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Author Topic: The Ethics of Photo Manipulation  (Read 85035 times)

Isaac

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Re: The Ethics of Photo Manipulation
« Reply #160 on: June 07, 2013, 07:24:06 pm »

NGEO wants the raw with meta data.  Any manipulation disqualifies the submission [from publication].

Does NG publish the RAW no-manipulation photos or does NG post-process before publication?

Are reader contributed photos held to that standard?

Presumably advertisements are not held to that standard?
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Ken Richmond

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Re: The Ethics of Photo Manipulation
« Reply #161 on: June 07, 2013, 08:17:13 pm »

They have two sets of rules:  For reader/contest submissions, there are these: "minor dodging/burning": http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/photo-contest/rules/.  For editorial submissions, they must have Raw and meta data. Apart from white balance, or possible CMYK conversion, I don't know if there are any adjustments in house.

Ken Richmond
« Last Edit: June 07, 2013, 09:07:56 pm by Ken Richmond »
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Isaac

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Re: The Ethics of Photo Manipulation
« Reply #162 on: June 07, 2013, 08:20:42 pm »

Sorry for not adding this obvious question quickly enough -- Are NG articles examples of photo journalism?
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Ken Richmond

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Re: The Ethics of Photo Manipulation
« Reply #163 on: June 07, 2013, 08:35:23 pm »

I suggest one read their "comments on manipulation".  One may argue whether NGEO is a photographic standard setter, but there is no argument about their distaste for image manipulation.  The un-manipulated images they select and publish are evidence enough of skillful, artistic photography.  As journalism?  I don't think so, but it's arguable.

"...A message about digital manipulation from the Executive Editor of Photography at National Geographic magazine:

Please submit photographs that are un-manipulated and real, and that capture those special moments in time. The world is already full of visual artifice, and we donít want the National Geographic Photography Contest to add to it. We want to see the world through your eyes, not the tools of Photoshop or setup photography.

Please do not digitally enhance or alter your photographs (beyond the basics needed to achieve realistic color balance and sharpness). If you have digitally added or removed anything, please don't submit the shot. We look at every photo to see if it's authentic, and if we find that yours is in any way deceptive, we'll disqualify it. In case of the winners, we will ask for the RAW files, if available, to be submitted for review.

DODGING AND BURNING: Dodging (to brighten shadows) or burning (to darken highlights) is fine, but please donít overdo it. Your goal in using digital darkroom techniques should be to adjust the dynamic tonal range of an image so that it more closely resembles what you saw.

COLOR SATURATION: Just as with dodging and burning, your goal should be to make it real. Please avoid significant over- or under-saturation. A lot of photographers make the mistake of over-saturating color, making their images look cartoonish.

Ken Richmond
« Last Edit: June 07, 2013, 08:38:04 pm by Ken Richmond »
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kencameron

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Re: The Ethics of Photo Manipulation
« Reply #164 on: June 07, 2013, 08:42:02 pm »

This is looking increasingly like one of those arguments in which the vehemence of the disagreement is inversely related to the degree of clarity about the actual point of disagreement.  Symptoms include early recourse to dismissive generalisations about the other side ("your argument is incredibly weak", and so on) and to name-calling ("sophist" and so on). One side is pointing out something all photographs have in common - that reality has been in some sense "altered" by the process of taking the photograph. The other maintains that there are different kinds of alteration, ranging from that done by camera defaults to extensive photoshopping, that those differences are significant in various ways, and that the word "manipulation" should be confined to the second kind. I find both views persuasive and worth making in different contexts. I think Edward Steichen is making an important point, and also that the Wikipedia distinction is fair enough as far as it goes, and I don't think I am contradicting myself in thinking both those things. I started off in the discussion making the first point in order to counter what I consider to be an inappropriate intrusion of moralising into aesthetics, and a particular kind of naivety about the veracity of any photograph. But I have no problem with people who prefer to alter only in specific limited ways, or with the context-specific rules of photo clubs or competitions or photo-journalism.
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Ken Cameron

Ken Richmond

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Re: The Ethics of Photo Manipulation
« Reply #165 on: June 07, 2013, 09:03:06 pm »

OK, so no one wants to consider the question of why anyone would or would not publish raw date alongside the post processed photograph.  A bunch of us here have a few Ipads out watching this thread as the studio fills with sherry cask aroma from aged Irish  refreshments. 

The discussion gets far more interesting, if less ethical, when the subject is make-up and models.


Ken Richmond

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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: The Ethics of Photo Manipulation
« Reply #166 on: June 07, 2013, 09:13:51 pm »

There are cheaters and there are truthers. Period.

