has been (or will be) manipulated to greater or lesser extents.

-) The second step in the manipulation of an image is selecting the parameters under which it will be captured. You can make those decisions, or you can leave it up to the camera. Either way, the result is a manipulation.

-) Not just a fair number... All the photographic tools in Photoshop mimic processes that were first invented and practiced in the darkroom. Even the text and graphic tools mimic processes carried out by film photographers for decades with dry-transfer sheets and burnishing pens.

-) No digital image (not a from a scanner, not from a camera sensor) looks "great" when captured. All captured images must be manipulated - if for no other reason than to overcome the effects of the antialiasing filters used by all digital imaging devices. The manipulations may be invisible to you (i.e. when your camera is set to capture directly to JPEG), or they may require some interaction on your part (as when you capture to a raw file format). Either way, manipulations must be made...

-) Photography is a bastard craft, a mongrel art form. Because they are involved with factuality certain genres of the craft (most notably journalism, documentary, and technical/scientific) impose ethical limits on manipulation. However, there is not, and never has been, any such thing as cheating in "art" photography.

In my experience, the person most likely to declare themselves a "purist" is:
- male
- between 18 and 25
- has taken one or more photography classes, but has no professional experience
- uses a vintage (or toy) film camera because they "eschew the perfection of modern photography"
- isn't very adept at the craft of photography (which I guess is why they "eschew perfection")
- is a pretentious douche with little or no understanding of the history of photography or the potential of its future

Photoshop is a tool. Tools are tools. It's a poor (and rather ignorant) carpenter who won't use a hammer because he has "philosophical issues" with it.

Lovely isn't it, here is the full thread but isn't really that interesting though link

In the end about the purists he gets a bit too hard I think but I agree fully with the carpenter statement.

Also don't forget there are limitation what you can alter.
If you didn't capture the information needed, there is no way to recover that, post processing is not a miracle recovery tool.
Stefan


K10D, K5
DA* 16-50, DA* 50-135, D-FA 100 Macro, DA 40 Ltd, DA 18-55
AF-540FGZ
Last Edited by Anvh on 06/08/2010 - 20:47

mecrox

Link Posted 06/08/2010 - 21:44
For myself, I am wary of post-processing. I very rarely remove anything by way of "airbrushing" it out via the clone tool in Photoshop, though I do crop. That's because I like images that are true to life, and so slightly messy, inexact, imperfect, usually with found objects however irritating, but very real.

I think there are dangers with getting too heavily into post-processing. First, I suspect the finest works all have a blemish somewhere, the stitch of Allah that makes them so good. Better to leave it there. Second, there is the temptation to fall into the photography club school of post-processing, at least where I live: everything extraneous is removed in Photoshop, strict geometric proportions are always observed, as are notions of what colours and tones are appropriate. Right or wrong, and clearly it is far from all wrong and there is a lot to learn that is right, the unfortunate result is photographs which end up all looking the same. For that reason, I'm a little wary of photography clubs too.

So I guess we each have to find our own balance, neither correct nor incorrect, but that which expresses us. If changing a shot doesn't feel right to you, then don't. Philosophically, I suppose I am trying to communicate (and celebrate) the only view of reality I can. I am not trying to play God with the results. The results are what the camera saw, usually not what I saw, and they are what they are.

greynolds999

Link Posted 06/08/2010 - 21:46
Photography is art.

Unless you are a photojournalist purporting to report the truth you are entitled to do whatever you like with an image. The end product is all that matters.

Manipulation began when photography was invented and will always be with us. And it is not a bad thing.
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Pentaxophile

Link Posted 06/08/2010 - 21:56
Quote:
The results are what the camera saw, usually not what I saw, and they are what they are.

Interesting... for me, the camera (and post processing) are just tools allowing me to communicate what I saw. The camera is just a light collecting box, it takes a mind to "see" an image that resonates.

However I do agree that the over zealous tidying up, cloning and enhancement of images as pushed by the magazines are a bit crass... but i don't think there's a problem with any of those techniques, just the lack of subtlety in which they are applied!
[link=https://500px.com/will_brealey/[/link]

mecrox

Link Posted 07/08/2010 - 00:08
Pentaxophile wrote:
Quote:
The results are what the camera saw, usually not what I saw, and they are what they are.

Interesting... for me, the camera (and post processing) are just tools allowing me to communicate what I saw. The camera is just a light collecting box, it takes a mind to "see" an image that resonates.

However I do agree that the over zealous tidying up, cloning and enhancement of images as pushed by the magazines are a bit crass... but i don't think there's a problem with any of those techniques, just the lack of subtlety in which they are applied!

Hmmn, trying to show the essential nature of something is surely not a matter of communicating what I saw but what is really there stripped of our habitual tendency to label and pigeonhole experience. It is trying to take me out of the situation in order to bring out the particular floweriness of that flower, for example. If I concentrate on me then I will be showing you conditioned experience. Reality is something else, or so the argument goes. Each to their own on that one. There is a school of photography called Miksang with a group on Flickr which illustrates these ideas quite well, though it is probably too old school because it does not allow any cropping or post-processing at all. But of course they are only ideas, and everyone will have there own, which is why this is such an endlessly fascinating art.

