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Author Topic: Digitally manipulated prints?  (Read 6528 times)
Bobtrips
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« on: July 26, 2005, 11:25:58 AM »
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How did you do (do you do it) with "wet" prints?

Do you have a separate category for prints that have been made using dodging and burning?  For higher contrast papers?  For prints made from 'doctored' negatives?
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BryanHansel
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« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2005, 12:39:06 PM »
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Yes, I would, but limit it to pictures that combine parts of different photos, add graphic elements.  (i.e. the Bee on this Flower is from a different photo)  I'd call the category 'digital photo art.'

Photos that were dodge and burned such as those suggested above or color corrected, ext... would be allowed in the normal categories.
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Gordon Buck
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« Reply #2 on: July 26, 2005, 09:00:21 PM »
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Drawing a further analogy to the darkroom, suppose someone photographing the same scene at the same time but using different equipment could have made the same photograph.  That is, suppose the print in question could have been made “in-camera” but was not.   This definition would allow stitched images and some superimposed images to be considered as being non-manipulated.  

What about the new HDR processing in Photoshop?  Is that manipulating?
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med007
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« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2005, 03:40:41 PM »
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If that's the case how about just using a simple one question rule:  "If someone else were standing there when you pushed the button would they have seen approximately the same thing?"

That separates the other-worldly shots from Antelope Canyon from the ones of green camels at the North Pole.
Well, I disagree!

No one saw like Ansel Adams.

A geen camel is self explanatory. Changing the wavelength of light is merely a comment on out evolutionary perceptions of different forms of light energy. We don't even know if each of us experiences the same colors anyway.

Infrared pictures, for example are certainly valid, yet could hardly be seen normally by anyone I know!

Likewise, a man in a doorway, may not be discernable to the naked eye, but could be captured by a longer exposure at a high ISO setting.

Photography is merely painting with light. It is not an holy procedure. Any pretences at image purity are at best self deceptions.

All pictures are merely exploitations of lights relections/ emissions from objects that interest us.

If it is compelling, arouses an emotion, records memories, documents then it is made valid for us. That's al there is too it.

We are totally capable of categorizing pictures as we see them.

Asher
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med007
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« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2005, 11:38:19 AM »
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med007,

Are you saying that all prints are manipulated or that there is no such thing as manipulation?  Either way, I gather that you are not in favor of having a "digitally manipulated" print category for camera club competition, right?
Gordon,

The term "manipulated" in todays language usage, is IMHP, usually intended to indicate a negative idea.

To "manipulate" is to be devious in tricking someone to behave in a way that, fully informed and independant, they would not allow.

No matter how you try to apply "manipulate" otherwise, the underlying negativity and oprobrium carries with it, like a noxiuos odor to deningrate the subjected and/or object of that word.

The photographer, in capturing an image always ends up with a mere representation. For honest journalism or science or historical documentation, nothing most be added ever. Cropping without altering the facts of the matter may be O.K. depending on the rules of that documentation.

For your gallery, however, as I understand it, the purpose is to exhibit photographers work. sure locate sports, portraits, landscapes, pinup glamor or artistic nudes on separate walls if you like.

Composites, false colors or other changes are merely the obvious end of a continuous spectrum of artistic or editorial choices available to the photographer. Nothing more.

They either do it well and produce an emotional response or they don't.

A green giraffe or white cheeks or a car with wings may be trite or impactful art. That alone is for you to decide based on your pocket of rulers that measure value.

If, however, you wish to eshibit only pictures with certain criteria, inform the photographers offering their work.

In any case, let a picture speak for itself. I personally would avoid using "manipulated".

Good luck,

Asher
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med007
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« Reply #5 on: July 28, 2005, 02:35:04 PM »
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Some good points are being made about the connotations of the word "manipulate".  I suppose we were thinking more along the lines of "To move, arrange, operate, or control by the hands or by mechanical means, especially in a skillful manner" but I see that there are perhaps more negative connotations than positive ones.--------------------------

Notwithstanding the technical and artistic arguments given herein, I'm still inclined to recommend that we keep our "manipulated" category (with perhaps a different name) even though the definition is somewhat fuzzy.
Hi Gordon,

My ultimate concern is the nomenclature gets inherited and appears in the public's mind as an inferior less valid "photograph".

