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Author Topic: The Ethics of Photo Manipulation  (Read 36431 times)
Alan Klein
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« Reply #200 on: June 08, 2013, 02:32:53 PM »
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Good point about HDR. IF you can blend two pictures of the same scene, why can't you blend two pictures from diffeerent scenes so the sky in one is blended into the second?  NG doesn't want explain that to their readers who may be unsophisticated and believe the picture is "false" because two were used even though for the purposes of lighting.

However,  I'm sure they accept graduated ND filters however because that;s to adjust lighting to assist the camera's limitation in dynamic range. They say lighting changes are allowed in post so why not when captured?
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John Camp
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« Reply #201 on: June 08, 2013, 02:35:31 PM »
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BJL: Doesn't HDR merge two or more images? That's different than dodging and burning, where you're adjusting one image...and NG's standard, whether it's foolish or not, is no HDR, and since it's their magazine, it's their call. They could equally say, "No red." This isn't fundamentally a matter of ethics, but a matter of institutional rules which may have some perceived connection to ethics.  

I'll say again (for a third time) that you're all on a fool's errand if you're looking for ethics in a photographic image, which has no ethics, being inert.

Bob Fisher said: "I've stated, quite clearly, that when it comes to journalism and documentary there should be very minimal post-capture work done.  I've said that when it comes to advertising/commercial I'm pretty liberal although I think the concept of truth in advertising has value. I've said when it comes to art, all is fair game."

Again, you're suggesting that the ethics lie in the product. It doesn't. When Andreas Gursky shot his famous photo of the Rhine, he post-processed it to remove some features he didn't like. This image was undoubtedly intended and accepted as art, and he made no secret of his post-processing. But if he'd presented the photo as being exactly naturalistic, then he, but not the photo, would have been a fraud, and the presentation unethical, whether it's art or not. Presented as it was, as a photo of the Rhine with post-processing, there's no problem, because post processing is fine in art, as long as you admit it. The ethics reside in the photographer, not in the image. In advertising, it's fine to show make-up on a gorgeous model, but it would be unethical to say that this makeup will make you as gorgeous as the model. And of course, any make-up company would instantly disavow any such intent, because otherwise they could be sued for deceptive advertising by a million unattractive customers who the make-up didn't help. What they will say is, here's a photograph of a gorgeous model who uses our make-up in an effort to make herself even more gorgeous, and that may very well be true, and might be be a reasonable objective for a buyer -- not to become the model, but to become a prettier version of herself.

When you ask the question "Is an altered image okay in any circumstance?" you're asking the wrong question -- an image is an object or a display, not a human being, so it can be neither ethical or unethical. That's why, when the cops find a child pornography image, they throw the photographer in jail, not the photograph.

The bottom-line question is, do you willingly and openly disclose what you've done with an image? If not, you're at least treading close to the line of unethical behavior. When the National Geographic moved a pyramid in a cover photo, it was unethical -- but it was the editor who was engaging in unethical behavior, not the photograph. Once again, the ethics lie with the person, not with the image.

There's also a somewhat related problem of "When and how much do I have to disclose?" Again, that does back to intent. If the intent is to deceive, then the action is unethical. If it's an obvious alteration -- say a photograph of John Kennedy with his hand on the shoulder of an adult Barack Obama, then you may not have to disclose because it's obviously a construct. If the line is questionable, then you should disclose.

 
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Alan Klein
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« Reply #202 on: June 08, 2013, 02:36:10 PM »
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... It is interesting that they don't allow fisheye lenses except underwater.  I don't see what the difference is, really....  

Fisheye gives a circular image.  They may not want it for aesthetic and editorial reasons but willing to go along because of the nature of underwater photography.  I wonder if that is their reason?
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Telecaster
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« Reply #203 on: June 08, 2013, 02:43:14 PM »
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The NatGeo rules also include:

STITCHED PANORAMAS: NOT Acceptable

http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/photo-contest/digital-manipulation-notice/

The stitched pano rule seems odd to me...the others reasonable enough. So if I photograph a scene with a Fuij 6x17 or Widelux...a-okay? Shoot the same scene w/ a Nikon D800, 24mm TS lens and merge shifted exposures--left, center, right--together in software for a 1:3 pano...not okay? IMO that is unnecessarily arbitrary.