Cheaters believe everything is a lie and everybody cheats. Truthers believe there is a fundamental expectation of veracity in photography, and if you breach that expectation you should say so.

Just like between believers and non-believers, Leitz fans and Zeiss fans, medium format fans and FredBGG, gun nuts and gun-control nuts, etc. any dialog is futile.

Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: The Ethics of Photo Manipulation
« Reply #167 on: June 07, 2013, 09:15:08 pm »

OK, so no one wants to consider the question of why anyone would or would not publish raw date alongside the post processed photograph...

You mean in this thread or...?

Ken Richmond

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Re: The Ethics of Photo Manipulation
« Reply #168 on: June 07, 2013, 09:22:22 pm »

Yes, in this thread.   

Ken Richmond
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: The Ethics of Photo Manipulation
« Reply #169 on: June 07, 2013, 09:35:57 pm »

jrsforums

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Re: The Ethics of Photo Manipulation
« Reply #170 on: June 07, 2013, 09:42:32 pm »

There are cheaters and there are truthers. Period.

Cheaters believe everything is a lie and everybody cheats. Truthers believe there is a fundamental expectation of veracity in photography, and if you breach that expectation you should say so.

Just like between believers and non-believers, Leitz fans and Zeiss fans, medium format fans and FredBGG, gun nuts and gun-control nuts, etc. any dialog is futile.

I am so glad you like your black and white only world.
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John

Ken Richmond

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Re: The Ethics of Photo Manipulation
« Reply #171 on: June 07, 2013, 09:55:51 pm »

Slobodan,

That was obviously painless to post and certainly ethical.  More importantly I admire the idealized world in the processed work and would love to contemplate it at high rez or better yet, inhabit it.  Yet in this circle I'm in at the moment, we can cause some foot shuffling and grovel-shrugs at the same request.

It is my hope that you knew what your were going to do in post when shooting the scene. 

Ken Richmond   
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barryfitzgerald

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Re: The Ethics of Photo Manipulation
« Reply #172 on: June 07, 2013, 09:58:57 pm »

First, I think that, yes, we all understand the technical definition.

Second, no educational institution will permit students to cite Wikipedia as a research source.

Third, fuck dictionary definitions and open your mind. 

I find the Wiki description (source from an online dictionary) quite satisfactory for most people and easy to understand.
Open my mind to what? I'm quite happy for people to explore their own roads on this and do as they wish. I think most of us know at a certain point heavy PP can become digital art and ceases to be photography, an uncomfortable place as traditional artists tend to dismiss them too.

The day I cave in and permit myself to add or remove elements from my photos, is the day I personally admit I'm not good enough behind the camera. I've never had a problem with post processing (again I think most agree it can be overdone at times, or poorly executed) If I start moving objects around or putting in new skies I'm basically taking the lazy route, not something I want to do. I get huge satisfaction making mistakes, and once in a while getting a shot I really like. That satisfaction would be next to 0 if I followed the mega manipulation anything goes route. Each to his own as they say.

There is a happy ground where most folks go, called normal PP and not going OTT.
And no I never liked Velvia because I feel it's too over saturated for my own tastes, but shooting with that isn't manipulation.
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Isaac

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Re: The Ethics of Photo Manipulation
« Reply #173 on: June 07, 2013, 10:46:24 pm »

National Geographic Photography Contest

As I said when I started this discussion - "Not being a photojournalist, the ethical problem reduces to - follow the rules in photographic contests or cheat."

The ongoing puzzle is why the rules of photojournalism or photo contests would apply more broadly?
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Isaac

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Re: The Ethics of Photo Manipulation
« Reply #174 on: June 07, 2013, 11:12:39 pm »

There are cheaters and there are truthers. Period.

And there's the fallacy known as false dichotomy.
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: The Ethics of Photo Manipulation
« Reply #175 on: June 07, 2013, 11:27:18 pm »


And there's the fallacy known as false dichotomy.

Oh, I am sorry, I forgot there is the third kind: semantic masturbators.

Isaac

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Re: The Ethics of Photo Manipulation
« Reply #176 on: June 07, 2013, 11:36:11 pm »

I remain hopeful that there can be more to this discussion, than name-calling.
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Ray

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Re: The Ethics of Photo Manipulation
« Reply #177 on: June 08, 2013, 01:01:35 am »

Does NG publish the RAW no-manipulation photos or does NG post-process before publication?