Since ALL pictures are in fact "manipulated" and it is a negative word, I'd drop it. It adds nothing positive.

If a man has a head coming out of his arm, no extra description is needed!

I like terms like "Photograph June 2004, Pigment Print. Or "Archival Ink Print",  Or "Silver Gelatin print". even if the work is a composite of ten original pictures and has type face over it. People have brains. They will work it out when they see it.

I have intimate knowledge of selling artwork to a major rental and sales gallery. The terms I use seem to work better, at least for selling!

Asher
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med007
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« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2005, 03:19:30 PM »
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After thinking about this, you could define the category something like this:

A composite photographic image consisting of two or more images combined digitally, but not those in which several exposures of the same image were made to combine later to increase depth.  In addition the category includes images manipulated in the computer to achieve effects not possible in reality.

Maybe???

The last sentence tries to address the green camels.  Of course, you could paint a camel green.
Brian,

Nice try!
However, defining "manipulated" is like defining "pornography".

For some cultures bare elbows means prostitute and showing ankles is lascivious. Certainly many religious people would consider two males kissing to be obscene.

Why be obsessed with purity of photography. There is no such thing!

The is no pure substance or object on this planet. Everything is contaminated so we shouldn't waste our time categorizing things as being more or less manipulated.

Just show pictures according to categories that meet your needs. As suggested, portraits, wildlife, etc and not worry about the methodologies. Is the picture impactful or not.

Asher

P.S. Why bother to address "green camels". That means you are more concerned about the dominant wavelength of light, ie color as being somehow "false".

Well, how can you at the same time accept changing the distribution of light intensity (ie levels, curves, sharprening) ? how can we tolerate changing the sense of reality by using a wide angle lens versus a telephoto lens?

A "green" camel is just as valid or invalid as any other representation of the animal. They are merely representations. That's all. Remember, the people observing the picture will make their own judgments!
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framah
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« Reply #7 on: July 28, 2005, 07:13:29 PM »
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All Right Then!!!
 Just have a separate category for green camels!!   :p  :laugh:
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etmpasadena
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« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2005, 08:26:09 PM »
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>> It is the artistic merit of the end result that matters, not how the photographer got there.<<

Mark,

I must disagree. Photographing, for example, clouds over the Sierra Nevada range and then combining that sky with a photo of the Mojave Desert in July (because you're too lazy to wait until the clouds arrive in January) is fantasy, not photography, no matter how nice or pleasing. Granted, my example is a bit silly. I doubt it's ever happened. But one shouldn't give ideological approval to it. If anything, most dark room and photoshop work (excluding B&W) is in the service of overcoming the limitations of our capture equipment so that the photo has *greater* and not less versimilitude to the scene. The hallmark of landscape photography is not falsness and impossibility. Rather its power derives from delivering the viewer images that seem unreal but yet are very real and represent the best of what nature can offer.
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #9 on: July 28, 2005, 09:29:42 PM »
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I heartily concur.

Combining 3 bracketed frames into HDR can help one make a print that resembles the original scene, even if said scene is beyond the single-capture range of the camera. It's a technique to overcome the limitations of the eqipment. But compositing a glacier into a desert scene is something else entirely.
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BryanHansel
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« Reply #10 on: July 29, 2005, 12:44:20 PM »
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I think that maybe you are missing the point.  By categorizing composite images separately from those images you aren't judging the image less "truthful," but are allowing it to be judged on its own merits in a category where it can compete against its peers.  This doesn't make it any less valid than a single image.

By your notion, if I understand it, why have categories at all?  Because art is art.
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med007
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« Reply #11 on: July 30, 2005, 11:29:55 AM »
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I think that maybe you are missing the point.  By categorizing composite images separately from those images you aren't judging the image less "truthful," but are allowing it to be judged on its own merits in a category where it can compete against its peers.  This doesn't make it any less valid than a single image.

By your notion, if I understand it, why have categories at all?  Because art is art.
No Brian,

You are misunderstanding me.

I'm all for categorizing images as to subject, mood, color or printing technic.

That makes sense.

Landscapes for example: I can compare how different photographers tackle similar subjects and how lighting and composition and print process modifies their final picture.

