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Modern Photography and Ancient Art

kanabco

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An avocation of mine is photography and it is pretty well established that photography is an art. But how much cheating is allowed in art? photographers sure have the ability to cheat with post processing on digital images but for many decades the purest would turn up their noses at some digital images and utter under their breath, "digitally enhanced" and keep walking. However I see a change in that post processing (cropping, burning, dodging, saturating) has become very common and accepted. In other words it is the final product, no matter how you got there, that is accepted as good art today.

So is modern post processed prints of a digital images cheating? Did the master painters ever cheat?
 

joG

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An avocation of mine is photography and it is pretty well established that photography is an art. But how much cheating is allowed in art? photographers sure have the ability to cheat with post processing on digital images but for many decades the purest would turn up their noses at some digital images and utter under their breath, "digitally enhanced" and keep walking. However I see a change in that post processing (cropping, burning, dodging, saturating) has become very common and accepted. In other words it is the final product, no matter how you got there, that is accepted as good art today.

So is modern post processed prints of a digital images cheating? Did the master painters ever cheat?

Why should distortion of mere reality be cheating in art, if the modidfied work expresses better, what the artist wants to show. Much if not most of antient art through to the modern used distortion.
 

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An avocation of mine is photography and it is pretty well established that photography is an art. But how much cheating is allowed in art? photographers sure have the ability to cheat with post processing on digital images but for many decades the purest would turn up their noses at some digital images and utter under their breath, "digitally enhanced" and keep walking. However I see a change in that post processing (cropping, burning, dodging, saturating) has become very common and accepted. In other words it is the final product, no matter how you got there, that is accepted as good art today.

So is modern post processed prints of a digital images cheating? Did the master painters ever cheat?

It can take a photographer days or even weeks to work on post processing a image; it isnt cheating at all.
 

kanabco

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Why should distortion of mere reality be cheating

wool for one thing the DEA refused to remove Jane from the schedule one thingy.
 

kanabco

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It can take a photographer days or even weeks to work on post processing a image; it isnt cheating at all.

What kind of photographer...sillver halide dark room or Photoshop Digital?
Not that it matters that much about cheating but it is the "weeks" part that interests me.
 

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An avocation of mine is photography and it is pretty well established that photography is an art. But how much cheating is allowed in art? photographers sure have the ability to cheat with post processing on digital images but for many decades the purest would turn up their noses at some digital images and utter under their breath, "digitally enhanced" and keep walking. However I see a change in that post processing (cropping, burning, dodging, saturating) has become very common and accepted. In other words it is the final product, no matter how you got there, that is accepted as good art today.

So is modern post processed prints of a digital images cheating? Did the master painters ever cheat?

I am a photographer, and the history of the medium is a hobby of mine. Ansel Addams constructed his images using careful, meticulous printing methods, filters, burning and dodging, etc. In short, he was a master of his craft. Each of his prints are unique, in that recreating them would be virtually impossible. He would expose one have of the paper, or small sections, for more or less time, and use diffusion filters here and there to mess with focus (think Gaussian blur), and contrast filters. The result? A constructed image that does not resemble the original scene.

Then there is Uelsman, who made completely surreal images long before photoshop. He's gangster.
 

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What kind of photographer...sillver halide dark room or Photoshop Digital?
Not that it matters that much about cheating but it is the "weeks" part that interests me.

As printing and screens get better and better, more and more high definition, the tiny details become more important. One single strand of hair out place on a models face might stop a scrupulous editor cold. Serious post production involves looking at images at 200+% magnification.

That's like looking at an 11x14 inch print entirely through a loupe.

In the old days, you had to worry about dust, and you fixed it with spot toner. Horrible work, really.
 

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As far as art is concerned, I don't think it's possible to cheat. As an artist, you're entitled to create your at using whatever methods and materials you choose. I wouldn't consider post-production and image-editing any different to posing a model, setting up specific lighting etc. when taking the actual photo.

It would only ever be an issue if you were presenting the image as being an accurate representation of something when in reality it's been edited or altered.
 

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What kind of photographer...sillver halide dark room or Photoshop Digital?
Not that it matters that much about cheating but it is the "weeks" part that interests me.

Photoshop/Digital imagery.