Good point, Isaac. An unprocessed RAW file is just a pile of numbers. To translate such numbers to a recognizable image requires a lot of sophisticated processing, the details of which most of us don't fully understand. At least I don't claim to understand the precise details. I haven't got the time nor desire to involve myself in all the technical minutiae of photographic processes. I'm more concerned with the broader issues.

What seems  clear to me in a general sense is, from the moment the light, as reflected from the subject one is photographing, reaches the front element of the camera lens, a whole lot of distortions, bending and corrections take place before the photons of light even reach the digital sensor or surface of the chemical film.

Once the photons have reached the sensor or film, a whole lot of other complex processes take place. In the case of film, the photons of light knock a few electrons off the molecules of silver halide compounds, reducing them to metallic silver. Such changes in the chemical structure of the film coating subsequently show up as a recognizable image when the film is developed.

In the case of a digital sensor, those same photons of light again knock off electrons, but this time from silicon, resulting in a specific electrical charge at each of the millions of pixels (or sensels, or photosites). Such electrical charges, through a complex process of conversions, amplification, noise reduction and subtraction, and much electronic manipulation, end up as a series of numerical values which are written to the camera's memory card as a so-called RAW image, and/or a compressed jpeg, which is really no image at all, just a bunch of numbers.

In order to see the images represented by such numbers, a whole lot of additional processing and conversions have to take place using sophisticated computer programs, both in-camera, as when viewing the shots on the camera's LCD screen, and during post-processing when viewing the the RAW files as converted by an external program.

If the result of all this automatic processing happens to match reasonably well what one remembers seeing, then I guess one can consider oneself lucky, or maybe one just isn't fussy and adopts the attitude that 'close enough is good enough'.  ;D
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Ken Richmond

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Re: The Ethics of Photo Manipulation
« Reply #178 on: June 08, 2013, 06:57:59 am »

When you lift the photograph to the wall it boils down to intent.  NGEO has it just about right, there shouldn't be any deception. Why are you putting it up there?  Of course, all of the objections to manipulation can be neutralized when the raw is available to compare.  To put it another way, the image on the wall is evidence of what?  Your art?  Your view of the world?  Is it evidence of a fortuitous opportunity, patience and dedication, skill with the camera or... skill with masks and an adjustment brush?
 
Constructive Alternativism, let's try it backwards.  Suppose I take a photograph, print it out on matte canvas, then tediously paint over it, matching all color with acrylic?  It is surely a painting, it could be art, but if any part of the intent of the painter is to have a viewer or purchaser believe the image was entirely of his mind, there is an ethical departure. He's painting by numbers - numbers that were put there by a mechanical/electronic process for which he is ethically forbidden to claim credit.

"Ah, Bushwa!" the Photoshopper says, "What about Cadcam and those unethical engineers and architects who use it to produce a product design and then execute it with Flashcut?"   Well, these guys immediately disclose that the design and execution was "computer assisted" as an indication of quality.  Could the photo manipulators do the same?  Why or why not?

The translation of reality through a coated lens with 11 elements in 6 groups to a CCD chip or CMOS with a Bayer interpolation represents a camera manufacturer's best effort at capturing reality exactly as it is.  It is "Bushwa!" to assert anything contrary.  Indeed, the market rejects less than near perfection in that respect. 

"But", the photoshopper says, "I want the viewer(s) to experience the the breathtaking result, who cares how it was produced?"  Well the photo manipulator has to credit the programming skills of unidentified people like Jeff and his buddies, without whom his image cannot have been produced, and that is the essential rub of the debate.  It does not matter that Jeff has given you permission to employ his programming skills, the Photoshopper has failed to credit him as he "ought" to do.

If someone usurps any part of your image to produce a secondary image and claim it as a product of their own mind, the howls will be heard all the way to GaBip.

I dont know why this isn't clear, but think of it in these terms.  List all of the things the image is "evidence of".

Ken Richmond
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RFPhotography

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Re: The Ethics of Photo Manipulation
« Reply #179 on: June 08, 2013, 07:01:27 am »

Oh, I am sorry, I forgot there is the third kind: semantic masturbators.

Not for nothing, Slobodan, but you were one of the people who took me to task for referring to a certain segment of the membership of this site as measurebators.  Clearly, you had no moral ground on which to stand.

Ray, I fail to see any way in which that essay adds to the discussion.

Isaac, it's evident that you are simply wilfully ignorant of different standards of photography.  Do what you want and be content with it.

Ken, extending your analogy, a film photographer should credit Fuji for the excessive saturation of Velvia, or Tiffen for the polarizer which led to the lack of reflections, or .... To borrow a word:  Bushwa!
« Last Edit: June 08, 2013, 07:06:41 am by BobFisher »
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