When reality (apparently) isn't enough


CMW

Link Posted 01/02/2015 - 13:43
I was browsing another site and came across the following photograph:

link

It will be perhaps a little too chocolate-boxy for some tastes, but it caught my eye. It is part of a 'tutorial', so I read on to see what the photographer had done to achieve his result.

Quite a lot it turns out. All the elements are 'real', but not all were real at the same time. The poppies moreover have been extended to cover an inconvenient road on one side of the picture and equally inconvenient houses on the other. The background is imported, as are the clouds and the girl. The photographer is entirely open about all this.

The photograph seems to invite us to consider it as realism, but it is in fact a thorough confection. I wouldn't have known if the photographer had been less honest, and feel slightly uncomfortable singling him out. He's produced an attractive photograph. But -- and of course this is a long-running debate, intensified many fold since the introduction of digital photography -- when is a photograph no longer truly a photograph. Is Photoshop the modern Pandora's Box?
Regards, Christopher

ChristopherWheelerPhotography
Last Edited by CMW on 01/02/2015 - 13:46

richandfleur

Link Posted 01/02/2015 - 15:14
I know this won't sit well, but my first thought when viewing this was that it seemed more a work of art. Hand crafted if you will.

alfpics

Link Posted 01/02/2015 - 16:41
Should have bought a Pentax...
Seriously - a lot of work gone into that and is a work of art. The tree on the right however looks very 'unreal' and the sky is the wrong colour. A bit more attention on those details and it might just have paid off as a photo that has had a levels shift to bring out the areas made dark by shooting into the sun
Andy
Last Edited by alfpics on 01/02/2015 - 16:44

gwing

Link Posted 01/02/2015 - 17:12
It's quite beautiful. But it doesn't bear much resemblance to a photograph

McGregNi

Link Posted 01/02/2015 - 17:44
I guess its not intended to be ' just' a photograph ... At least the photographer had forewarned the anti-PhotoShop brigade and hopefully dampened the inevitable tirade of negativity we often see. If it is seen honestly for what it is, then it is well done and effective. I must say, it has a very particular look and effect to me ... It says one thing only to me ... Advertisement for a Child Trust Fund Management Company'. .....

No, it's not 'A' photograph, but rather a digital art creation with the component source material coming from photographs , and it is in the style of advertising imagery. If it is for that purpose, or an artistic reproduction of that style for artistic commentary, then it is successful. But it would not compete with or stand valid comparison with a ' photograph' of child in a front lit poppy field, as that would be something completely different.
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Last Edited by McGregNi on 01/02/2015 - 17:45

Daronl

Link Posted 01/02/2015 - 20:14
Whilst not something that I would be interested in at this time it is top class artistry , very skilful indeed and a legitimate branch of photographic imagery

I like it and admire it very much
Daronl

Stuey

Link Posted 01/02/2015 - 21:47
If it were to be presented as a real photo as such I would have an issue but as it is represented as what it is a composite as such then I have no issues with it as it is very nice
K10D, K5 plus plenty of clueless enthusiasm.

My Flickr site link

richandfleur

Link Posted 01/02/2015 - 22:42
Photographs have been manipulated from the very early days.

We just have more tools at our disposal now.

davidtrout

Link Posted 01/02/2015 - 22:46
Its legitimate photography, photographers have been dodging and burning in darkrooms, and now in Photoshop, since the dawn of photography nearly 200 years ago. Some do it more skilfully than others. Its not cheating, especially when the author announces what he's done - its called being creative or artistic. You should see some of the weird and wonderful confections that are now all in vogue in international photographic salons; I often wonder if any element in some of the more extreme examples ever originated in a camera at all.
The picture linked by CMW seems a fairly straightforward piece of Photoshop work to hide intrusive features that would detract from the image. There's nothing particularly radical here.
David

PPG: http://www.pentaxphotogallery.com/artists/davidtrout
PPG: http://www.pentaxphotogallery.com/artists/davidtrout
Last Edited by davidtrout on 01/02/2015 - 22:48

Kseries

Link Posted 02/02/2015 - 07:48
I don't have an issue with that. It may be a combination of photographs, but it is his creation of the way he wished it to be seen. Fine.

What I have a very strong dislike for, is those who cobble together images which they have taken from the internet and present it as their creation. The worrying thing with technology today, is you can create pictures with decent software without the 'inconvenience' of little things - like owning a camera and knowing how to take photographs.

johnriley

Link Posted 02/02/2015 - 08:26
I do agree Kseries that all aspects of an image should be our own, not a collection of our own plus miscellaneous royalty-free images from the internet.

I was told though that some college and university courses actually teach imaging using only internet sourced images. If that's right, then students could be set up with the notion that it's OK, right from the start,
Best regards, John

McGregNi

Link Posted 02/02/2015 - 09:40
That doesn't sound like a ' photography' course then John ?
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johnriley

Link Posted 02/02/2015 - 10:47
I think the term might be "Imaging" these days Nigel!
Best regards, John

gwing

Link Posted 02/02/2015 - 11:46
johnriley wrote:
I do agree Kseries that all aspects of an image should be our own, not a collection of our own plus miscellaneous royalty-free images from the internet.

I was told though that some college and university courses actually teach imaging using only internet sourced images. If that's right, then students could be set up with the notion that it's OK, right from the start,

I do agree John , but the boundaries are difficult to define.

There is much talk of 'styles' in, let me call it photographic imagery, where a patrticular photographers extreme processing style is admired and often more important than the specific image content. Then processing steps to reproduce the style are published or even automated in photoshop scripts etc. and then 'followers' of the style can reproduce it at a click of a button. So we have the situation where dramtic images are produced puerely automatically (not that I have anything against that if it is what you want to do) and the original image is (hopefully) the photographers but the end product essentially isn't.

That's an extreme example *but* it isn't that different in principle from where we use any of the fancy tools in our favourite programs for image editing and processing.

CMW

Link Posted 02/02/2015 - 12:01
An interesting set of comments, mostly in support of the way the photograph was achieved. David Trout is absolutely right of course to point out that photographs have been getting manipulated almost since the invention of photography (although dodging and burning are in degree less fundamental than the invention of a scene that we see in the linked photograph).

And I readily concede that as these inventions go, this one is a mild example. Yet this kind of mix and match approach leaves me a little uneasy, even when (as here) the photographer is entirely upfront about what he's done; and indeed (since the thing is called a tutorial) urges others to have a go.

I cannot satisfactorily explain to myself why I should be unhappy about these sorts of confection. After all, I'll happily watch a film like Gravity in the certain knowledge that neither Sandra Bullock nor George Clooney have ever been in Space. I suppose it comes down to wanting a photograph to be 'honest' (however susceptible it may be to varying interpretations), to be rooted in the factual rather than the fictional. To me, the techniques are a shade too close to those used by photographers who deliberately set out to deceive.

It is, to my mind, significantly different to most editing and processing routines -- not perhaps in principle but certainly in degree. It is surely one thing to accentuate the appearance of clouds (to take a mundane example), quite another the import an 'improved' sky.

I guess others will find it hard to agree with this viewpoint. And perhaps 'viewpoint' is a flattering description for something that is almost visceral.
Regards, Christopher

ChristopherWheelerPhotography
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