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Author Topic: Too much Photoshop? Judge for yourself.  (Read 23297 times)
Jeremy Payne
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« Reply #20 on: April 19, 2009, 09:22:47 AM »
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I asked: "Should people NOT be allowed to white balance and correct the exposure?"

Response:  "That is the question. I would say it depends on the stated rules of the competition."

And I would say that such a competition is just at odds with the medium and best practices.  Shooting RAW, it makes sense to use an "incorrect" WB (UNIWB or whatnot) to create an "acccurate" histogram in-camera so that ETTR is possible without blowing out the highlights.  This exposure will look like cr@p at the camera or converter defaults, but will ultimately allow the best "print" - whether physical or not.

To hold a competition where the majority of people will shoot digital RAW and then make the most sensible and medium-appropriate workflow illegal is just luddite.

To me it is like holding a cooking contest and making the use of too much salt and pepper grounds for disqualification.  Like I said, grounds for losing?  Sure.  Grounds for being DQ'd?  No way.
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ckimmerle
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« Reply #21 on: April 19, 2009, 11:51:43 AM »
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This was not a photo contest, it was a photojournalism contest.....a significant difference. Some of you seem to have little, if any, knowledge of photojournalistic ethics and practices (not an insult, just an observation). Please allow me to briefly explain as I have more than 20 years experience:

A photojournalist is allowed to use whatever lens, exposure, aperture or shutter speed necessary to help tell the story as the photographer deems necessary. This is the equivalent to the selection of prose used by a writer.  These conventions are apparent and fairly well understood by the general public. An exception would apply if the captured scene differs dramatically from the actual scene. For instance, using exposure to make daylight look like night, etc.

As for post-capture processing or darkroom work, of course white balance and exposure corrections are allowed (to correct for film/digital sensor errors) as are simple burning and dodging,as long as they do not alter the image to such a degree that they change feeling, mood or alter reality in a significant way. That was why there was such a fuss when either Time or Newsweek (I forget which) altered O.J. Simpson's cover shot to make the photo look sinister. As these ethical standards are, at least to small degree, subjective, there are grey areas with which photographers must deal with on a daily basis. However, absolutely no altering of image content through cutting/pasting, cloning, filtering, etc is allowed. That didn't seem to happen in this case, though.

As for the  topic in question, there is near complete support in photojournalism circles that the photog crossed the line both in general photojournalist ethics and the clearly defined contest rules.  Remember, this is NOT a pretty picture contest.

Lastly, the claims that these same results could have obtained in a darkroom is ludicrous. Simply not possible. Period.

Regards,
Chuck
« Last Edit: April 19, 2009, 11:53:59 AM by ckimmerle » Logged

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Kam
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« Reply #22 on: April 19, 2009, 01:45:25 PM »
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Quote from: ckimmerle
That was why there was such a fuss when either Time or Newsweek (I forget which) altered O.J. Simpson's cover shot to make the photo look sinister.
Regards,
Chuck

Hey Chuck, thanks for reminding me of that! I looked it up: Newsweek ran the mugshot unaltered and Time ran it adjusted.

I'd like to see some of your PJ work, but I couldn't find it on your site. Could you post a link?
You raised some great points, especially on the ethics!

Cheers,

Kamil Bialous
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Nick Rains
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« Reply #23 on: April 19, 2009, 05:05:46 PM »
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Quote from: ckimmerle
As for post-capture processing or darkroom work, of course white balance and exposure corrections are allowed (to correct for film/digital sensor errors) as are simple burning and dodging,as long as they do not alter the image to such a degree that they change feeling, mood or alter reality in a significant way.

Lastly, the claims that these same results could have obtained in a darkroom is ludicrous. Simply not possible. Period.

Regards,
Chuck

I don't entirely disagree with you but, to play devil's advocate for a moment....

In what way does B+W "not alter the image to such a degree that they change feeling, mood or alter reality in a significant way"? If it's OK to remove all the colour from a scene, why is is not OK to add it?

Also, almost anything is possible in the wet darkroom, it's just that some things are a lot harder. I see nothing in these images that could not be done with film and in a wet darkroom given sufficient time, skill and effort. I include shooting, film processing and printing techniques here.
« Last Edit: April 19, 2009, 05:07:35 PM by Nick Rains » Logged

Nick Rains
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Jeremy Payne
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« Reply #24 on: April 19, 2009, 05:25:22 PM »
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A. You could DEFINITELY do this in the darkroom.

B. I don't think the flip side to the judges position is by definition born of misunderstanding or inexperience.

C. I've seen PLENTY of super-high-contrast and ethereal PJ - but as others have pointed out, mainly B&W.  Why is that ok?

It ain't so cut and dry ...

