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Author Topic: AB:"Why Photoshop is not Ruining Landscape Photography"  (Read 45261 times)

Colorado David

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Re: AB:"Why Photoshop is not Ruining Landscape Photography"
« Reply #120 on: April 09, 2015, 05:01:47 pm »

I've been away most of the day with work and I've lost track of who's arguing which side.  I may confuse this thread with the other one about bullying.  Oh wait.  This is the Photoshop/Manipulation topic.  I'll just post a photograph then.  It is a single image, no pasted in sky.  Tell me if this is reality.

Jim Pascoe

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Re: AB:"Why Photoshop is not Ruining Landscape Photography"
« Reply #121 on: April 10, 2015, 05:44:48 am »

As I expect you know, we continually change focus with our eyes and do not normally experience OoF (excepting presbyopia and other failures) anymore than we normally experience the retinal blind spot.

Isaac I cannot agree with you here.  Yes, if one looks at a scene our eyes usually do rove around and so we perceive that everything is in focus.  If eyes are in good condition they can switch focus from very near objects to distant ones in an instant.
But I have always enjoyed shooting with a shallow DOF, even with landscapes sometimes, and I tried to work out why I had that preference when it came to my photography.  John's example is a perfectly good one.  When you look at your fingertip the eyes concentrate on that one subject.  An object just an inch to either side (even at the same distance) is just a blur.  With a camera lens everything on the same plane would be in focus - but the eye is more like using a Lensbaby in that it throws everything else out.

I like the ability to just look at one thing and not be distracted by anything else at all.  Of course I could let my eye rove around - but I enjoy using shallow depth of field to really draw the viewer in to precisely what I want them to look at.  A man standing in a field shot full-length with say an aperture of 1.4 would have a very out of focus background.  In the real world we might look around and record the detail in the rest of the scene - but I might want to make the viewer see exactly what they would if they just concentrated on that man.  In fact right now I can look down my 100ft garden and focus on one flower.  The flowers just either side are less distinct even at that range.

Now I guess some optician is going to tell me I have a major eye defect!!

Jim
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Tony Jay

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Re: AB:"Why Photoshop is not Ruining Landscape Photography"
« Reply #122 on: April 10, 2015, 06:09:11 am »

...Now I guess some optician is going to tell me I have a major eye defect!!
No, not at all.
Your observations (pardon the pun) about how one sees or does not see are not at all far off the mark.
At any instant in time most of our field of vision is not sharp.
Light striking the fovea generates the most detailed image but other parts of the retina generate less detail but are more sensitive to movement.
However as we take in a scene with our eyes roving around (often a subconscious process) we are able to construct a view of the scene where much (or all) of it is sharp and detailed to the point where a detailed recollection of that scene may be possible.
This apparent "post-processing" actually starts in the retina (which is really a modified extension of brain cortex), continues in parts of the midbrain and is completed in the visual cortex which is formed by most of the occipital cortex of the brain.

Tony Jay
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Isaac

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Re: AB:"Why Photoshop is not Ruining Landscape Photography"
« Reply #123 on: April 10, 2015, 01:44:58 pm »

Isaac I cannot agree with you here.  Yes, if one looks at a scene our eyes usually do rove around and so we perceive that everything is in focus.  If eyes are in good condition they can switch focus from very near objects to distant ones in an instant.

Jim, it seems that you do agree with me that we do not normally experience OoF.

John's example of staring fixedly at his finger tip might (like examples constructed to show the retinal blind spot) suggest something about the mechanics of how vision works; but people don't spend their day staring fixedly, John's example simply does not describe our normal experience.

John's example … With a camera lens everything on the same plane would be in focus - but the eye is more like using a Lensbaby in that it throws everything else out.

I think the experience is more interesting: when I stare fixedly at my finger tip, I don't experience the background as uniformly blurry - I experience the background as simplified, detail is lost but I don't experience what remains as blurry. That's in contrast to what I experience as I move my finger tip towards my face, when all too soon the finger blurs.


(Incidentally, because I don't have any special knowledge about human vision, I'm entertained by the nuggets I stumble over: "…our nervous system has evolved to optimally detect changes in our environment. As a consequence, unchanging aspects of the visual field fade from view. To counteract this, our retinae have to move with respect to the visual surrounding. This strongly suggests that eye movements are essential to sustain visual perception during fixation.")
« Last Edit: April 11, 2015, 10:59:50 am by Isaac »
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dftruett

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Re: AB:"Why Photoshop is not Ruining Landscape Photography"
« Reply #124 on: April 10, 2015, 07:27:31 pm »

David,

It was a joke.

Having said that, our (relatively) in-focus field of view approximates to a horizontal ellipse, when our eyes are stationary.

