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Author Topic: The Ethics of Photo Manipulation  (Read 32588 times)
RFPhotography
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« Reply #80 on: June 01, 2013, 06:11:56 PM »
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Bob,
Such non-corrections and distortions which are so obvious in the unaltered image I showed, will not be permitted by me. I would not be interested in submitting any of my photos to a documentary or photo journal, or photo competition, that have rules that exclude sensible corrections but allow ridiculous distortions that are sometimes produced by camera and lens.

Whether such distortions would be permitted by you is, in the context, irrelevant.  Whether you would submit images to a competition that had such stringent rules is, in the context, irrelevant.  Whether you would work in the realm of documentary or journalistic photography is, in the context irrelevant.
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RFPhotography
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« Reply #81 on: June 01, 2013, 06:15:00 PM »
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IMO there is no such thing as an unmanipulated digital photograph. You either let the camera defaults do the manipulating or you do it yourself.

If that's the viewpoint, why restrict it to digital.  In the context you raise, there is no such thing as an unmanipulated photograph.  Period.
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #82 on: June 01, 2013, 06:27:42 PM »
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...why restrict it to digital.  In the context you raise, there is no such thing as an unmanipulated photograph...

Indeed. In the context you raise, let me expand my previous statement as well: it is double ridiculous Grin
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Slobodan

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Ray
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« Reply #83 on: June 01, 2013, 06:36:49 PM »
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Whether such distortions would be permitted by you is, in the context, irrelevant.  Whether you would submit images to a competition that had such stringent rules is, in the context, irrelevant.  Whether you would work in the realm of documentary or journalistic photography is, in the context irrelevant.

Then there is no hope for such organisations that consider sensible opinion irrelevant.
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Ray
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« Reply #84 on: June 01, 2013, 06:45:20 PM »
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The brain doesn't see in HDR.  It allocates brightness, shadow, contrast.  HDR flattens that out something the brain doesn't do.  This is why so much of HDR looks unnatural.

All processing of the light that reaches a camera's sensor is an allocation of brightness, shadow and contrast. Further allocation is often required in post-processing for best results. Yet more changes are required to reallocate the dynamic range of the unaltered image so that it can be displayed on print media which has a surprisingly low DR of around 5 or 6 stops.

The HDR camera-process requires multiple shots with different exposures. The eye and the brain also takes multiple shots with different exposures. Such shots are stored in the brain so the mind can create a composite image of the scene we might intend to photograph.

There is a difference, however. The eye has a surprisingly narrow field of focus. Most of what we see is in the unfocussed periphery region of our field of view.  The multiple shots for HDR purposes that the eye/brain takes, and stores in memory, consists of different focussing points which require some movement of eyeball and/or head.

In this sense, the eye/brain is not only an HDR device, but a photomerge/panoramic stitching device, plus a focus stacking device, all in one. Amazing, isn't it!  Grin
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RFPhotography
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« Reply #85 on: June 01, 2013, 06:50:02 PM »
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Then there is no hope for such organisations that consider sensible opinion irrelevant.

Oh bloody hell.
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Alan Klein
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« Reply #86 on: June 01, 2013, 08:18:28 PM »
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Quote
The HDR camera-process requires multiple shots with different exposures. The eye and the brain also takes multiple shots with different exposures. Such shots are stored in the brain so the mind can create a composite image of the scene we might intend to photograph.

The eye, but not the brain, takes multiple shots with different exposures.  That's the purpose of the eye's iris that acts like a diaphragm to limit the light.  As long as the iris stay the same, the brain gets the same exposure for all parts of what the eye sees.  The parts that are not focused on do not change in brightness as long as the diaphragm stays the same.  Even if you were to focus on a shadow area and allow the iris to change, it mostly does not show the details within the shadow. 