EDIT ...  because I didn't know "B" + ")" = Emoticon ... funny ...
« Last Edit: April 19, 2009, 05:26:34 PM by Jeremy Payne » Logged
ckimmerle
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« Reply #25 on: April 19, 2009, 06:03:39 PM »
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Regarding darkroom work.....I still stand by my position that the toning in question was well beyond color darkroom capabilities. But, that's sorta moot, I guess. Just looking to get in the last word

As for why b/w is a credible medium for photojournalism, that's fairly straightforward: When photography first began to be used as a journalistic tool, all that was available was black and white. It was that way for decades and is still used almost exclusively on inside pages of newspapers. It's an understood and accepted form of communication with which the the general public is fully aware.

The harder question is whether or not those color images would have been disallowed had they been in b/w. For reasons I cannot fully explain, b/w images have been given much more latitude than color images regarding standard darkroom manipulations (contrast, exposure, etc). I am guessing that much of it lies in the fact that b/w photography is a more interpretive pursuit than is color photography. As most scenes are not in b/w, it's up to the photographer to interpret the tonal relationships in way that he/she sees as accurate. Unfortunately, that often leads to overly dramatic photos for the simple sake of....well, drama.

That said, the ethics for b/w are the same as the ethics for color. However, I think it's fair to say that b/w is given much more leeway. Again, it's been around far longer than color photography and, much like a grumpy old man, is allowed a bit of leeway when misbehaving. I'm not saying I agree with this "leeway", mind you, just that I understand it.

Lastly, responding to Kamil, I left photojournalism a few years ago and, as it's a past iteration of my photography, don't have anything posted. Sorry. But you can rest assured that I was great....or at least somewhat adequate  

Regards,
Chuck
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"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes." Marcel Proust

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Jeremy Payne
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« Reply #26 on: April 19, 2009, 06:45:59 PM »
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So ... these are 'acceptable' as photojournalism, but the contest entries are not?  

http://www.magnumphotos.com/CorexDoc/MAG/M...E/PAR293775.jpg

http://www.magnumphotos.com/CorexDoc/MAG/M...M/PAR280559.jpg

If the photo-journalistic community is in agreement - that it makes sense to define PJ in such a way that the contest entries are not even photojournalism whereas these images are - it should do some soul-searching ...


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Nick Rains
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« Reply #27 on: April 19, 2009, 06:54:00 PM »
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Quote from: Jeremy Payne
So ... these are 'acceptable' as photojournalism, but the contest entries are not?  

http://www.magnumphotos.com/CorexDoc/MAG/M...E/PAR293775.jpg

http://www.magnumphotos.com/CorexDoc/MAG/M...M/PAR280559.jpg

If the photo-journalistic community is in agreement - that it makes sense to define PJ in such a way that the contest entries are not even photojournalism whereas these images are - it should do some soul-searching ...

It's true that B+W gets more latitude, as Jeremy's examples show. If these were in colour....
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Nick Rains
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ckimmerle
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« Reply #28 on: April 19, 2009, 08:33:17 PM »
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Jeremy,

The flaw in you logic is that Magnum is a photo agency, not a news organization. As such, they're not bound by the same ethical considerations.

Chuck
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"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes." Marcel Proust

Chuck Kimmerle
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Jeremy Payne
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« Reply #29 on: April 19, 2009, 08:54:25 PM »
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Quote from: ckimmerle
Jeremy,

The flaw in you logic is that Magnum is a photo agency, not a news organization. As such, they're not bound by the same ethical considerations.

Chuck

The photographer:

"Paolo Pellegrin was born in 1964 in Rome. He became a Magnum Photos nominee in 2001 and a full member in 2005. He is a contract photographer for Newsweek magazine. Pellegrin is winner of many awards, including eight World Press Photo and numerous Photographer of the Year Awards, a Leica Medal of Excellence, an Olivier Rebbot Award, the Hansel-Meith Preis, and the Robert Capa Gold Medal Award."

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertai...ory-780876.html



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Nick Rains
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« Reply #30 on: April 19, 2009, 09:00:49 PM »
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Quote from: ckimmerle
Jeremy,

The flaw in you logic is that Magnum is a photo agency, not a news organization. As such, they're not bound by the same ethical considerations.

Chuck


There is no flaw in anyone's logic - it's just that there is a huge grey area (ha ha) in the "truths" of photography. Photojournalism is expected to at least try to keep it real, but in the final analysis it's an unachievable goal.

I see the images at the beginning of this thread as no worse than heavily worked, yet somehow acceptable, B+W images. But that's just me.
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Nick Rains
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bill t.
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« Reply #31 on: April 19, 2009, 10:53:00 PM »
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If somebody had taken that shot in 1966 with Tri-X then developed it to ISO3200 with Acufine, the contrast would have been similarly accentuated.  Lots of Pullitzer winning photos emerged that way.  Was that more pure than PS'ing?