We see with our eyes only that which falls within our field of view. Does everything outside of it not exist as a part of reality?

Actually, there are physicists who contend that nothing is "real" until it is observed. Others take it less far, but the wave/particle duality experiments show that reality does extend to the observation. And then there's Heisenberg's limits on what can be observed. What we think of as reality isn't nearly as simple as our everyday use of the term.
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Isaac

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Re: AB:"Why Photoshop is not Ruining Landscape Photography"
« Reply #125 on: April 10, 2015, 07:38:27 pm »

What we think of as reality isn't nearly as simple as our everyday use of the term.

Our everyday use of the term likely means sensibly perceptible reality.
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MoreOrLess

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Re: AB:"Why Photoshop is not Ruining Landscape Photography"
« Reply #126 on: April 11, 2015, 01:48:46 am »

I have never suggested that various manipulation techniques couldn't be used to make a photo much more dramatic, foreboding, happy, etc. Of course they can; that's what this whole argument is about.

You did qualify it as your opinion but really what came before that seemed like more of a definitive statement which people are likely to react against, in this case highlighting that your opinion wasn't shared by this contest.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2015, 01:52:14 am by MoreOrLess »
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Isaac

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Re: AB:"Why Photoshop is not Ruining Landscape Photography"
« Reply #127 on: April 11, 2015, 02:33:13 pm »

But I would argue that photography's greatest strength in most fields, including landscape, lies in fidelity to a recorded scene.

I'll make a prosaic counter-claim: photography's greatest strength is Quick&EasyTM image-making. (Compare to tracing mirror or lens images.)
« Last Edit: April 11, 2015, 04:56:50 pm by Isaac »
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AreBee

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Re: AB:"Why Photoshop is not Ruining Landscape Photography"
« Reply #128 on: April 11, 2015, 04:39:13 pm »

Has photoshopping effected a reduction in the proportion of the general public that considers a landscape photo to represent reality? Has it effected an increase in the proportion?
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HSway

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Re: AB:"Why Photoshop is not Ruining Landscape Photography"
« Reply #129 on: April 13, 2015, 12:59:43 pm »

Has photoshopping effected a reduction in the proportion of the general public that considers a landscape photo to represent reality? Has it effected an increase in the proportion?
It’s like with everything these days. Reality of everything is more virtual (you decide whether more or less real).
Otherwise the weak point of you sentence is general public and photoshopping. I can only guess what you are imagining under the each term and how much they can be distant from what they are.
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Telecaster

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Re: AB:"Why Photoshop is not Ruining Landscape Photography"
« Reply #130 on: April 13, 2015, 03:25:54 pm »

Actually, there are physicists who contend that nothing is "real" until it is observed. Others take it less far, but the wave/particle duality experiments show that reality does extend to the observation. And then there's Heisenberg's limits on what can be observed. What we think of as reality isn't nearly as simple as our everyday use of the term.

Just to note: in physics observing means using some sort of probing or interacting technique, such as firing photons or electrons at the object you wish to observe and then using a detector to record how the object reacts (typically by emitting photons and/or electrons in turn). At very small scales the objects to be observed are naturally in a state of superposition, with non-definite values for properties such as spin, position & trajectory. By making the observation you interfere with the object's superposition state and thus cause its properties to take on definite values. This is known as decoherence. None of this requires a conscious observer…the entire process can be, and usually is, automated. Also, I don't know off-hand of any current quantum physicists who contend that objects in superposition aren't real. (There are, of course, physicists who reject the deeper implications of quantum mechanics while accepting its descriptive & predictive accuracy. Einstein was one such.) They're just real in a different sense to, say, the cup of coffee sitting in front of me right now.  :)

-Dave-
« Last Edit: April 13, 2015, 03:32:45 pm by Telecaster »
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BJL

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To start with, I will note the vast majority of large aperture shallow DOF images show far stronger OOF effects than we would see when viewing the same subject "live".  There are exceptions like the extreme example above of viewing or photographing our finger tips at "macro" range, but most shallow DOF shots are not like that (See more on that case below).  Indeed, the classic example used to denigrate "formats smaller than the one that the speaker prefers" is portraits, so I ask: how often do you look at a person and see the eyes in sharp focus both the ears blurred?  (Let alone seeing one eye in focus, the other not.)

But there is another simple physical factor rarely mentioned: our eyes have smaller apertures than most lenses.  The lenses in our eyes have a focal length of about 17mm to 22mm, and in decent light the iris opening is about 5mm or less, giving about f/4, going down to about 2mm and so f/10 in bright light. [The opening is up to about 8mm in dim light, so you will see that maximum figure quoted for the human eye, but that extreme does not occur in typical viewing conditions, like daylight or reasonably well-lit indoor locations.  Moreover, when our irises are that wide open, our vision is significantly degraded by lack of light and lens aberrations.]