When you use HDR to open the shadows, you're seeing something in the photo that the eye isn't ordinarily seeing.  You are compressing the range so that the darkest darks and lightest lights are closer together than the eye and brain sees.   HDR overdoes the lighting range by compressing it  beyond what the eye itself can do.That's why HDR shots look unnatural.
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kencameron
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« Reply #87 on: June 01, 2013, 08:50:11 PM »
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Indeed. In the context you raise, let me expand my previous statement as well: it is double ridiculous Grin

Not to be outdone, I will also double up at this point.  When you are looking at a photograph that started with film, reality has been "manipulated" by the photographer's choice of camera, lens, film, speed and aperture, as well as by what (s)he has done in the darkroom. Digital makes the process more obvious but does not change it fundamentally.
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Ray
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« Reply #88 on: June 01, 2013, 09:08:33 PM »
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The eye, but not the brain, takes multiple shots with different exposures.  That's the purpose of the eye's iris that acts like a diaphragm to limit the light.  As long as the iris stay the same, the brain gets the same exposure for all parts of what the eye sees.  The parts that are not focused on do not change in brightness as long as the diaphragm stays the same.  Even if you were to focus on a shadow area and allow the iris to change, it mostly does not show the details within the shadow. 

When you use HDR to open the shadows, you're seeing something in the photo that the eye isn't ordinarily seeing.  You are compressing the range so that the darkest darks and lightest lights are closer together than the eye and brain sees.   HDR overdoes the lighting range by compressing it  beyond what the eye itself can do.That's why HDR shots look unnatural.

Alan, I can only speak here of what my own eyes see. Maybe your eyes are different. The most obvious example of what I'm talking about here, is the view out of a typical living room on a bright day, as you sit at the far end of the room furthest away from the window.

Provided you are not attempting to look directly at the sun, you should be able to clearly discern detail in the white clouds and appreciate the rich blue of the sky. Redirect your gaze to any relatively dark area of the room, perhaps the lower shelf of a bookcase, and your pupils should immediately dilate, allowing you to clearly see the contents of the bookcase.

Take a photo of your room with a lens wide enough to include both the bookcase and the view out of the window, and you should find that whatever exposure you use, you will not be able to capture the detail that the eye has seen in both the bright white clouds, and the contents of the bookcase in the shadows. If you don't believe me, try it.

If you have a camera with a relatively good DR, such as a D7000 or D800, you might be able to expose for the sky and raise the shadows in post-processing so that certain large items in the bookcase are vaguely discernible, such as the main titles on books. But such detail, if visible, will  be surrounded by all sorts noise which the eye just doesn't see in reality.

In order to capture closely and realistically what the eye has seen in such a scene, it is necessary to take at least two shots with the camera, for purposes of creating an HDR image. The HDR image, if processed skillfully and properly, will more closely represent reality than the single shot.

The fact that sometimes HDR images are not processed properly or expertly, and result in an 'unreal' impression, perhaps due to the application of a formulaic process of so-called tone-mapping, is another issue. All images have to be processed in one way or another. If your HDR image doesn't look right, then I recommend identifying why it doesn't look right, then fix it.
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Ray
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« Reply #89 on: June 01, 2013, 09:28:19 PM »
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Oh bloody hell.

Perhaps I've given an unintended impression here, Bob. I think it's quite all right for organisations to have absurd rules for entertainment purposes, or even not-so-absurd rules in order to level the playing field in any competition.

If somebody wants to organise a race and impose the rule that contestants must not use both legs, but must hop on one leg only, and that anyone found to be using two legs at any stage of the race, will be immediately disqualified, then so be it. It could be fun.

However, the real absurdity would be if the organisers were to claim that hopping on one leg is more consistent with reality or more representative of how people behave.
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Michael West
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« Reply #90 on: June 01, 2013, 10:51:35 PM »
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From the farthest fringes comes this unquestionably tasteless example of the world worst most SKEWED photojournalism.

Manipulation in spades?

The  internet conspiracy minded types  really don't seem to mind bending the laws of geometry and physics  in order to amuse  all but the most terribly naive


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Alan Klein
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« Reply #91 on: June 01, 2013, 10:52:56 PM »
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Ray, Why don't you post your HDR pictures and show how it's done right?
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #92 on: June 02, 2013, 01:52:42 AM »
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... Redirect your gaze..

Ray, aren't you contradicting yourself with this? If you "redirect" your lens to a shadow area, autoexposure will compensate for it, just like our eyes do.