I think the photograph is completely valid.  A journalistic photographer has to convey issues way beyond the literal photograph, using only the photograph.  The smell, flies, insects, misery, and overall ambiance are to my mind well represented by the Photoshopped image.  It is valid to exaggerate photographs as a visual surrogate to convey the impact of non-visual aspects of the experience of a scene.

But photo contests?  Just say NO.
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Justan
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« Reply #32 on: April 19, 2009, 11:54:28 PM »
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Quote from: Jeremy Payne
I asked: "Should people NOT be allowed to white balance and correct the exposure?"

Response:  "That is the question. I would say it depends on the stated rules of the competition."

To hold a competition where the majority of people will shoot digital RAW and then make the most sensible and medium-appropriate workflow illegal is just luddite.

Agreed. It is a proverbial 3 legged race. When I was going to school there were countless tests that expressly required not making the best use (or any use) of the tools of the trade. The pursuit in many of those tests was stated to demonstrate a specific range of techniques.


Bill and others have it right: step away from this kind of competition unless you're willing to accept the restrictions. In the end organizers groups will not hold this kind of competition if they canít get skilled people to take the bait.
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sesshin
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« Reply #33 on: April 20, 2009, 09:21:57 PM »
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Really, should your raw file differ THAT much from your final file? I don't know about anyone else but I can accomplish 80-90% of what I want out of a photo in my raw conversion. If I have to resort to any heavy Photoshopping it crosses over from "sweetening" the image to more of a creative interpretation. Thats not a bad thing but it should be recognized for what it is.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2009, 09:22:51 PM by sesshin » Logged
Jeremy Payne
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« Reply #34 on: April 20, 2009, 10:17:12 PM »
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Quote from: sesshin
Really, should your raw file differ THAT much from your final file?

A RAW file is not an image file.
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HickersonJasonC
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« Reply #35 on: April 21, 2009, 12:26:37 AM »
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The aerial shot does not, to me, look overly manipulated. It is standard practice in journalism to normalize exposure and adjust contrast in this way to get a punchy image. While I would never choose to increase saturation this much in a photo, I don't see how it is any more or less deceptive a result as a conversion to B&W.

However, the other two just LOOK heavily manipulated, almost to the point of HDR. I can't imaging any credible newspaper or news journal printing these images with a story without a byline proclaiming them "photo illustrations" or "artistic renderings." They go beyond altering the mood of the original scene (which the aerial shot also does) and actually become what I would call "digital art," which as yet, has no place in hard journalism.

I have often thought if the day will come when Adobe or some other software giant releases a journalism standard editing software hobbled to produce only "ethically sound" images. . . The original Lightroom was fairly close to this.

On the other hand, perhaps the easiest and most dangerous form of editing a photo for journalism is never mentioned... the crop tool. Perhaps we should require all pj's to print a full frame taken with a 35mm lens set to f/8 while standing way back to capture "it all."  
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sesshin
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« Reply #36 on: April 21, 2009, 01:43:06 AM »
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Quote from: Jeremy Payne
A RAW file is not an image file.

Yes I understand that but what are the judges looking at when they are comparing the raw file to the finished file? Are they opening the cr2 or the dng in the raw converter and then resetting all the levels to 0? or are they simply looking at the raw file in the raw converter as it is?

For instance if you compare a raw file to a film negative and the flattened jpg or tif submitted to a print then the adjustments made during raw conversion would be similar to dodging and burning in the darkroom. Once you start doing heavy duty pixel editing on the raster image in Photoshop then that would be akin to physically manipulating a print , and in that light its obvious why the judges would reject it.
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sesshin
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« Reply #37 on: April 21, 2009, 02:01:22 AM »
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Okay never mind I see now that they judge the raw based on default settings, which would basically discount all dodging, burning, color compensation, etc.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2009, 02:05:38 AM by sesshin » Logged
ckimmerle
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« Reply #38 on: April 21, 2009, 08:38:17 AM »
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Quote from: sesshin
Okay never mind I see now that they judge the raw based on default settings, which would basically discount all dodging, burning, color compensation, etc.

RAW files are used in photojournalism contests not to discount all burning and dodging, but rather to ascertain the extent to which any forms of localized manipulation, or excessive global enhancements (color, contrast, etc), have occurred. The judges do not compare the two files as equals, but rather use the RAW file as a basis to determine validity of the image in question.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2009, 08:38:59 AM by ckimmerle » Logged

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes." Marcel Proust

Chuck Kimmerle
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