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Author Topic: Ignacio Palacio - Image Manipulation  (Read 75597 times)

bassman51

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Re: Ignacio Palacio - Image Manipulation
« Reply #20 on: June 24, 2015, 09:44:29 pm »

If you think photographs are pictures of reality, your problems is with reality, not with photographs.

 ;)

- N.

++1

If one confuses reality with a picture of reality, one also has a problem. 

The only question I have is whether an image is a representation of reality which conveys "truth" about the reality. Manipulation before the shutter is tripped (selecting a point of view, angle of view, cropping, exposure) and after always occurs.  But does the manipulation expose reality or hide it?
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johnvr

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Re: Ignacio Palacio - Image Manipulation
« Reply #21 on: June 24, 2015, 11:17:56 pm »

If you think photographs are pictures of reality, your problems is with reality, not with photographs.

 ;)

- N.

Now, that sounds deep but actually means nothing.
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John Camp

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Re: Ignacio Palacio - Image Manipulation
« Reply #22 on: June 24, 2015, 11:24:12 pm »

Photography is often the best representation we have of an exterior reality. If you don't think so, look at a Google map, then click down at the corner to get the satellite photograph. You will toggle 1-for-1 between an entirely synthetic, manmade view and a photograph, and the photograph is a much better representation of what you will see on the ground. (Although the synthetic maps are often more useful for some purposes.) In my opinion, this is the fundamental philosophical position of the photograph: that it is our best representation of reality. There are any number of ways to demonstrate that: take a picture of a friend, show it to a mutual friend, and see if the first friend is recognized. That's so simple, so fundamental, that it makes arguments that photographs are essentially an abstraction seem, well, stupid.

But of course other things can be done with photographs, and always have been. I don't think that most people have a problem with that, as long as the photograph isn't intended to deceive in a harmful way. Photographs can be used to lie, just as words can. (I've recently seen joke photos of the leaning tower of Pisa being held up by the hands of a man posed in the foreground, and, in another funny case, projecting upwards from the open fly of a young man lying on the ground. Neither of those was intended to deceive: they were simply jokes.) My biggest problem with most manipulated landscape photos is that I sense that they are somehow intended to deceive, often to produce a sale. If somebody offers a highly colored landscape for sale, with the notation that it has been photoshopped, I have no problem with that; but I also think that the sales would be harder to make. If a beautiful but photoshopped landscape is sold with the implicit suggestion that this is a representation of reality witnessed by the photographer, I would have a problem with that: it's simply a lie. There are also cases (Moonrise, by Ansel Adams, for one) in which there has been some serious manipulation, but the key here is, everyone knows it. Nobody is deceived.

I reject the argument, "I'm an artist, so I get to lie." In fact, I think it should be the other way about: "I'm an artist, so I don't get to lie."
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Ray

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Re: Ignacio Palacio - Image Manipulation
« Reply #23 on: June 24, 2015, 11:33:59 pm »

Isn't this issue of photo manipulation just another aspect of the very broad issue, 'What is truth?'

We tend to categorise works into 'Fiction' and 'Non-fiction', often perhaps not realising that it's rarely an 'either/or' situation. Works of non-fiction tend to be simply less fictitious and more factual than works of fiction, but they still contain fictitious elements, just as many works of fiction contain some factual elements.

It's often said that history tends to be written by the victors. We're all biased to some degree. Even scientists who strive to be as objective as possible, can fall into the trap of 'selection bias', an example of which is the current controversy over Anthropogenic Global Warming. You wouldn't expect a climatologist delivering a lecture on the dangers of rising CO2 levels to ever mention any of the benefits of rising CO2 levels. To do so would be counter-productive to the message he's trying to get across, and he might get the sack from the Climate Research establishment he works for.

