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Author Topic: The Man on Digital  (Read 19299 times)

Rob C

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tom b

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Re: The Man on Digital
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2015, 04:48:37 pm »

"James Francis "Frank" Hurley, OBE (15 October 1885 – 16 January 1962) was an Australian photographer and adventurer. He participated in a number of expeditions to Antarctica and served as an official photographer with Australian forces during both world wars.
His artistic style produced many memorable images. He also used staged scenes, composites and photographic manipulation".

Yep, Frank Hurley created Photoshop like composites during WW1, it has been possible to manipulate film images for at least 100 years.



One of Hurley's "composite" images.

Cheers,
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Tom Brown

Isaac

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Re: The Man on Digital
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2015, 05:50:53 pm »

… it has been possible to manipulate film images for at least 100 years.

1856-57 same sky used with 3 different seascapes:

Quote
"Although Le Gray never publicly acknowledged his method, he did leave some inadvertent clues in the pictures themselves: the same spectacular stormy sky looms above the horizon in at least three different seascapes, providing irrefutable evidence of Le Gray's canny manipulation."

p47 Faking it: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop

(Google Books sometimes shows the photos as well as a text snippet so try scrolling down page to see the 3 photos.)
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amolitor

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Re: The Man on Digital
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2015, 06:31:03 am »

You are missing the point.
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tom b

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Re: The Man on Digital
« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2015, 09:16:20 am »

"You are missing the point."

"Don McCullin doesn’t trust digital photography. Calling it “a totally lying experience”, McCullin, famous photographer of war and disaster, says that the transition to digital capture, editing and storage means viewers could no longer trust the truthfulness of images they see."

Yep, that seems to be the point, sure we can trust film images, just ask Frank Hurley (if you could).

Cheers,
« Last Edit: December 20, 2015, 09:29:54 am by tom b »
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Tom Brown

stamper

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Re: The Man on Digital
« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2015, 09:29:09 am »

In my camera club days a visiting lecturer had a nice scene projected of a man in a canoe and some Nepalese mountains in the background. It looked perfectly natural but in fact was two slides jammed together, one for the canoe and the other the mountains. Has McCullin learned how to shoot with a digital camera and the processes involved?

Rob C

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Re: The Man on Digital
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2015, 09:39:32 am »

Yes, the point is being missed.

Don lived the life, paid the price many times over, and AFAIK has great integrity. You must buy his eponymous book; research several videos of his working lfe, see him saving lives whilst injured... the Observer and Sunday Times weren't into lies, though once Murdoch took over, the good guys left or were pushed.

The sins of the early birds doesn't mitigate the fibs of the newer ones. And tarnishing a hero in generalizations is pretty tawdry treatment. Shit; just look at his UK street if you need convincing of his balls and moral strength.

Re. his shooting of digital: yes, he can shoot it. So can I, but I only use it due to cost and logistical impossibility of staying with film here. Truth to tell, it spawns mediocrity in the amateur. Doing it well needs loadsa loot and/or big clients. And crap, whether film or digital, is still crap.

Rob C
« Last Edit: December 20, 2015, 09:46:30 am by Rob C »
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amolitor

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Re: The Man on Digital
« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2015, 10:54:46 am »

Just because a thing is a matter of degree doesn't mean it's unimportant. Please note key words like 'totally' in the man's remarks.
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TomFrerichs

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Re: The Man on Digital
« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2015, 10:57:09 am »

...yes, he can shoot it. So can I, but I only use it due to cost... Truth to tell, it spawns mediocrity in the amateur.
Rob,

I think you're wrong in assigning the cause of mediocrity to digital because there's always been, in your words, crap being shot.  We're just seeing more of it.

The reasons? The first is in your post; it's cheap to shoot. The second reason that we're seeing more is because it's so easy to distribute.

When film reigned supreme, each press of the shutter was expensive.  Even then, the only audience the photographer had, unless it was shot for publication, was the poor guy at the camera store and the photographer's immediate family and friends.

The "artistic" photographer these days can press the shutter, apply a few software filters, click a few more buttons and his great work is spread across the Internet to astonish and amuse us all.  The best work get's diluted by the sheer numbers of photographs being shared.

Tom
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Isaac

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Re: The Man on Digital
« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2015, 11:22:51 am »

When film reigned supreme, each press of the shutter was expensive.

