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Author Topic: Creating Meaningful Photographs  (Read 56511 times)

Isaac

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Re: Creating Meaningful Photographs
« Reply #60 on: June 01, 2012, 12:37:40 pm »

I pretty much agree with Tony. Because a photograph is a photograph, there is an implicit (and almost explicit) suggestion that the scene was more or less as represented, ...

There's an obvious counter-point -- Because art is art, there is an implicit (and almost explicit) suggestion that the scene should not be read literally.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2012, 01:23:41 pm by Isaac »
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dturina

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Re: Creating Meaningful Photographs
« Reply #61 on: June 01, 2012, 12:56:47 pm »

I refuse to accept that my photos should reflect a reality that could be independently verified by someone else just because something physical happened to be in front of my lens. If anything, my photos reflect the reality of my mind, and the photos serve the purpose of objectifying a part of my mind so that non-telepathic people could see it. :) Looking in front of my lens will reveal only banality of the common.
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Danijel

Isaac

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Re: Creating Meaningful Photographs
« Reply #62 on: June 01, 2012, 01:10:21 pm »

To put it simply, there needs to be another word for images that have been modified in this manner to distinguish them from photographs because quite clearly they are not photographs.

Why need there be?

The only reason you seem to give is that it would fit your personal rules for what should be permitted to be called a photograph. (That's fine as opinion, but not even slightly persuasive as argument.)
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Isaac

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Re: Creating Meaningful Photographs
« Reply #63 on: June 01, 2012, 01:27:12 pm »

Perhaps because of this, in my own landscape work I am very reluctant to change anything much, apart from the usual luminance editing. In fact I have been criticised here on LL for refusing to clone out overhead wires. If a photograph really doesn’t work for me because of some unwanted element, I will just dump it and move on to something else.

But far be it for me to impose my own “rules” on anybody else. Photographers have been altering reality since the dawn of the art, as has already been pointed out, so it has a long pedigree.


I share your reluctance - but as I don't share your background in photography as record, I suspect it's just lack of imagination on my part.

Too much of this discussion seems to be my post processing is okay but what they've done isn't even photography special pleading ;-)
« Last Edit: June 01, 2012, 01:33:38 pm by Isaac »
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Schewe

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Re: Creating Meaningful Photographs
« Reply #64 on: June 01, 2012, 01:34:08 pm »

Lack of knowledge is no one’s fault. And to answer its purpose one needs to answer and elucidate what is Real.
Every single world in the quoted sentence above is distinctly outside of reality and entirely subjective. - "Anybody, who, thinks, ANYTHING, seen, is, "real", is, naive,...or - stupid." A slightly ridiculous situation considering its content.
I suggest we stay away from describing the reality and consequently the stupidity using our ‘right-left side’ vocabulary and understanding.

Huh? I'm really not sure what you mean...

What is "Real"?

Human vision is based on visual perception (which happens in the brain) and what you see doesn't, in reality, exist. You perceive a scene but what you are seeing is entirely subjective...what I see vs. what somebody else sees looking at the same scene can not, really be quantified.
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HSway

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Re: Creating Meaningful Photographs
« Reply #65 on: June 01, 2012, 02:28:15 pm »

Huh? I'm really not sure what you mean...

What is "Real"?


It seemed quite clearly you don’t know what is and what is not real (these two sides are related). I suggest you re-read the last sentence you just quoted from me ("I suggest we stay away from describing the reality and consequently the stupidity using our ‘right-left side’ vocabulary and understanding.") Because I don’t think the purpose of this thread really is discussing the reality on this (absolute) level. And the stupidity likewise. We could just look funny.

Human vision is based on visual perception (which happens in the brain) and what you see doesn't, in reality, exist. You perceive a scene but what you are seeing is entirely subjective...what I see vs. what somebody else sees looking at the same scene can not, really be quantified.


As for the human vision, I mean the conception aspect of this term and have linked it with philosophy in my post directly. 

As for the meaning you have in mind, the differences are not that great I will say again. As I wrote in my post:

“As to what we see and perceive. The humans have this perception remarkably similar. More than one would expect. Across the cultures, education differences, class differences, sex, centuries and millennia.”

– obviously meaning also that the individual and subjective differences of that perception are not that great that they would change the colour and overall look of the scene including landing utterly new objects in it  for example etc etc as we know it from more creative processing.


Hynek
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John Camp

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Re: Creating Meaningful Photographs
« Reply #66 on: June 01, 2012, 05:03:11 pm »

Huh? I'm really not sure what you mean...