When photographers, or people in general with a camera, take a photo, they are expressing a personal bias through choice of subject, degree of cropping, choice of perspective, choice of  DoF, shutter speed and so on.
When photographers later process such images for display or printing they will continue to 'improve'  the appearance of the image, in accordance with their personal biases and preferences, using whatever tools are available.
It's quite natural and normal for a photographer to strive to produce the most pleasing result for himself, and/or others, if he has the time and the inclination.

The issue of the deliberate addition or subtraction of major elements in the image as shot, should be viewed in terms of the potential harmful consequences of such manipulation.

Clearly such manipulation of forensic shots could be very dangerous and lead to miscarriages of justice.
Likewise, the manipulation of journalistic shots, in terms of adding or subtracting major elements to the original scene, could have disastrous effects that might provoke riots and result in deaths.

On the other hand, if a journalist were to remove some distracting and irrelevant elements in his image, prior to publication, such as a tree branch jutting into the image  from one edge, or some overhead power lines that spoiled the composition, that would be unlikely to have any serious consequences.

However, this raises the issue of whether or not a photo-journalist should be allowed the discretion of determining what is an inconsequential manipulation. Perhaps it's safer and wiser to have the general rule in photojournalism, 'No manipulation at all, in terms of adding or subtracting major elements within the field-of-view captured.'

As regards the example of replacing the sky in a landscape with a more interesting sky depicting a streak of lightning, I see no problem with this. Is there any place on earth where cloudy skies and lighting strikes never occur?
The fact that the sky and lightning in a particular photograph was shot on a different day at a different location is of little consequence as long as no confusion results. However, if a photographer were to visit the centre of the Sahara desert, take shot at a recognisable location, then replace a plain and rather boring sky with a dramatic, cloudy sky depicting a flash of lightning, certain meteorologists might get confused if it is the case that thunderstorms never occur in the centre of the Sahara Desert. I think that might then raise some ethical issues.  ;)
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Paulo Bizarro

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Re: Ignacio Palacio - Image Manipulation
« Reply #24 on: June 25, 2015, 03:46:57 am »

If you think photographs are pictures of reality, your problems is with reality, not with photographs.

 ;)

- N.

Yes, this is fine. But, let me ask you something: do you think it is ethical to combine photographs into one image, and submit said image as what was in front of the camera at a certain moment, to a contest, and win prizes? Just because this was done 100 years ago, and just because it is done a lot easier these days, it does not mean it is correct.

I am not talking about focus stacking, say, I am talking about things like the example already stated about the light on top of Mount Fitz Roy, and so on. Creating art is one thing, trying to shove it as something which it is not, that is another thing.

pegelli

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Re: Ignacio Palacio - Image Manipulation
« Reply #25 on: June 25, 2015, 04:12:57 am »

Yes, this is fine. But, let me ask you something: do you think it is ethical to combine photographs into one image, and submit said image as what was in front of the camera at a certain moment, to a contest, and win prizes? Just because this was done 100 years ago, and just because it is done a lot easier these days, it does not mean it is correct.
I think it's unethical to do that for a competition where this is against the rules. However if it is allowed by the rules I don't think there is anything unethical about it.
It is also unethical to sell this "stacked" print without disclosing the technique to the buyers, but if you are open about it and the buyers know and accept it I think it's fine.

Reading the article I summarize it as: you can manipulate however you like and the photographer/artist has to decide how far he wants to go with that. As long as you're open and honest about what you do there is no problem with it. The problems arise when you start saying it all happened in front of your lens at one moment (or short period) in time while in actual fact it's a combination of several different shots taken at different times and/or different places. Then it becomes unethical (or simply said, you're lying)
« Last Edit: June 25, 2015, 04:14:51 am by pegelli »
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pieter, aka pegelli

darmour

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Re: Ignacio Palacio - Image Manipulation
« Reply #26 on: June 25, 2015, 04:49:02 am »

The question is not whether or not manipulation is "allowed" because that has to be about personal choice, but how are these images delivered to a wider audience. If I describe myself as a "Travel and Nature Photographer" I would suggest that there is a risk of borrowing the photojournalist's cloak of authenticity for the images I am showing, whereas if I claim to be a fine art photographer then maybe my freedom of expression is more acceptable. Ignacio has been very honest in showing how some of his images have been constructed, but for me they are diminished in value because of the process they have been through. Adding skies, deleting elements, stretching mountains - these are all manipulations that change the very nature of what is being portrayed and are fundamentally different from dodging and burning to take care of mistakes God made in establishing tonal relationships, to paraphrase AA. 