If we consider the part of the image on the retina considered as our "normal" field of view excluding peripheral vision, so a region about as wide as the focal length, our eyes are effectively in a format with roughly 20mm frame width, so about 4/3" to APS-C format. Thus we have DOF comparable to a 20mm "normal lens" in such a format.  Converting to the old currency of equivalent DOF in 36x24mm, we get something in the range from 30mm and f/6 to 40mm and f/8.  If instead you use the extreme 8mm figure, our eyes' lenses are roughly 20mm f/2.5, and the DOF corresponds to something like a 30mm f/4 or 40mm f/5 in good old 35mm format.

Conclusion: the lenses in our eyes give OOF no stronger than typical kit zoom lenses in formats 4/3" and up ... and that is before eye movement and the sophisticated "image manipulation" done by our brains create a perception with diminished OOF effects.  This still applies in extreme cases like viewing or photographing our finger tips at macro range: most kit zooms will still give as much or more OOF effect there as we see "live".
« Last Edit: April 13, 2015, 06:46:26 pm by BJL »
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AreBee

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Re: AB:"Why Photoshop is not Ruining Landscape Photography"
« Reply #132 on: April 13, 2015, 05:30:46 pm »

HSway,

Quote
...the weak point of you sentence is general public and photoshopping. I can only guess what you are imagining under the each term and how much they can be distant from what they are.

I knew at the time I wrote my post that my question could not be answered definitively but was curious as to the thoughts of others.

Ever since this thread (refer to my posts and the response they subsequently attracted) I have wondered if the proportion of the general public (referred to - poorly - by me in the thread as "non-photographers") that considers a landscape photo to represent reality has increased, decreased or remained constant over time. As a result of the responses I received I assumed the answer to be: decreased.

Others in this thread have touched on the issue, and it occured to me that the terms photoshopping and photoshopped normally are used pejoratively by the general public (as well as some photographers).

I wondered if it was indicative of an undercurrent of cynicism in a general public that did, in fact, consider photography to represent reality, but which had lost confidence that reality was portrayed in post-digital landscape photography. If true, I wondered if Photoshop (other software is available) could be indirectly considered responsible for "ruining landscape photography".
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Isaac

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Re: AB:"Why Photoshop is not Ruining Landscape Photography"
« Reply #133 on: April 13, 2015, 06:24:37 pm »

Has photoshopping effected a reduction in the proportion of the general public that considers a landscape photo to represent reality?

I knew at the time I wrote my post that my question could not be answered definitively but was curious as to the thoughts of others.

For sake of argument, let's assume the answer is: Yes!

Would it be A Bad ThingTM for everyone to understand that they should not just accept "a photograph" at face value?


If true, I wondered if Photoshop (other software is available) could be indirectly considered responsible for "ruining landscape photography".

For sake of argument, let's assume the answer is: Yes!

So landscape photograph as-was is ruined; and it's business as usual, while we're moving to landscape photography as-will-be.
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HSway

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Re: AB:"Why Photoshop is not Ruining Landscape Photography"
« Reply #134 on: April 14, 2015, 05:07:36 am »

HSway,

I knew at the time I wrote my post that my question could not be answered definitively but was curious as to the thoughts of others.

Ever since this thread (refer to my posts and the response they subsequently attracted) I have wondered if the proportion of the general public (referred to - poorly - by me in the thread as "non-photographers") that considers a landscape photo to represent reality has increased, decreased or remained constant over time. As a result of the responses I received I assumed the answer to be: decreased.

Others in this thread have touched on the issue, and it occured to me that the terms photoshopping and photoshopped normally are used pejoratively by the general public (as well as some photographers).

I wondered if it was indicative of an undercurrent of cynicism in a general public that did, in fact, consider photography to represent reality, but which had lost confidence that reality was portrayed in post-digital landscape photography. If true, I wondered if Photoshop (other software is available) could be indirectly considered responsible for "ruining landscape photography".


I see what you mean. I think what’s  important here is to realise that photographer today has better control over the process of making a photograph. That results in couple of changes, quite dramatic ones:

We have better photographs.

They can be manipulated to a greater degree and easier (creative use, photograph-based art).

The control can be misused in various ways (making untrue claims, competitions).

I don't think the general public is agonising over this that much. Things are quite simple most of the time. Because of the greater control we need to get used to the fact that the person behind the particular photography is what determines its character. And get used to greater degree of interactions among the photographers in this sense (as is happening). It can be that the "general public" may be faster at grasping this than the photographers themselves. That is not that unusual, actually, whenever there is more and direct involvement things tend to look more complex.
We are getting used to this new photography, its potential and consequently to the adjusted mechanisms the photography is judged, classified and perceived.