Pentaxophile

Link Posted 07/08/2010 - 00:37
That Miksang group is interesting, and I love that style of photography. But they are making very conscious choices about how they represent 'the world out there' through the way they frame their shots, what they focus on, the sorts of subjects they choose. So the 'reality' they represent is also highly mediated, just in a different way. A more thoughtful way IMHO.
[link=https://500px.com/will_brealey/[/link]

rparmar

Link Posted 07/08/2010 - 01:44
greynolds999 wrote:
Manipulation began when photography was invented and will always be with us. And it is not a bad thing.

Manipulation began long before photography, so your point is doubly true.
Listen to my albums free on BandCamp. Or visit my main website for links to photography, etc.

womble

Link Posted 07/08/2010 - 06:23
Ansel Adams talks about visualising the image before taking it. He manipulated the image using the zone system to control contrast, as well as using filtration and the tilt/shift functions of his camera. He was a master of his craft in the darkroom dodging and burning and all that stuff. The image he finally created was never a simple record of what he saw.

K.
Kris Lockyear
It is an illusion that photos are made with the camera… they are made with the eye, heart and head. Henri Cartier-Bresson
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Hardgravity

Link Posted 07/08/2010 - 08:52
I won't start, some on here don't PP, others do!

It's what you want out of a shot, I'm just lazy and try to get as good an inage straight from the camera.
Cheers, HG

K110+DA40, K200+DA35, K3 and a bag of lenses, bodies and other bits.

Mustn't forget the Zenits, or folders, or...

I've some gallerieshere CLICKY LINK! and my PPG entries.

Anvh

Link Posted 07/08/2010 - 10:28
mecrox wrote:
I suppose I am trying to communicate (and celebrate) the only view of reality I can. I am not trying to play God with the results. The results are what the camera saw, usually not what I saw, and they are what they are.

But what the camera saw isn't reality then for you since you saw something else then the camera did... so if you manipulate what the camera saw to more match the reality you saw then you're playing for god?

Sorry it's really confusing, could you enlighten it a bit?

mecrox wrote:
There is a school of photography called Miksang with a group on Flickr which illustrates these ideas quite well, though it is probably too old school because it does not allow any cropping or post-processing at all.

That's not old school, photos always need to be developed and therefore post processed.
I believe it's only with digital that you've seen more people calling themselves purists so it's actually very new form of photography and I'm 100% sure they do post processing.
Even if you use the JPG that comes out of the camera then it's already processed since the camera alters what the sensor saw into a image so it's being processed by it.
Stefan


K10D, K5
DA* 16-50, DA* 50-135, D-FA 100 Macro, DA 40 Ltd, DA 18-55
AF-540FGZ

mecrox

Link Posted 07/08/2010 - 12:40
Anvh wrote:
...

Sorry it's really confusing, could you enlighten it a bit?

Lol, I'm not getting into a game of cat's cradle as we would still be here chewing it over till the middle of next week. A camera sees lumps of stuff. What we see are rocks, trees and grass which are not there, in fact, either in reality or in the photograph. What is there are lumps of stuff. A photograph is just a lump of stuff. What we see in it does not exist. You either have some sympathy for this view or you don't. Either way is fine, surely. There is really nothing to get excited about or argue over. What are we arguing over? Nothing, I would suggest.

Anvh wrote:
That's not old school, photos always need to be developed and therefore post processed.
I believe it's only with digital that you've seen more people calling themselves purists so it's actually very new form of photography and I'm 100% sure they do post processing.
Even if you use the JPG that comes out of the camera then it's already processed since the camera alters what the sensor saw into a image so it's being processed by it.

I'd say it probably is old school. My understanding is that Miksang's roots lie in the 1960s and 1970s when a Tibetan lama started using a camera and 35mm film. Of course the pictures had to be processed, but only to produce the usual batch of snaps. Modern digital development which allows one to alter every aspect of an image pixel by pixel is a whole new game and while it may be similar it is clearly not the same.

Anvh

Link Posted 07/08/2010 - 13:27
No indeed but it would be interesting to see someone else point of view of it.

My understanding off Miksang is that it doesn't exclude post processing though, that's why i didn't go into that term too much. I commented off the use of post processing.

What we can do now is different then before digital but don't be mistaken, almost all techniques and processes used in the digital world have their origin in the darkroom so they aren't so different then you might think.
Stefan


K10D, K5
DA* 16-50, DA* 50-135, D-FA 100 Macro, DA 40 Ltd, DA 18-55
AF-540FGZ
Last Edited by Anvh on 07/08/2010 - 13:28

johnriley

Link Posted 07/08/2010 - 13:37
The whole argument can get over complicated.

It may well be that every digital image is "manipulated" in some way, but then so is every film image. We choose the film, choose the developer, choose the paper to print on. None of this is any more natural than digital, it's just as manipulated.

The question is about photography and art. Is it art? Yes, it's created by human being who have a desire to express themselves in some medium. Be it a cave painting, a photograph, a sculpture, it is all art.

Is it good art? Some of it undoubtably is.
Best regards, John
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