Digital photographers use a file format called Raw image format. The concept is that it is a raw photo without much if any processing. That is the photo is in its raw unadulterated form. They do it that way so that one can change the photo into any format that they want. Instead of relying on a micro computer in a camera that gives you one chance to get it right, one can just do it later. Which makes it easier to make a HDR photo.

The part though that can take a great deal of time is the pixel by pixel details. You can fix any aspect of the photo, if you are willing to spend the time. Of course none or little of this is done by amateur photographers.

No days if you take a photography class, you will spend over 90% of the class working on a computer. And when you do go out in the field you will take hundreds of photos, not 36 at a time.

Of course this doesnt replace the artsy types of traditional photography. But then most people scan their photos and still run it through software.
 

Gaugingcatenate

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To my mind, there should be distinct categories in photography [perhaps there already are; not my specific area of interest ], each labeled so the viewer knows if something was achieved more or less naturally or with digital/other enhancement.

Myself? I like most appreciating the photographer that studies/knows the subject, understands trying to obtain the ideal moment of natural light, the optimal shot positioning without any enhancement other than what is on the camera taking the pictures, the reliance on hardware and not the software.

The other is no doubt art as well, but I more enjoy the art of actual photography, not the computer arts.
 

kanabco

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Photoshop/Digital imagery.

Digital photographers use a file format called Raw image format. The concept is that it is a raw photo without much if any processing. That is the photo is in its raw unadulterated form. They do it that way so that one can change the photo into any format that they want. Instead of relying on a micro computer in a camera that gives you one chance to get it right, one can just do it later. Which makes it easier to make a HDR photo.

The part though that can take a great deal of time is the pixel by pixel details. You can fix any aspect of the photo, if you are willing to spend the time. Of course none or little of this is done by amateur photographers.

No days if you take a photography class, you will spend over 90% of the class working on a computer. And when you do go out in the field you will take hundreds of photos, not 36 at a time.

Of course this doesnt replace the artsy types of traditional photography. But then most people scan their photos and still run it through software.

Not all digital photographers use RAW but still post process in Photoshop or other software to create the look then want.
As for amateurs they too are doing post processing in the computer. Almost every digital camera company now has free software that can do everything Adobe Darkroom can do and GIMP can do far more.
 

kanabco

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Myself? I like most appreciating the photographer that studies/knows the subject, understands trying to obtain the ideal moment of natural light, the optimal shot positioning without any enhancement other than what is on the camera taking the pictures, the reliance on hardware and not the software.

The only problem with that is it is hard to find a photo print by any famous photographer that was not post processed in some way in the dark room.
 

kanabco

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I am a photographer, and the history of the medium is a hobby of mine. Ansel Addams constructed his images using careful, meticulous printing methods, filters, burning and dodging, etc. In short, he was a master of his craft. Each of his prints are unique, in that recreating them would be virtually impossible. He would expose one have of the paper, or small sections, for more or less time, and use diffusion filters here and there to mess with focus (think Gaussian blur), and contrast filters. The result? A constructed image that does not resemble the original scene.

Then there is Uelsman, who made completely surreal images long before photoshop. He's gangster.

Adams is noted for his statment, "the art is in the darkroom"
 

FreedomFromAll

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Not all digital photographers use RAW but still post process in Photoshop or other software to create the look then want.
As for amateurs they too are doing post processing in the computer. Almost every digital camera company now has free software that can do everything Adobe Darkroom can do and GIMP can do far more.

Yes and there are iphones, but there is a difference between the non-RAW crowd and the professional standard of RAW. It is like comparing the point and shoot photographer to an actual photographer. Sure you can make any camera and make it work for you, and you can use any photo editing software. The little Apps will do the basics and it will look good enough for the average point and shoot person. But photoshop/darkroom/gimp and few others can do amazing things that average point and shoot person has no use for. Its like saying I can buy water color paint from the toy section. Of course you can, but it wont be good for a serious water color painting.

Or you can buy a exacto knife set and carve wood. Or you can buy (or in my case make) knifes of quality to carve with.
 

FreedomFromAll

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To my mind, there should be distinct categories in photography [perhaps there already are; not my specific area of interest ], each labeled so the viewer knows if something was achieved more or less naturally or with digital/other enhancement.