What is "Real"?

Human vision is based on visual perception (which happens in the brain) and what you see doesn't, in reality, exist. You perceive a scene but what you are seeing is entirely subjective...what I see vs. what somebody else sees looking at the same scene can not, really be quantified.

Jeff, that's just nonsense. You may have dipped a little too deeply into your stash, or you're reading French philosophers. I would suggest that if somebody pointed a pistol at your head, both he and you perceive it as a pistol and both know what would happen if he pulled the trigger. That whole idealism "we don't perceive what we perceive" thing was played out a couple hundred years ago, and dismissed when everybody agreed it was a dead end.

There's an obvious counter-point -- Because art is art, there is an implicit (and almost explicit) suggestion that the scene should not be read literally.

Oh, horseshit.

Tony Jay: most of this argument has been played out by media people who feel somewhat obliged to explain what their readers are looking at. What Alain does would be called a "photo illustration." What Ansel Adams did would be called a "photograph." There are all kinds of other terms around -- I was sorely tempted to buy a piece of art called a "digital collage" by its creator, a kind of Chinese-influenced digitally collaged photo landscape (not a photograph.) I am still sorry that I didn't buy, because it was a nice piece of art. But it wasn't a photograph.

 
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dreed

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Re: Creating Meaningful Photographs
« Reply #67 on: June 01, 2012, 05:48:40 pm »

Quote from: dreed
To put it simply, there needs to be another word for images that have been modified in this manner to distinguish them from photographs because quite clearly they are not photographs.

Images that have been modified in what manner?  Where will the line be drawn and who is going to draw it? 

ALL photographs are manipulated.  That manipulation begins when the photographer puts an eye to the viewfinder.

In the very least the manner to which I refer to includes the addition or removal of something natural (rock, tree, mountain, river, moon, sun) when the photographer took it.
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dreed

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What is a photograph? Or a digital photograph?
« Reply #68 on: June 01, 2012, 05:56:05 pm »

Why need there be?

The only reason you seem to give is that it would fit your personal rules for what should be permitted to be called a photograph. (That's fine as opinion, but not even slightly persuasive as argument.)

Because by definition once you remove material from the image it is no longer a photograph.

To use the definition from reference.com:
photograph  (ˈfəʊtəˌɡrɑːf, -ˌɡræf)
 — n
1.   Often shortened to: photo  an image of an object, person, scene, etc, in the form of a print or slide recorded by a camera on photosensitive material


Now one might well argue that this definition doesn't include digital photography at all, but just as easily, I think you could argue that the sensor is "photosensitive material" and thus qualifies.

I suppose the corollary to this is that once anyone starts adjusting a digital image that was at first a photograph, it at that point ceases to be a photograph and is thereafter only a digital image.

But quite clearly if the image is not a representation of what was captured by the photosensitive material (ie. sensor) then it is not a photograph.
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David Sutton

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Re: Creating Meaningful Photographs
« Reply #69 on: June 01, 2012, 06:09:07 pm »

Jeff, that's just nonsense.
Rubbish John! As you know, there are many ways of seeing and I'm certain when you go out photographing or writing you see things that others do not. There are folks you only see the surface of life and others who see more deeply, and I'm not talking about the “mind's eye” here.
A physical example is white balance. Hold a sheet of paper up under artificial light and ask someone what colour it is and most folks will say “white”. Someone with a trained eye will say green or orange depending on the light source. You can teach yourself to accurately see white balance.
When I am performing music I am paying attention not just to the notes and phrases, but to the spaces between them. I have found that most people aren't aware of the spaces between physical objects. Meaning they see the things but not the relationships in space. There are lots of examples to show  people see in many different ways. And it is possible to discuss vision as a function of the brain and our emotional state without getting sidetracked by the word “real”. I leave that to the French.
My 2c worth before this thread degenerates into Isaac talking to himself.
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dreed

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Re: Creating Meaningful Photographs
« Reply #70 on: June 01, 2012, 06:13:22 pm »

Quote from: schewe
Huh? I'm really not sure what you mean...

What is "Real"?

Human vision is based on visual perception (which happens in the brain) and what you see doesn't, in reality, exist. You perceive a scene but what you are seeing is entirely subjective...what I see vs. what somebody else sees looking at the same scene can not, really be quantified.
Jeff, that's just nonsense. You may have dipped a little too deeply into your stash, or you're reading French philosophers. I would suggest that if somebody pointed a pistol at your head, both he and you perceive it as a pistol and both know what would happen if he pulled the trigger. That whole idealism "we don't perceive what we perceive" thing was played out a couple hundred years ago, and dismissed when everybody agreed it was a dead end.