-Dave-
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Alan Klein
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« Reply #204 on: June 08, 2013, 02:50:43 PM »
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Stitched photos apparently fall into the same category of blending two pictures for HDR. NatGeo doesn't want to explain to non-photographers that using two photos to make one is not a fraud.


MODIFIED SENTENCE FOR CLARITY.  Alan
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« Reply #205 on: June 08, 2013, 03:00:43 PM »
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John, I completely disagree.  Surprising, right? Grin  Where is the moral imperative to disclose what was done in an artistic image?  Art is an entirely subjective arena.  Gursky created the scene as he saw it, or wanted to see it. The goal, with documentary/PJ is to try and maintain objectivity. 

I'd suggest a read of this essay by Guy Tal, http://guytal.com/wordpress/2011/02/12/lie-like-you-mean-it/.
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jrsforums
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« Reply #206 on: June 08, 2013, 04:35:38 PM »
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I'd agree with that, but would say it also likely includes tonemapping to prevent people sending in the 'bad' type of HDR. That would, I think, be consistent with their requirements vis a vis solarization and the like.  It is interesting that they don't allow fisheye lenses except underwater.  I don't see what the difference is, really.

It's interesting with all this reference to NatGeo and it's standards, I seem to recall some controversy around some of their photos in the past. 

Bob, I understand what you are saying. 

It may just be me, but I look at tone mapping or manipulation as everything from brightness/contrast, highlight/shadows, dodge/burn, curves, etc. up to the most sophisticated HDR routines.

Normally MY rule (and this only governs me) is t us anything as long as the final result enhances in image to what I saw...or felt....and is not "apparent".  If I am playing for a "look", well...

That said, I understand NG's need for simple rules, which maintain their integrity and allow their editors to reject images.
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John
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« Reply #207 on: June 08, 2013, 04:46:35 PM »
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When they talk about HDR, I do not believe they are talking about the tone manipulation as much as the blending of images.  I would say that using multiple images to create one image is a can of worms they do not want to open...in the interests of journalistic realism.
That might be the intention, but the rule is too rigid: it seems to allow manipulations like using a grad ND filter, but not handling the same situation with two exposures taken a faction of a second apart with the camera on a tripod. The rules would be better if they addressed primarily the end goal of realism, as in NG's words about dodging and burning: "Your goal in using digital darkroom techniques should be to to adjust the dynamic tonal range of an image so that it more closely resembles what you saw."
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Ken Richmond
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« Reply #208 on: June 08, 2013, 04:47:19 PM »
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Thanks, I agree.

It is just a shame that people use NG standards as a definition for wall art.

Do you have wall art that someone has purchased?


Ken Richmond
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Patricia Sheley
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« Reply #209 on: June 08, 2013, 04:48:11 PM »
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"If you want your work to represent your own truth, embrace the lies and lie like you mean it! No product of human conception can objectively contain all the dimensions of an experience. And if it could it would not be art since it will leave it up to the viewer to decide for themselves how to interpret and feel about it. In my mind, art and objectivity do not mix. An artist is one who creates meaning, who expresses their own personal sensibilities and relays their own inspiration through their work. If an image represents “reality” in an objective fashion, by definition it cannot be “art” since it expressly excludes the artist’s personal interpretation..." Guy Tal

I very much like the spirit of this paragraph... I'm guessing one may appreciate it most if the spontaneous conscious impulse as one breathes out on making a capture has already been experienced almost as poetry during still and  quiet rests in  heightened awareness.

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jrsforums
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« Reply #210 on: June 08, 2013, 05:16:11 PM »
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That might be the intention, but the rule is too rigid: it seems to allow manipulations like using a grad ND filter, but not handling the same situation with two exposures taken a faction of a second apart with the camera on a tripod. The rules would be better if they addressed primarily the end goal of realism, as in NG's words about dodging and burning: "Your goal in using digital darkroom techniques should be to to adjust the dynamic tonal range of an image so that it more closely resembles what you saw."