Myself? I like most appreciating the photographer that studies/knows the subject, understands trying to obtain the ideal moment of natural light, the optimal shot positioning without any enhancement other than what is on the camera taking the pictures, the reliance on hardware and not the software.

The other is no doubt art as well, but I more enjoy the art of actual photography, not the computer arts.
So no filters on the camera? How about color?

And do you also scorn the modern 35mm SLR cameras that have micro computers that run software in them? For example the Nikon F6.
 

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So no filters on the camera? How about color?

And do you also scorn the modern 35mm SLR cameras that have micro computers that run software in them? For example the Nikon F6.
I tried to eliminate those questions by the way I described what I felt was real photography. Filters are not dealing with software, microcomputers running software are...

Truth be told, regarding artful photography, I do like black and white the best. And I do not know where you pulled the word scorn from my description of what I appreciated most... maybe you can identify my impreciseness if it came off that way so I will not make the same lapse in the future... but I don't think I was aiming to do that, just separate the two categories and express my bias in favoring of the one over the other.
 

jet57

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An avocation of mine is photography and it is pretty well established that photography is an art. But how much cheating is allowed in art? photographers sure have the ability to cheat with post processing on digital images but for many decades the purest would turn up their noses at some digital images and utter under their breath, "digitally enhanced" and keep walking. However I see a change in that post processing (cropping, burning, dodging, saturating) has become very common and accepted. In other words it is the final product, no matter how you got there, that is accepted as good art today.

So is modern post processed prints of a digital images cheating? Did the master painters ever cheat?

Photography has always had the ability to be 'enhanced' through the development process. I too am a casual photographer and have been for over 40 years: Prefer Nikon btw :) What purists turn their noses up at is the ability of digital enhancement to effect a mediocre photo and change the lighting and exposure to make a better photograph. Or to enhance colors and otherwise turn a photo into a painting... An excellent photo by someone who knows how to shoot will stand on it's own. So, from a film format perspective, today's digital editing is sort of cheating, because people really don't have to know camera work to able to get good results, and that's the selling point.
 

jet57

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It can take a photographer days or even weeks to work on post processing a image; it isnt cheating at all.

The point is, a photographer should not have to work that hard after the fact to get what he wanted in the first place. So I would disagree from a fundamental perspective.
 

kanabco

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Yes and there are iphones, but there is a difference between the non-RAW crowd and the professional standard of RAW. It is like comparing the point and shoot photographer to an actual photographer. Sure you can make any camera and make it work for you, and you can use any photo editing software. The little Apps will do the basics and it will look good enough for the average point and shoot person. But photoshop/darkroom/gimp and few others can do amazing things that average point and shoot person has no use for. Its like saying I can buy water color paint from the toy section. Of course you can, but it wont be good for a serious water color painting.

Or you can buy a exacto knife set and carve wood. Or you can buy (or in my case make) knifes of quality to carve with.

I was referring to avoiding raw and working with jpegs. Raw is unnecessary and many pros don't use them for all images.
 

kanabco

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The point is, a photographer should not have to work that hard after the fact to get what he wanted in the first place. So I would disagree from a fundamental perspective.

I cannot agree

FOP_AA_LonePine_1123.jpgFOP_LonePine_OldVersion.jpgClose-up_LonePine_OldVersio.jpg

The famous Adams, "Winter Sunrise" was very labor intensive after the shutter clicked.
The image on the left is the one you have seen before. The image next to it is what his camera saw

Note how he had to burn out much of the light on the periphery of the pasture and dodge in the bright sunny spotlight.
The hills were also darkened by burning
The over all contrast was probably augmented in chemical development
Additionally Ansel was so annoyed with the Lone Pine High Schools "LP" on the hill that he took a razor to the glass negative and scratched it out.
He made three dozen prints of this before he got the one he wanted.

It is not just what the camera sees it is the work you do to help it out that is more difficult in my opinion.

There are quite a few good books on AA

Things I can do in photoshop that Ansel Adams did in his dark room.
Crop
Contrast adj
burn
dodge
blurr
smudge
 

jet57

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I cannot agree

View attachment 67205695View attachment 67205696View attachment 67205697

The famous Adams, "Winter Sunrise" was very labor intensive after the shutter clicked.
The image on the left is the one you have seen before. The image next to it is what his camera saw

Note how he had to burn out much of the light on the periphery of the pasture and dodge in the bright sunny spotlight.
The hills were also darkened by burning
The over all contrast was probably augmented in chemical development
Additionally Ansel was so annoyed with the Lone Pine High Schools "LP" on the hill that he took a razor to the glass negative and scratched it out.
He made three dozen prints of this before he got the one he wanted.