If your eyes, however, look at the scene that contains both very bright areas and deep shadows, without "redirecting your gaze," than you will see clearly either one or the other, but not both.
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Slobodan

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« Reply #93 on: June 02, 2013, 02:53:16 AM »
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If the question is how to get a picture showing "truth", then artificially limiting post processing is not the answer.
I suppose we should also demand that the photgrapher includes an area around his subject so we can be sure that the impact of the photograph has not been enhanced by careful composition (as in, for example, the photos of the toppling of the statue of Saddam Hussein at Firdos Square http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2003/04/fird-a12.html ).
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Tony Jay
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« Reply #94 on: June 02, 2013, 04:16:07 AM »
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If your eyes, however, look at the scene that contains both very bright areas and deep shadows, without "redirecting your gaze," than you will see clearly either one or the other, but not both.
That's true, Slobodan is correct here however the native DR of vision is still greater than almost (all?) cameras commercially available so it would not contradict, in principle, the rationale for HDR.
Also when one takes into consideration that our vision is very dynamic, flitting around a scene very rapidly without our being aware of it. This hugely increases the apparent DR of our vision.

Tony Jay
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RFPhotography
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« Reply #95 on: June 02, 2013, 06:11:34 AM »
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Tony, by native DR, are you referring to a steady state, looking at one thing without moving the head or eyes?

Ray, clearly you don't understand what I'm referring to or are being purposefully obtuse.  Either way I'm wasting my energy.
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stevesanacore
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« Reply #96 on: June 02, 2013, 06:44:36 AM »
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Personally I think it's just plain silly for anyone to think any photograph can be 100% objective. Everyone should by now realize that photographs are all manipulated to some extent. Maybe with the death of newspapers, this will finally become a non-issue. If anything, it's video that is more accepted as the truth as it's much more difficult to retouch at this time.

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« Reply #97 on: June 02, 2013, 08:46:45 AM »
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The possibilities with combinations of local, signal-adaptive, non-linear and manual image processing are practically infinite. It is, in principle, possible to hire a talented graphical artist to rework your image of a cat into something resembling an image of an autumn landscape, or to use a Photoshop plugin to transform a portrait into a faux painting. I have a feeling that this are (extreme) examples of the kind of processing that are unwanted in some photo competitions.

Of course a camera and lens can also be used for highly creative interpretations of a scene, until the point where the original scene cannot be recognized. But I believe that it is easier for most viewers to relate to those distortions, perhaps because we have been primed by 100 years+ of film photography. Even fancy tilt-shift lenses and multiple flashes cannot practically make a sad face into a happy face, or turn a tennis court into WMD facilities?

As in-camera JPEG development is getting more complex, any automatic algorithm used in Photoshop could in principle be done in-camera. Thus, limiting oneself to out-of-camera JPEGs is not the solution. By restricting the digital processing of raw files to global operators (exposure correction, contrast, white-balance, color correction and the like), you may add a restriction that is meaningful for some audiences, it is no longer possible to clone away the ugly drunk. Another possibility would be to ship a condensed description of the edits (much like Lightroom does in its JPEG exports).

BTW, I think it is hilarious for evidence used in court or by medical doctors to not allow any kind of lossy compression (what if compression artifacts happens to alter the understanding of the scene), while the many complex operations that distinguish raw sensor output from viewable developed data are fair game.

-h
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Ray
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« Reply #98 on: June 02, 2013, 10:07:57 AM »
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Ray, Why don't you post your HDR pictures and show how it's done right?

You mean, you want a tutorial? Just posting an image won't help. First you have to be able to recognize what's not right about an image. Having done that, you then need to know how to correct what doesn't look right, using an editing program like Photoshop.

It takes a bit of practice and know-how to do that. Tutorial books on Photoshop should help.
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Ray
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« Reply #99 on: June 02, 2013, 10:22:05 AM »
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Ray, aren't you contradicting yourself with this? If you "redirect" your lens to a shadow area, autoexposure will compensate for it, just like our eyes do.

If your eyes, however, look at the scene that contains both very bright areas and deep shadows, without "redirecting your gaze," than you will see clearly either one or the other, but not both.

I think the point you've missed here, Slobodan, is that the eye has a very narrow 'field of focus'. If you include peripheral vision, its Field of View (which is not the same as the field of focus) is quite wide, much wider than the FoV of a standard lens, but that peripheral vision is mainly to detect movement. Try reading a book whilst staring at a point just a few inches off the side of the page.

The great trick of photography is that a single shot with a single exposure can capture a far wider scene than the eye can focus on from one precise position, and such a scene, as captured by the camera, can be in good focus from edge to edge. That's something which the eye cannot do when viewing the real scene.

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