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Author Topic: Liberty  (Read 4819 times)
Dave (Isle of Skye)
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« on: September 14, 2011, 04:36:40 AM »
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I am moving house very soon, to setup my photography Tuition/Holiday business, and so have not been able to get out with my camera much, as I have been packing boxes and sorting out solicitors and estate agents and a multitude of other things instead. But the surprising spin-off benefit, is that when I do get a spare minute in the evenings, it has allowed me the chance to go through some of my old stock and have a look at images I would have never normally had the chance to get around to, and last night I came up with this.

Hope you like.

all the best.

Dave (UK)
« Last Edit: September 14, 2011, 06:58:10 AM by Dave (UK) » Logged

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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2011, 08:28:33 AM »
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A composite?
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« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2011, 05:40:22 PM »
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A composite?

I was wondering about that, too.
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louoates
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« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2011, 08:02:13 PM »
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If it were not a composite I'd expect to see some of those sky colors around the statue's edges and more of the reddish tones tinting over the green.
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Justan
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« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2011, 11:00:12 PM »
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^ Yep but it's a heck of a fine shot, not matter how processed
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Dave (Isle of Skye)
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« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2011, 07:35:10 AM »
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A composite?

Yes Slobodan, of course it is a composite, it was never meant to deceive anyone, just a quick idea thrown together in less than an hour the other night.

I also thought to myself before I posted it, that I should have spent a little more time to get the glow from the clouds to envelop the statue more realistically, which is easily done, but it was just an exercise done to keep me going until I can get out with my camera again in the real world and away from all this packing and box shifting – it’s amazing how much cr*p you collect over the years, it really is.

The final version that I suppose I was working towards, which I did last night and is the one below, is simply a mono conversion of the colour image with a bit more of a vignette added.

So even though I am not trying to hide anything and freely admit it is a composite, I suppose it does throw up that age old question of 'image integrity' and the acceptability or otherwise of replacing skies and cloning out/in street furniture or stray branches etc. But if we agree that photography is 'Art' or at the least an art form, and I for one truly believe it is, then I say why hold back, why not use artistic license to enhance an image, just as a painter does and who more often than not paints what they want to see, or an idealistic version of reality and not what they are actually seeing. They add, we subtract….  and I think there is nothing wrong if we occasionally add a bit back again as well.  Smiley Cheesy Grin

All the best

Dave (UK)
« Last Edit: September 15, 2011, 07:37:18 AM by Dave (UK) » Logged

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louoates
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« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2011, 08:26:51 AM »
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Dave,
absolutely right on! I also freely adapt any part of any image(s) to any other to make the vision I have. Thank goodness there are fewer and fewer so-called purists that decry those visions as somehow violating some tenet of "classical" photography. I treasure going through old images and finding new uses, singly or in combination. Quite exciting. Your b/w version is striking but I'd love to see what your final color version would be.
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Justan
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« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2011, 08:45:25 AM »
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^Agreed.

A camera is a tool. With the advent of the digital age, a camera and post processing becomes a collection of tools. The belief that one must or must not do *anything* is right up there with someone who would willingly opt into a handicap due to a not well thought out sense of dogma.

Btw it looks waaaaaaaay better in color.
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RSL
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« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2011, 08:55:30 AM »
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I don't agree with Justan on this one. I think the colors in the color version approach the Marlboro ad level of oversaturation, and the color contrasts are hokey. The B&W version, on the other hand, is powerful, if a bit over-dramatic. Interesting stuff, Dave.
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Justan
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« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2011, 09:37:20 AM »
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^I dunno about the “power” or “drama.” The B&W is yet another tedious take on a standard subject. The color edition shines.
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2011, 11:03:04 AM »
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Photography is either documenting or interpreting reality. Compositing is altering reality. Big difference. One is photography, the other is illustration.

Assuming you are an illustrator, and your editor asked you to illustrate an article on, say, a nuclear attack on New York (God forbid!) or alien invasion, then you did a splendid job.

I guess by now you've figured out that I am not great fan of compositing Wink

My take on the same subject (one file, aggressive post-processing)... not to compete with yours, not to say one is better than the other, but just to illustrate (pardon the pun) the point:


Lady Liberty by Slobodan Blagojevic, on Flickr



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Justan
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« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2011, 11:30:35 AM »
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> My take on the same subject (one file, aggressive post-processing)... not to compete with yours, not to say one is better than the other, but just to illustrate (pardon the pun) the point:

You suggest that altering an image you captured to your personal preference is okay but for someone else altering an image they captured to their personal preference is not? To each their own, even if it amounts to silly hypocrisy.
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2011, 11:47:55 AM »
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You suggest that altering an image you captured to your personal preference is okay but for someone else altering an image they captured to their personal preference is not? To each their own, even if it amounts to silly hypocrisy.

