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Author Topic: Digital graffiti removal- ethical?  (Read 3660 times)
rickster
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« on: December 27, 2004, 09:13:06 PM »
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Good question.

Maybe a more ethical editing apporach would be to sand, scrape, and shrub the graffiti off the bridge first, then take the picture.

Honestly, I kinda like the graffiti but I don't have a problem with removing it.

Hey, I love the train shots, especially "Winter Train", that is a great picture and I bet it was fun taking it.
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Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2004, 11:44:54 AM »
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I agree with Bobtrips, with the additional clarification that, if I were presenting this as the "The Gudgeonville Bridge" (a specific bridge that you're going to say something about), I'd not change the graffiti (since, without the graffiti, it's not really the bridge you're talking about anymore), while if I were presenting it as "a lovely historic bridge" (nonspecific) I'd go ahead and change it.

On second thought, the graffiti is a temporary thing. Likely someone will remove it from the bridge sometime in the not too distant future. In that case, I'd say go ahead and remove it, since it will probably look pretty much just like that at some point. Some might quibble with my argument, but that's my opinion on it.

On the other hand, if you're using the picture to show "see how nicely we maintain our historic bridges", then removing then graffiti would be a big lie.

Lisa
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Hank
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« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2005, 12:32:08 PM »
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In the same spirit that I always carry a trash bag and pick up debris before shooting, removing the grafitti makes perfect sense to me- whether beforehand with hand tools or after the fact with computer tools.  As a matter of fact, any trash that I missed on site usually disappears in my computer.
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howard smith
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« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2005, 05:52:50 PM »
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I see this as a "why" question.  Whu do you want to remove the graffiti?

Make the scene more appealing.  Fine.  I think that falls roughly into the art category.

To deceive the viewer.  No.  I think that is in the PJ area.

Then what do you do with the viewer who is deceived unintentionally?  I see the pretty bridge and decide I want to see it too, maybe make a photography.  I get there and, wow, am I disappointed.  "He lied to me."  A stock company sells the image for whatever(?).  This may be a buyer be ware item.  In the end, photographers don't always have the ultimate control.

Personally, I don't like the graffiti or the official looking signs.  I think they were not part of the original design of the bridge or intended by the builder.

Sort of, what do you do with the hand rails at the Grand Canyon?  If I include them, ugly?  Or PJ?  If I clone them out?  If I use a different focal length lens, crop or camera position, is the rail still there?  Yes, of course, but is that a lie?  Or, maybe I make the rail very obvious to make it look ugly.  A lie?  Or does it show the safety conscienceness of the National Park Service?

Situational ethics.  No answer will satisfy everyone.  Maybe the answer is to do what you can justify for yourself.
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howard smith
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« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2005, 03:28:44 PM »
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Photographic work does not need a seperate set of ethics than one uses to conduct their life.  If you are having trouble with the decision, yopu probably know why.
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Robbennett
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« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2004, 08:17:03 PM »
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On a recent image I was so upset with the amount of graffiti on the ends of a bridge I decided to remove it in Picture Window Pro. I don't usually resort to digital alterations, but to me the graffiti totally ruined the scene. I have included the original scan here, and a link to the final image on my website for comparison.

Do others feel this type of removal is okay? I tried to clearly state on the web page that I had digitally modified the image. I would hate to lead someone to perhaps visit this location and upon arrival find the bridge is not quite like the image I posted. I try to remain as faithful to the original scene as possible, usually only tweaking some brightness, staturation, and sharpening. If the slide is really bad I just accept the fact that I took a poor original and move on. In this case I liked the shot, but just had to remove the graffiti.

Just curious what others would have done in a situation like this.

[img]http://www.lakeshore-landscapes.com/images/Gudgeonville Before.jpg\" border=\"0\"]

Here is the final image: Gudgeonville Bridge

Also, the website is my first attempt at "getting out there" on the web, and I would welcome any feedback. Best done off this list, as that is not the real intent of my post.

Thanks,

Rob Bennett
Lakeshore-Landscapes.com
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Rob Bennett
Lakeshore-Landscapes.com
Bobtrips
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« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2004, 09:52:26 PM »
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Are you shooting as a photo journalist?  If so, the graffiti has to stay.

Are you shooting to make a nice picture?  To create a work of art?  If so, wipe it out if it improves the final image in your eyes.  

(As a PJ you could present both versions and make a statement about what could be....)
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Dan Sroka
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« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2005, 07:13:37 AM »
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Yep, what Bob said. And I like Nikko's second thought as well.

I don't think you *need* to state that you digitally modified the print. It's fine to do so, but what you are doing is totally within the realm of "an acceptable photographic practice." On the other hand, if you airbrushed in Elvis cleaning up the graffiti, you'd be creating a photo-illustration vs a photo, and should call it thus.

It's not so much about "ethics" IMHO, but about artistic integrity: the impression you give people about what you made. For example, a friend has two photos, which both look like improbable setups (like they were staged). But one shot actually happened, while the other photo was a collage she made in Photoshop. She's not a photojournalist, and sells these photos as art. But she labels the first a photo and the second a photoillustration. She does this not out of a sense of ethics, but because she wants to clarify that there was a different artistic act performed ("discovering" this funny shot, or imaging it and staging it herself) -- neither is more valid, just different.
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djgarcia
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« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2005, 05:13:14 PM »
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I have on occasion done electric wire removal and texture reconstruction on a blown highlight, but not stuff that actually changes the character.

Wires removed Texture added

For me the graffitti is part of the character, which I actually like. But that's just me.

DJ
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Ray
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« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2005, 10:10:32 PM »
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I'm very impressed with the extreme sensitivities shown on this issue  Cheesy .

When reading this thread, what went through my mind was the following scenario from council workers who had been assigned the task of removing the graffiti:- "This graffiti is not bad, Bob, do you think we should leave it? "Nah! This is what we're getting paid for. These guys are scum." "But I quite like it, Bob. I think it's got a message." "Hey! Do you wanna get fired? Just do the job!"

Sorry! I just can't empathise with someone who is agonising over such issues. There's no moral issue here. Leave it or remove it. It's entirely up to you.
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santa
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« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2005, 11:16:04 AM »
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Unless you are specifically pawning this off as a shot you have not retouched or something, I see no big deal to removing it.
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