As they said on the playground..."it's my football, my rules"   Cheesy
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John
jrsforums
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« Reply #211 on: June 08, 2013, 05:17:48 PM »
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"If you want your work to represent your own truth, embrace the lies and lie like you mean it! No product of human conception can objectively contain all the dimensions of an experience. And if it could it would not be art since it will leave it up to the viewer to decide for themselves how to interpret and feel about it. In my mind, art and objectivity do not mix. An artist is one who creates meaning, who expresses their own personal sensibilities and relays their own inspiration through their work. If an image represents “reality” in an objective fashion, by definition it cannot be “art” since it expressly excludes the artist’s personal interpretation..." Guy Tal

I very much like the spirit of this paragraph... I'm guessing one may appreciate it most if the spontaneous conscious impulse as one breathes out on making a capture has already been experienced almost as poetry during still and  quiet rests in  heightened awareness.



I love Guy, his work and his writings, which really resonate with me.  Thanks for posting.
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John
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« Reply #212 on: June 08, 2013, 05:31:44 PM »
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Bob, I understand what you are saying. 

It may just be me, but I look at tone mapping or manipulation as everything from brightness/contrast, highlight/shadows, dodge/burn, curves, etc. up to the most sophisticated HDR routines.



Agreed. Tonemapping means more than what is done in HDR software.  Adams' Zone System was tone mapping.  I just meant that they likely exclude HDR so as to eliminate the hyper-real effects that some go for.  In essence, HDR can be the same as using GND filters on the camera, as other have noted.

Ken, re: your question to JRS....your point would be?
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Alan Klein
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« Reply #213 on: June 08, 2013, 06:15:03 PM »
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John, I completely disagree.  Surprising, right? Grin  Where is the moral imperative to disclose what was done in an artistic image?  Art is an entirely subjective arena.  Gursky created the scene as he saw it, or wanted to see it. The goal, with documentary/PJ is to try and maintain objectivity....

Anyone who can sell his photo for $3-4 million doesn't have to explain anything to the buyer.  The whole thing is an illusion.
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Ken Richmond
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« Reply #214 on: June 08, 2013, 08:05:07 PM »
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Ken, re: your question to JRS....your point would be?"

Did he provide the raw image?  If not,  he's a despicable fraud.  Eat that!

Ken Richnmond
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Ken Richmond
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« Reply #215 on: June 08, 2013, 08:25:23 PM »
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Who has time to entertain "Photographers" who photoshop an image?  Get lost!  your not a photographer and  can't cut it as one.  Your a photoshop techician and have to rely on Jeff to get an acceptable product.  You don't belong in the same category.  Find another forum!


Ken Richmond.
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Ken Richmond
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« Reply #216 on: June 08, 2013, 08:34:06 PM »
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Take a photograph and get it right the first time to show me you know what your doing the first time. Otherwise you suck as a photographer.  How's that?


Ken Richmond
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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When everybody thinks the same... nobody thinks.


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« Reply #217 on: June 08, 2013, 09:34:18 PM »
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Who has time to entertain "Photographers" who photoshop an image?  Get lost!  your not a photographer and  can't cut it as one.  Your a photoshop techician and have to rely on Jeff to get an acceptable product.  You don't belong in the same category.  Find another forum!

That's why I describe myself as a photoshoppographer™ Grin
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« Reply #218 on: June 08, 2013, 09:35:20 PM »
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Take a photograph and get it right the first time to show me you know what your doing the first time. Otherwise you suck as a photographer.  How's that?


Ken Richmond

A pretty good joke.   Roll Eyes
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Ken Richmond
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« Reply #219 on: June 08, 2013, 09:36:43 PM »
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and I've got 7 Philadelphia art galleries that agree with me.  Take your photoshopped work and stuff it.




Ken Richmond

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