I'm with Jeff on this.

To pick an easy example, how do you know that you and I both see the same red card as having the same intensity and saturation of colour? In short, you don't. And nor is it possible to extract from your or my brain what we see that red card as.

Now obviously all of us perceive things approximately the same or else the world would be a rather strange place.
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Schewe

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Re: Creating Meaningful Photographs
« Reply #71 on: June 01, 2012, 06:55:11 pm »

To pick an easy example, how do you know that you and I both see the same red card as having the same intensity and saturation of colour? In short, you don't. And nor is it possible to extract from your or my brain what we see that red card as.

Now obviously all of us perceive things approximately the same or else the world would be a rather strange place.

That was the point I was trying to explain to Hynek...in terms of photographing a scene, what the camera captures is not what we see. You can't capture what humans see because what we are seeing is a mental perception of the scene. Our eyes have adaptive color and brightness capabilities and the sensation of color is strictly a perception of color not color in the physical sense.

Yes, if somebody pointed a gun to my head, I would perceive the threat...but I'm not into guns so my perception would be vastly different than a cop or soldier who knows guns and might be able to determine whether the safety was on or off or whether it was loaded on not. I couldn't tell so I would have to assume it was loaded and the safety was off. Perception is not reality...
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Tony Jay

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Re: Creating Meaningful Photographs
« Reply #72 on: June 01, 2012, 07:08:56 pm »

Isaac - believe it or not you are substantiating my point.

You are asking which group of individuals are expecting a specific approach.
You listed several groups in the greater community of viewers and buyers of photographic work. Perhaps there are even more shades of grey than you listed.
My explicit point is that society is not uniform in their thinking yet in a reasonable way photographers need to cater for that diversity.
I accept that some individuals expect that photographic images may be modified so as to become unrecognizable, do not think this is an issue, and would buy photographic work on this assumption.
However, I am afraid that if you think that, with respect to landscape photography specifically, that society in general is expecting photographic images of landscapes to be so edited that they would be unrecognizable to another individual who had witnessed that image being shot then you are living in a different world to me.
I think that it is inescapable that many (perhaps most) in society expect a landscape image to represent a real scene at a real defined point in time.
The power, charm, and allure of landscape images is based on this fact.

Any reasonable individual reading the several posts that I have authored on this thread will have a fair idea of my own personal approach to postprocessing landscape images. They will also acknowledge that I am in no way trying to enforce any sort of conformity to postprocessing per se.
I do feel however, that an upfront statement about ones artistic philosophy in respect to postprocessing is important to maintain integrity.

Buyers in particular, knowing ones artistic philosophy in advance, would then be free to draw their own conclusions as to the perceived value of ones landscape photographic work. Alain specifically states his approach in a statement of artistic intent. No buyers of his work can claim that they were misled.

However, if I understand correctly what some are saying on this thread it appears that society in general, and buyers of landscape photographic work in particular, by default expect and understand the finished product might be so modified as to be potentially unrecognizable from the original image at capture, and further do not feel that they would need to be informed that this was the case, then really the world these individuals are living in is very different to mine.
Almost nobody I know ascribes any particular value to a beautiful but imaginary landscape that is a fabrication in Photoshop, yet are absolutely captivated by landscape images where there is reasonable assurance that what they are viewing would have been, at least somewhat, apparent to them had they themselves been present at the time of the capture of that image.

Can I provide any figures as to proportions of society that hold a particular view with regard to the subject at hand? No.
Am I certain that there is a broad spectrum of views with regard to this issue? Yes.
The only way I know of to circumvent the issue is to be honest and open about ones approach to postprocessing. Integrity is a vital component to business in general, and to (landscape) photography business as well.