Only if you paid for film and processing :-)

Quote
"In summer 1954, Cartier-Bresson was therefore the first western photographer to obtain a visa for the Soviet Union since the thaw in the Cold War 15 months after Stalin's death. ... He took 10,000 photographs in ten weeks."

p203-4 Henri Cartier-Bresson: A Biography.
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Rob C

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Re: The Man on Digital
« Reply #10 on: December 20, 2015, 03:06:39 pm »

Rob,

I think you're wrong in assigning the cause of mediocrity to digital because there's always been, in your words, crap being shot.  We're just seeing more of it.

The reasons? The first is in your post; it's cheap to shoot. The second reason that we're seeing more is because it's so easy to distribute.

When film reigned supreme, each press of the shutter was expensive.  Even then, the only audience the photographer had, unless it was shot for publication, was the poor guy at the camera store and the photographer's immediate family and friends.

The "artistic" photographer these days can press the shutter, apply a few software filters, click a few more buttons and his great work is spread across the Internet to astonish and amuse us all.  The best work get's diluted by the sheer numbers of photographs being shared.

Tom


Yes, that's so, but here we are talking about professional photographers - such as DM - and published work. Amateur stuff can be good as it can be bad, but that's another argument than this one. However, the fact that the amateur can shoot freely now does certainly raise the numbers doing rubbish. I think the good ones would always have produced work in whichever medium, and at existing costs of the day, film days included. If anything, the financial responsibility would help the individual get smart quicker! Did it for me!

Rob C

Alan Klein

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Re: The Man on Digital
« Reply #11 on: December 20, 2015, 11:34:56 pm »

I belong to a photo club mainly of retired folks who used film for much of their younger lives.  Today, with their digital cameras and post processing software, they think nothing of cloning in stuff, erasing other stuff, as if it's as natural as drinking orange juice for breakfast. 

But I can assure you that none of these guys ever modified a film shot in their younger lives.  They either shot and projected slides or had the local one-hour processor develop their film and provide 4" x 6" prints.


The point is that many, maybe most people don't believe the "honesty" of pictures today.  They're always asking if you Photoshopped it especially if it's a nice shot.   That wasn't true years ago.

fdisilvestro

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Re: The Man on Digital
« Reply #12 on: December 21, 2015, 01:05:39 am »

Quote from Leicaphilia
Quote
Don McCullin doesn’t trust digital photography. Calling it “a totally lying experience”

Quote from The Telegraph UK
Quote
Don McCullin: 'Digital photography can be a totally lying experience'

Similar, but not exactly the same meaning. Which one did Don McCullin say? Your guess is as good as mine, unless you were there.

Yes, it is very easy to alter a digital image, but implying that you cannot do it with film is naive.

Zorki5

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Re: The Man on Digital
« Reply #13 on: December 21, 2015, 01:07:10 am »

Here we go again...

OK, I won't belabor the point of image manipulation in film days; enough had been said here already. But take a minute and think about the other side of things.

Look at the article itself, for instance. First paragraph:

Quote
Calling it “a totally lying experience”, McCullin, famous photographer of war and disaster, says

Then, in third paragraph (which BTW can be totally missed by people who only have a brief look at it and then rush discussing in on a forum):

Quote
digital photography can be a totally lying kind of experience

See? To say the least, not exactly the same, aren't they? A bit less words, a bit more controversy (which sells).

The same applies to PJ: speaking of the information it conveys, the difference it makes, even simple framing (i.e. picking the subject, selective inclusion/exclusion, etc.) is so much more powerful than image manipulation in post, that there's IMHO no comparison. Let alone I'm yet to see a photojournalist who has only seen the picture from only one side of the thin red line and provided an "objective" report.

My favorite example is this: whenever BBC documents elections in Russia, on their English web site I almost invariably see images of soldiers (young conscripts) or elder women casting their votes. Interestingly, on their Russian site you wouldn't see this sh!t: there are images of young happy families and such. But for a Western reader the picture is "clear": only the military and elder people still support those who, unfortunately, usurped the power.

I have every bit of confidence that BBC adheres to the highest standards, and holds highest possible moral ground when it comes to [digital] image "manipulation", but does it help?? Nope, not even a wee bit.

So... I'm sure (based on comments made here by Rob et. al.) that Don McCullin is a great person and photojournalist of even greater integrity. But his blank statements like "the inherent truth of photography" make backlash not only inevitable, but IMHO deserved.
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chez

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Re: The Man on Digital
« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2016, 05:09:51 pm »

I belong to a photo club mainly of retired folks who used film for much of their younger lives.  Today, with their digital cameras and post processing software, they think nothing of cloning in stuff, erasing other stuff, as if it's as natural as drinking orange juice for breakfast. 