Personally, I no more want to own a "cut and shut" picture than I do a "cut and shut" car. I want images to be about a moment in time, to generate an emotional response and be as much about the journey as the photograph itself. But clearly there is a market for this kind of thing.
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HansKoot

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Re: Ignacio Palacio - Image Manipulation
« Reply #27 on: June 25, 2015, 06:38:36 am »

Interesting discussion. It made me think because initially I kind of felt rejection. But being honest to myself...  also admiration. That made me wonder.

On the negative side I put it as "a Playboy style Landscape" , something pimped to glossy that probably doesn't exist in real.
Also a thought how much depended we are of the right circumstances appeared to me. In other words, once you spent thousands of dollars or euros to get to a beautiful location, will you be able to make the shots? When circumstances in fact suck and the shots at best mediocre? How many people have the opportunity to return often? Circumstances can't be manipulated. In such situation its VERY tempting to create the image at the computer afterwards. The beauty of the place is there, you simply create the light.
During my travels I found that my best shots often came in a bunch together, simply just because the circumstances were right.

On the positive side I see images that are absolutely pleasing for the eye and are very skilfully created. When people get more aware of the beauty on nature by this, who am I to reject that. If the artist is clear about his work it's OK with me.

In my personal work I find myself working less and less in a photo, but to be sincere, sometimes I do take away that ugly ...

My greetings to all because its my first post here and hopefully not my last. I am a regular visitor of Lula for at least 8-9 years, and I am mostly shooting people and landscapes.
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Otto Phocus

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Re: Ignacio Palacio - Image Manipulation
« Reply #28 on: June 25, 2015, 07:24:43 am »

I reject the argument, "I'm an artist, so I get to lie." In fact, I think it should be the other way about: "I'm an artist, so I don't get to lie."

If I were to change one word in this from "lie" (which has a negative connotation) to "create" (which has a positive connotation), would you agree with the new statement?

Do fiction writers lie?   
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mbaginy

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Re: Ignacio Palacio - Image Manipulation
« Reply #29 on: June 25, 2015, 07:58:56 am »

I wouldn’t care one bit about photographic manipulation or composites.

Appealing images?  Fine!  Just as long as nobody composites penguins and polar bears into one image and tries to sell it as original nature.
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Otto Phocus

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Re: Ignacio Palacio - Image Manipulation
« Reply #30 on: June 25, 2015, 08:07:02 am »



My greetings to all because its my first post here and hopefully not my last. I am a regular visitor of Lula for at least 8-9 years, and I am mostly shooting people and landscapes.

Welcome to the forum!!!
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Paulo Bizarro

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Re: Ignacio Palacio - Image Manipulation
« Reply #31 on: June 25, 2015, 09:02:36 am »

When I pick up my brushes as a painter I don't feel compelled to tell any truth other than my own. Why should it be any different when I pick up a camera?

Thankfully, photography has grown up.

All very fine. As a landscape photographer, I adjust contrast, saturation, sharpness, white balance, the usual stuff. B&W is also not reality. But I draw the line at adding/removing/stretching elements.

As an artist, of course one has the freedom to create whatever images one wants, using the tools. But, one does not have the right to state that such an image depicts reality, and try to sell it as such. Most times, when one looks at an image and it looks fake, is because it is fake.

amolitor

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Re: Ignacio Palacio - Image Manipulation
« Reply #32 on: June 25, 2015, 11:21:54 am »

Frankly that's stating the blindingly obvious.