Oh, and people also change. I don’t now mean whether it is early morning or evening type of a change but rather whether it was 1920 or 2015. Quite a lot and faster and faster. It's the nature of the beast, I think.
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AreBee

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Re: AB:"Why Photoshop is not Ruining Landscape Photography"
« Reply #135 on: April 14, 2015, 05:42:00 am »

IsaacTM,

Quote
For sake of argument, let's assume the answer is: Yes!

Would it be A Bad ThingTM for everyone to understand that they should not just accept "a photograph" at face value?

Perhaps the tendency of the general public to accept a photo at face value is directly related to how Quick&EasyTM it is to take one. If correct, the two would be inseparable.

I don't consider that it would be A Bad ThingTM in principle for everyone to understand that they should not just accept "a photograph" at face value. I just cannot imagine it transpiring in practice.

Quote
For sake of argument, let's assume the answer is: Yes!

So landscape photograph as-was is ruined; and it's business as usual, while we're moving to landscape photography as-will-be.

...founded upon cynicism and lost confidence on the part of the general public. Is that a price worth paying, even if the general public's tendency to consider a landscape photo as representative of reality is misplaced?
« Last Edit: April 14, 2015, 06:44:15 am by AreBee »
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Isaac

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Re: AB:"Why Photoshop is not Ruining Landscape Photography"
« Reply #136 on: April 14, 2015, 01:16:55 pm »

Perhaps the tendency of the general public to accept a photo at face value is directly related to how Quick&EasyTM it is to take one. If correct, the two would be inseparable.

We take short-cuts, either: accept at face value, or reject because nothing can be trusted. Between blind-faith and cynicism, a healthy skepticism reserves judgement until we have sufficient information to judge responsibly -- but that takes work.

What if you'd grown-up knowing that it's Quick&EasyTM to alter a just-taken photo with a few taps on a phone screen.

I don't consider that it would be A Bad ThingTM in principle for everyone to understand that they should not just accept "a photograph" at face value. I just cannot imagine it transpiring in practice.

It isn't just photographs. I seem to remember being chided by my grandmother - Just because something's written down doesn't make it true (and variations on that theme).


...founded upon cynicism and lost confidence on the part of the general public. Is that a price worth paying, even if the general public's tendency to consider a landscape photo as representative of reality is misplaced?

A case of shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted. (Incidentally, why would we think that "the general public" spends time considering landscape photography at-all?)
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AreBee

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Re: AB:"Why Photoshop is not Ruining Landscape Photography"
« Reply #137 on: April 14, 2015, 04:14:13 pm »

Isaac,

Quote
What if you'd grown-up knowing that it's Quick&EasyTM to alter a just-taken photo with a few taps on a phone screen.

Are you asking me a question?

Quote
...why would we think that "the general public" spends time considering landscape photography at-all?

In the above context, I doubt it does.
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Isaac

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Re: AB:"Why Photoshop is not Ruining Landscape Photography"
« Reply #138 on: April 14, 2015, 04:48:58 pm »

More like a rhetorical counter-claim than a genuine question.
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Nelsonretreat

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Re: AB:"Why Photoshop is not Ruining Landscape Photography"
« Reply #139 on: April 15, 2015, 08:49:56 pm »

As the author of the article which forms the subject of Mr Briot's post , I thought I might clarify an issue that lies at the heart of the difference between Mr Briot and myself.

In the Artist's statement on his web site Mr Briot writes, 

"my goal is not to create an image that represents something that exists, as is, in reality, in the "real" landscape. Rather, my goal is to create an image that is believable, an image of something that one can consider to be possible, even though one could not quite find this exact same image in nature."

It is not, therefore, surprising that Mr Briot took exception when I wrote in my article that,

"An artist creates images from their imagination and that is a wonderful thing. Just leave photography to record what the camera sees not what the photographer wishes it had seen."

Mr Briot calls my statement 'comical' and 'preposterous'. It is regrettable that he descends to such discourtesy because, in effect, we both love photography but have different concepts of what constitutes a 'photograph'

That we come at this topic from different stand  points does not make my arguments 'dangerous' as he states. They are merely based on a differing concept of Photography.

I sincerely believe that Landscape should speak for itself.  Mr Briot obviously scorns the idea that anyone would want to 'document' what lies in front of the lens and leave it at that.

My concern is that the tools offered by photoshop allow the creation of what Mr Briot calls  'something that one can consider to be possible' I admire and respect the amazing creativity of those who digitally alter images to produce artworks.

My argument is simply that these are not 'photographs'
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