Similarly platinum or other special printing procedures may best be seen side by side.

Such groupings are helpful.

In each and every case, the subjects are distorted and represented and only mimic reality.

An iceberg in the desert or a "green camel" in Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, might fit into a separate metaphorical section or may do nicely in the category of landscape.

My point is that alterations are a continuum of deceits (meant in no derogatory way) and it is a mistake to say that one compositional change     demands  being segregated.

Perhaps it does, perhaps it doesn't, but no more so than portraits with focal lengths less than 50mm or some other distortion the photographer has chosen.

Asher
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BryanHansel
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« Reply #12 on: July 30, 2005, 11:59:32 PM »
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Asher - Maybe I am missing your point.  Is it that you are for categories, even for separate categories such as platinum prints, but not for a separate category for digital manipulated prints simply because all photos distorts reality, so in essence a digital distortion is equal to let's say the distortion a 500mm lens causes to a head shot?  If so, it's a fine point to make.

And a question, if you would have a category for platinum or other special printing procedures, then why not a category for a picture achieved in a single shot and one achieved by the combination of multiples?  I would suggest that I'd like to see the later side by side, so if I were judging, I'd be able to address the technical merits of the combination of prints.  It seems like it would be helpful, not only to the viewer, but also photographer/graphic artist.

In my opinion, there is a difference between a landscape image distorted simply by the lens and one distorted by the computer.  They are two different tools used for expressing artistic vision, and they should be categorized as such. After all, we don't allow painted landscapes in a photo contest.

I can see your points, and they seem valid, I just have a slightly different opinion on how I'd like to see a contest run.  Both would make fine contests.  As would Bobtrips suggestion of no contest but just constructive commenting.

Bryan
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BryanHansel
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« Reply #13 on: July 31, 2005, 11:55:38 PM »
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... but the delivery of art that is impactful is still very challenging.

Asher
Now, you hit the gopher on the head.  To each his own.
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Gordon Buck
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« Reply #14 on: July 26, 2005, 11:03:45 AM »
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For purposes of a camera club monthly print competition, would you have a separate category for prints that are heavily “Photoshopped”?  If so, how would you define such  “digitally manipulated” prints?
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framah
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« Reply #15 on: July 26, 2005, 12:24:59 PM »
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Would you have a separate category for Ansel Adams prints? He danced all over his prints in the darkroom as we all did/do.

    I would make a separate category for images which are composite images... something was added into the image in the computer.
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« Reply #16 on: July 26, 2005, 03:12:52 PM »
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Like Framah, I would have a separate category for composites.
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Bobtrips
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« Reply #17 on: July 27, 2005, 12:33:40 AM »
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Manipulation runs amok.

It starts with where you stand, the lens you use, the film/settings you choose, even when you push the button.  It might involve lights, reflectors, filters, tying back branches, picking up trash, asking people to move....

And it continues after you push the button.  Either you do the manipulating in computer or darkroom or you hand your film/file over to someone else to do the manipulation.  (And that might be the 'random' manipulation done by some automated printer set up by an engineer half way 'round the world.)

Some people seem to think that "Photoshopping" is some special case.  They just don't seem to have given thought to all the other ways in which "perfectly normal" photographs have been manipulated throughout the history of photography.

Now perhaps your club wishes to differentiate between "realistic"  photographs and those which are better described as "digital art".  I can see that as being a valid desire.  (We do so in an on-line travel photography club that I frequent.)

If that's the case how about just using a simple one question rule:  "If someone else were standing there when you pushed the button would they have seen approximately the same thing?"

That separates the other-worldly shots from Antelope Canyon from the ones of green camels at the North Pole.
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Gordon Buck
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« Reply #18 on: July 28, 2005, 10:49:38 AM »
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med007,

Are you saying that all prints are manipulated or that there is no such thing as manipulation?  Either way, I gather that you are not in favor of having a "digitally manipulated" print category for camera club competition, right?
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Dan Sroka
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« Reply #19 on: July 28, 2005, 11:21:10 AM »
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A common term for such work (often used in magazines) is "photoillustration". "Digital Art" is usually used to refer to art that is born and bred on the computer (e.g. fractal images).
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