I guess you missed the part in which I made a clear distinction between interpreting reality and altering reality?

Also, in the latter case, it was not one image, but two (hence the composite). In the case of my image, everything was already there (i.e., I did not add or subtract elements), I just used post-processing for emphasis. You, of course, are entitled to think that interpreting and altering are the same. I do not.
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« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2011, 01:03:35 PM »
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Apart from it being a photograph, it's a striking image. As a photograph, it looks fake. And now we know why.
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« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2011, 01:12:51 PM »
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Yes, I think there is a difference between "digital art" and a photograph.

IMO, there is nothing wrong with digital art at all, some of it is quite striking, but it should be represented as "digital art" from the outset ... and not called a "photograph" ...

Jack


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Justan
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« Reply #15 on: September 15, 2011, 01:52:46 PM »
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>I guess you missed the part in which I made a clear distinction between interpreting reality and altering reality?

I didn’t miss anything. I reject your distinction as hair split by a rationalization of convenience.

A rational response would be that when you (or anyone) produces something with a camera the production is an alteration of the original scene. As such the image made by the camera has little to do with “reality.”

The very technological process of creating digital or film based image media amounts to an accepted means or fabricating a representation of reality. This acceptance of fabrication is why a 1 megapixel image will generally suck compared with a 10 megapixel image, which sucks compared to the top dslr image, which sucks compared to the top MF image, which sucks compared to an image from an 8x10 film view camera, which sucks ever so slightly compared to actually being there. Well… maybe not in that case.

Anyway, to further alter the fabrication in the name of improving it, we dodge, we burn, now-a-days we learn to use Photoshop and other similar tools. At the point Photoshop enters the picture (like the pun?) the degree of fabrication is all a slippery slope.

But put that aside for a moment. As two simple specifics, in your image. 1) Was it B&W day Ellis Island when you captured the image above? 2) Was there a big gradient between you and the bottom part of the statue? If the answer to either of these are no, you have added things not in the original scene. You have altered it to your preference. You have in fact created a composite. Your so-called interpretation is an alteration that’s far removed from any sense of integrity with the subject.

> You, of course, are entitled to think that interpreting and altering are the same. I do not.

Thank you. You, of course, are entitled to think that rationalizations are the same as being rational, etc.
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Dave (Isle of Skye)
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« Reply #16 on: September 16, 2011, 07:32:34 AM »
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Hi all,

My take on this whole photographic integrity conundrum is quite simple - I feel no guilt whatsoever in doing anything and everything within my power, to make what I believe to be a better, more complete or more striking image. My goal is the result not the means.

all the best  Wink

Dave
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kikashi
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« Reply #17 on: September 16, 2011, 11:22:41 AM »
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My take on this whole photographic integrity conundrum is quite simple - I feel no guilt whatsoever in doing anything and everything within my power, to make what I believe to be a better, more complete or more striking image. My goal is the result not the means.
Not being a photojournalist, +1.

Jeremy
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« Reply #18 on: September 16, 2011, 11:41:44 AM »
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Hi all,

My take on this whole photographic integrity conundrum is quite simple - I feel no guilt whatsoever in doing anything and everything within my power, to make what I believe to be a better, more complete or more striking image. My goal is the result not the means.

I agree that an artist has the right to use all the tools as their disposal to make the most compelling images possible. Painters don't usually have to worry about people questioning their integrity for the way they produced a painting. Where it becomes an issue in photography is a presumption by the viewer that a photograph is a single image taken by a photographer and is in some sense a representation of what the photographer saw when they released the shutter. That image may be enhanced by post-processing, but essentially it's a straight shot.

Technically, your image isn't a photograph, it's a photographic collage. Its really two photographs that have been combined to make a single image. There's nothing wrong with that, per se. Where it can become a question of integrity is when it's offered up as something it isn't. What makes one a great art photographer, as opposed to your average Joe with a camera, is to see same scene as they do, but whereas Joe would take a snapshot, an artist would make art. Making an effective collage, on the other hand, doesn't require one to be a particularly good photographer, just a good collage artist.

I think your image is striking, and I don't think you were trying to deceive anyone. But let's also not pretend that your image is the result of anything more than the ability to skillfully combine two pretty average photographs into one interesting collage.
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louoates
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« Reply #19 on: September 16, 2011, 01:10:03 PM »
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I hope that eventually the issue of what is a photograph and what is a composite will die out much like the difference between film-based and digital-based images. To me it's like calling a painter a composite artist when he uses oils and acrylics on the same canvas.

When I show a landscape of the Superstition Mountains to locals, one version with houses, telephone poles, etc. and another version of the same shot with no trace of habitation and a different sky entirely I have never been questioned as to how or why. Both versions sell about the same. I know there are still those who think I've sinned against the gods of photography. That doesn't bother me at all. I'm happy that folks like and buy my work no matter how many mediocre images I combined to make it.
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