Regards

Tony Jay
« Last Edit: June 01, 2012, 07:44:56 pm by Tony Jay »
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Isaac

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Re: Creating Meaningful Photographs
« Reply #73 on: June 01, 2012, 08:56:35 pm »

My 2c worth before this thread degenerates into Isaac talking to himself.
Before that happens (and perhaps it won't - people are so unreliable), I'll take this opportunity to agree with what you've written ;-)
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Isaac

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Re: Creating Meaningful Photographs
« Reply #74 on: June 01, 2012, 09:01:34 pm »

Yes, but if you were both in the same place you wouldn't see totally different skies! You wouldn't see mountains mushed or stretched...
Or we might suspect one of us had left the doors of perception somewhat ajar, or there was something unusual about the lenses we were looking through, or ...
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LesPalenik

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Re: Creating Meaningful Photographs
« Reply #75 on: June 01, 2012, 09:11:02 pm »

Everything is relative.
If you are going to move Mt McKinley southwest of Las Vegas, just to provide a better backdrop for Cesar's Palace, I could understand that some buyers of your fine art might get perturbed. And some unsuspecting photographer from the East coast or Europe might pay big bucks for his ticket to Vegas, only to find out that all snow on the mountain is gone.

On the other hand, if Alain moves a small flower to the side to make more space for the rising moon, I don't think that any of his clients would complain. There is also a very small chance that any of his buyers would be foolish enough to go and try to find that very flower at the next full moon occurrence.  And frankly, it doesn't matter if he moves it with a shovel or in Photoshop.

By the way, did you know that some photographers carry with them a small water bottle just to put some mist on the flower petals prior to taking the shot? Very deceitful, if you ask me.
 
« Last Edit: June 01, 2012, 09:25:14 pm by LesPalenik »
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Isaac

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Re: What is a photograph? Or a digital photograph?
« Reply #76 on: June 01, 2012, 09:22:09 pm »

Because by definition once you remove material from the image it is no longer a photograph.
Sorry but the definition you provided does not say anything about whether a photo is still a photo once you remove material. On that question the authority of reference.com is silent.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2012, 09:29:14 pm by Isaac »
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David Sutton

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Re: Creating Meaningful Photographs
« Reply #77 on: June 01, 2012, 09:42:16 pm »

My 2c worth before this thread degenerates into Isaac talking to himself.
Drat! I'm too late. :)
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Colorado David

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Re: Creating Meaningful Photographs
« Reply #78 on: June 01, 2012, 10:37:53 pm »

I was riding the bus in Denali a couple of years ago with a very well-known photographer.  He and another guy were sitting in the seat in front of me and while it's not my practice to listen to other people's conversations, I could hear everything they said.  They both agreed that HDR was not real photography, but ironically they both thought that focus stacking was.  I use HDR to achieve in photography what my eye sees at the time, but according to them that is not real photography.  My eyes are subject to the same limitations of the physics of light that a camera is.  That's why many of us wear glasses while driving at night; when our eyes are irised all the way open, our depth of field in reduced.  That truth notwithstanding, focus stacking was an appropriate manipulation of the image.  So, must you disclose that you have enhanced the depth of field via focus stacking for it to be a real photograph?  But no matter what you disclose, using HDR to achieve the dynamic range that you perceive at the time you tripped the trigger, you have not produced a real photo?  The other guy saw something he wanted to shoot and so stopped the bus and got off.  The well-known photographer then moved back to the seat I was in and we had a good conversation about the Nikon 200-400 f4 lens which we both carried.  He was a nice guy.  We just differed on the definition of what was permissible and what is not.  I believe in full disclosure when you've done something that alters a scene beyond what was there, but it is still a meaningful photograph.  I still maintain that if the buyer of a photograph is moved by it and wants to buy it, the photographer has not engaged inn some breach of ethical behavior for having manipulated the image.  There is no adequate analogy and selling a lemon to an unknowing buyer has no bearing on photography.  I am convinced there is no way for those practitioners on either side of this argument to convince the other.  At some point it just becomes a game of hurling words at each other.

Peter McLennan

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Re: Creating Meaningful Photographs
« Reply #79 on: June 01, 2012, 11:45:13 pm »

OK, lemme get this straight.

It's not OK to move a mountain (or a pyramid)  but it is OK to move a flower.  So it's a size thing?  Who decides where the divide is?  How about a hill instead of a mountain?  A tree instead of a flower?

As for removing man made objects, a Pepsi can is OK, but a stick isn't?

Whatever Ansel did is fine, but if we make black skies with the Channel Mixer, it's wrong?

One day in a Burger King, I held up my Whopper in front of a photograph of one in an advertisement.  You can imagine.  Some of the other customers were not amused.  I regret not taking a photo of the two-shot.  Get over it.  Other than the forensic/scientific exception (and even they compose, frame, expose, focus)  it's ALL manipulated.  Every single image.  From Niepce on out.

"Photography"  Writing with light.   Heck, next we'll be accusing Steven King of making things up.
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