But I can assure you that none of these guys ever modified a film shot in their younger lives.  They either shot and projected slides or had the local one-hour processor develop their film and provide 4" x 6" prints.


The point is that many, maybe most people don't believe the "honesty" of pictures today.  They're always asking if you Photoshopped it especially if it's a nice shot.   That wasn't true years ago.

If it's art we are producing, why do we care about honesty and cloning etc... You either like the art or you don't...bottom line. I can see if we were are journalists trying to show reality in our photos, but I'm sure those people in the camera club just shoot to create a nice photo.

We use slow Shutter to depict motion or smooth out some flowing water. We all seem to be ok with this, but is that also not manipulation of the scene? After all when I look at the ocean, I don't see a dreamy smooth surface. We've been manipulating photos forever... Why are some techniques ok, but cloning out a distracting branch not ok. Would it be better to just go into the scene and cut out the branch with a saw?
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Alan Klein

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Re: The Man on Digital
« Reply #15 on: January 08, 2016, 05:26:23 pm »

There's nothing wrong with art.  However, unlike a painting, a camera is catching a real moment in time.  And no one today believes that the final image reflected the reality of what was photographed. 

The argument that dreamy oceans and smoothing water flow are "normal" manipulations are different than cloning.  The final image that's smoothed looks manipulated.  The viewer is not fooled that what he sees on the print is what actually exists in nature.  The photo looks like art.   That's different then replacing a drab gray sky with a nice blue sky with puffy white clouds.  In this case, the scene looks un-manipulated but in fact does not reflect what the photographer saw at all.  The sky could have come from a different continent.  It's these latter manipulations that makes people question the reality of so much of photography today. 

chez

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Re: The Man on Digital
« Reply #16 on: January 08, 2016, 05:50:11 pm »

There's nothing wrong with art.  However, unlike a painting, a camera is catching a real moment in time.  And no one today believes that the final image reflected the reality of what was photographed. 

The argument that dreamy oceans and smoothing water flow are "normal" manipulations are different than cloning.  The final image that's smoothed looks manipulated.  The viewer is not fooled that what he sees on the print is what actually exists in nature.  The photo looks like art.   That's different then replacing a drab gray sky with a nice blue sky with puffy white clouds.  In this case, the scene looks un-manipulated but in fact does not reflect what the photographer saw at all.  The sky could have come from a different continent.  It's these latter manipulations that makes people question the reality of so much of photography today.

But does it matter if what you are producing is wall art? Somehow we feel it's ok to exaggerate water movement, ok to exaggerate a sunset, even ok to merge two shots into one...but to clone out a distracting branch...taboo. Who decided on these boundaries of what is acceptable and what is not in art?

I sell my art and not one single time has my integrity been questioned... They just accept the final product for what it is, art!!!
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Alan Klein

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Re: The Man on Digital
« Reply #17 on: January 09, 2016, 09:09:43 am »

I've cloned out a branch myself on occasion.  But mostly I limit my edits to crops and adjusting the exposure and contrast values.    I was just trying to explain why many viewers question today whether a picture has been photoshopped when years ago everyone took a photo at face value - that it recorded what the photographer saw.  Today those same people are photoshopping a sky from one picture into another and never questioning what they're doing.  With a painting, everyone acknowledges that the picture is filtered through the artist's mind and does not reflect exactly what he saw.  Photography use to be different in that respect. 

I guess it comes down to being happy with what you're doing.    But if I feel queasy as I do when I have to stop and think about answering honestly if someone asks me if I cloned in or deleted things in the picture from what I saw, then I have to change how I handle edits.  I have to be true to myself. 

Telecaster

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Re: The Man on Digital
« Reply #18 on: January 09, 2016, 03:06:19 pm »

IMO it's in the nature of things for old(er) folks to complain about "how it is now" just as it is for young(er) folks to ignore 'em and go their own way. The past was never what we now tell ourselves it was. And the future is never the present extended…it's always a different thing.

-Dave-
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Zorki5

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Re: The Man on Digital
« Reply #19 on: January 09, 2016, 03:12:44 pm »

And the future is never the present extended…it's always a different thing.

"The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy skips lightly over this tangle of academic abstraction, pausing only to note that the term "Future Perfect" has been abandoned since it was discovered not to be."

 ;)
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