Is anyone anywhere arguing for dishonest misrepresentation?

No.

The whole thing is pretty much a non-discussion. Nobody seriously thinks there's anything to be discussed at this point.

Every now and then a news organization gets Very Stern with a stringer for photoshopping. This is mainly to sustain the illusion that the media is honest.
Every now and then someone gets tossed from a competition for violating a no-photoshopping rule. This is no more interesting than someone who submits a print that is too large, or whatever.

And then we have people on internet forums, who are always willing to go another round of 'well, I feeeeeel that it's OK to' blah blah blah in circles for a while.
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Otto Phocus

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Re: Ignacio Palacio - Image Manipulation
« Reply #33 on: June 25, 2015, 11:38:40 am »



As an artist, of course one has the freedom to create whatever images one wants, using the tools. But, one does not have the right to state that such an image depicts reality, and try to sell it as such.

How common is it for a photographer to actually state that their product depicts reality?  I have not seen that in any photographic art store, but that's just my experience.
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amolitor

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Re: Ignacio Palacio - Image Manipulation
« Reply #34 on: June 25, 2015, 11:50:51 am »

There IS a default assumption that if the photograph looks more or less realistic, that is it real.

This assumption is fading, the younger generation, raised on the Internet, probably don't have it very much. Older people like us still suffer from it.

Ten years ago, if you made a realistic looking composite, the onus was on the artist to state that it was a composite, because of that default assumption. This is essentially the same thing as, just to fabricate an example, stating up front that sculpture that appeared to be marble but which was in fact cast, was cast and not carved. You can spin out examples yourself all day long. When the appearance of a thing, in a social context, gives an impression that is at odds with reality, honesty requires a statement about the truth. See "lie of omission".

Right now we're in a grey zone, culturally. Many people assume that all photographs are 'shopped, many do not.
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Isaac

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Re: Ignacio Palacio - Image Manipulation
« Reply #35 on: June 25, 2015, 12:29:40 pm »

The beauty of the place is there, you simply create the light.

As-if the light is a minor detail in the beauty of a photograph :-)
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Isaac

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Re: Ignacio Palacio - Image Manipulation
« Reply #36 on: June 25, 2015, 12:33:07 pm »

Thankfully, photography has grown up.

Not grown up, grown cynical.
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Isaac

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Re: Ignacio Palacio - Image Manipulation
« Reply #37 on: June 25, 2015, 01:06:09 pm »

I share what I care to share.
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OneSparrow

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Re: Ignacio Palacio - Image Manipulation
« Reply #38 on: June 25, 2015, 01:28:03 pm »

Some viewers value a quality image taken in-camera more than a quality image created in the computer.  The problem therefore can exist where the artist presents an image as being largely created in camera, where in reality it was created mostly through post-processing.  In write-ups accompanying such images, the artist quite often talks about how they "got the image" - talking about the cold weather, camera settings, etc., but gives nil info regarding computer work.  Many photographers may be doing this innocently, but some do it on purpose - because they know that the public often values in-camera work more than computer work.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2015, 03:56:21 pm by OneSparrow »
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VidJa

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Re: Ignacio Palacio - Image Manipulation
« Reply #39 on: June 25, 2015, 05:23:05 pm »

Photography for me is a way to have fun. Fun to hike to nice places, fun to take a shot at exact that moment of light and fun to discuss with friends. On a rainy day I like to have fun with my pictures...in photoshop or whatever is available. Its like being a DJ, mixing records into a new composition.

In my opinion manipulation of an image is an essential part of what I want to present to the public and I would never claim that my photographs represent the 'truth'. They are my 'vision' and nothing more, remember it's not an exact science where manipulation of data is a great sin (but happens anyway under the current publication pressures set by funding agencies and university management)

Therefore I think its a great article, even with the wikipedia quotes.

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