It is not just what the camera sees it is the work you do to help it out that is more difficult in my opinion.

There are quite a few good books on AA

Things I can do in photoshop that Ansel Adams did in his dark room.
Crop
Contrast adj
burn
dodge
blurr
smudge

Right; I said that photography has always had some of photoshop's abilities. The contrasts in Admans work coupled with his ability to "see a picture" before he took it and then his abilities with old techniques, he could coax out what he wanted with masking. But the process has to start with a really good photograph to begin with. Not so with photoshop, so - it is kinda cheating in my view.
 

KevinKohler

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There's no app, no program, or no filter that imparts good composition. That is reliant on the eye of the shooter.

Those Adams photos posted, by today's standards, are just...pretty pictures of a pretty scene, made more striking by the use of about a 2.5, or 3 contrast filter. It took him many hours in a dark room, and quite a few pages of fiber paper, to do. Today, those effects could be achieved by automation. Do a few tasks in Photoshop and record them...make blended layer, adjust contrast with levels, the erase out what you don't want contrasted. Then automate, and apply to other images. As a wedding photographer, averaging about 500 images per wedding, that becomes invaluable.

Now, of course it's important to get it right "on film", don't rely on post production to get a good image. But there will always be post production, no matter how good you are. Because you're not perfect. The question is, how hard are you willing to work to get your perception of perfect? So pros are willing to put in 20 hours n one image, going pixel by pixel. Mind you, these are the folks using hasselblad medium format with digital backs, taking images of such resolution that any imperfection in the scene...a leaf out of place, a strand of droopy hair, a dew drop reflecting light oddly, etc...becomes glaring.

Adams used a 4x5. The film was four inches by 5 inches. He shot at F62. Every tiny, uncontrollable detail shows up on the neg, let along the enlarged print.


As for appreciating "real" images over manufactured? I used to have the same issue, but now I don't care. If it looks real, why can't it be?
 

kanabco

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Right; I said that photography has always had some of Photoshop's abilities.
Just to be clear, Photoshop is to digital imaging what a darkroom is to film photography. It is not a camera.
jet57 said:
The contrasts in Admans work coupled with his ability to "see a picture" before he took it and then his abilities with old techniques, he could coax out what he wanted with masking. But the process has to start with a really good photograph to begin with.

Nothing has changed in that regard. I shoot digital images and still strive to "see" an image first. Then if I think it has potential I coax more out of it, if I can, in Photoshop

jet57 said:
so - it is kinda cheating in my view.

Your opinion is so noted.
 

jet57

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Just to be clear, Photoshop is to digital imaging what a darkroom is to film photography. It is not a camera.


Nothing has changed in that regard. I shoot digital images and still strive to "see" an image first. Then if I think it has potential I coax more out of it, if I can, in Photoshop



Your opinion is so noted.

Yes, Photoshop is a digital darkroom. And you are a practiced photographer, so your raw images have an advantage that others don't: that's what I'm getting at; for beginners and intermediates, photoshop is a sort of cheating device and said crutch will hinder their abilities to go out and work for what they want.
 

kanabco

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Yes, Photoshop is a digital darkroom. And you are a practiced photographer, so your raw images have an advantage that others don't: that's what I'm getting at; for beginners and intermediates, Photoshop is a sort of cheating device and said crutch will hinder their abilities to go out and work for what they want.
Yes Photoshop is cheating. That is the point of this post. But you are still not getting that I have no more advantage than anyone else who shoots straight .jpg images from a smart phone or a DSLR. I use Photoshop to make my jpg images look better. I rarely shoot RAW.
Here is an example. These are three .jpg images I shot on a tripod the original shot, a second shot one stop higher than the original, and a third shot one stop lower than the original.
cholla-original.jpg
chola_darker.jpg
chola-lighter.jpg

By merging these three in Photoshop I get a tone-mapped High Dynamic Range (HDR) result. It bring out the darker detail and the lighter detail.
cholla-tonemapped.jpg

Hope this helps
 
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