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Thread: Enough is enough? Where to draw the line?

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    Senior Member velasco's Avatar
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    Default Enough is enough? Where to draw the line?

    Wokay, I don't know if this issue has been brought up amongst CSers before.

    In this technologically advanced era, with the dominance of digital cameras and whatnots, postprocessing has been one of the byproduct of the change. Basically, postprocessing of photographs are widely popular amongst photographers, true? But when does a photograph loses its nature as a photograph?

    With digital treatment thru Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro (:P) and other similar counterparts (overlays, textures, brushes ) , we sometimes find it dubious to accept the fact that a photograph is that good initially. I've seen acclaimed photographers like Larajade use textures in many of her pieces and it is very well received by people.
    I personally love postprocessing since I am also a web designer,hence I find it only beneficial to infuse and intertwine my skills on both worlds to create a desired outcome. At the end of the day, I always reflect to myself if this is considered "cheating" An easy way out to achieve greater heights?

    But yet again, pondering on how the digital sphere keeps on evolving and stepping up, should we start stretching our horizons and redefine the meaning of photographs? Or should we really draw the line and condone classifications that any pics that modify thoroughly is a digital manipulation and lose its nature as photograph. But yet again if you choose the latter, to what extent is a modifications consideer thorough? You be the judge.


    I really have a problem of articulating my thoughts but I hope you get the crux of it what I mean. Do share your views on this.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Enough is enough? Where to draw the line?

    no need to find middle ground...whatever each person is comfortable with
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Enough is enough? Where to draw the line?

    have you ever worked in a darkroom? have you ever developed your own film?
    what you do in photoshop can be done in the darkroom... Honestly i dont understand the fuss so called film purists are kicking up... let me give you some examples:

    Orton effect:
    Photoshop: duplicate background to new layer, blurr the layer and combine with the one below...
    How was it invented? in Slide! expose 1 slide with correct focus, then take 2nd shot with out of focus, overexpose both slides and later sandwich them together

    Cloning and Healing
    photoateliers had a nice set of paint brushes and colours and razor blades to retouch portraits, even colour them... My mom still learnt that skill when she was a phototechnician... There was not one shot that was not retouched in a portrait studio

    Dodging and Burning
    you can play with paper hardness, water temperature, concentration of chemicals, selective exposure etc etc (i found it much easier to do these things in the darkroom than in photoshop)

    textures:
    sandwich multiple negatives, double exposure, use different papers and processes (bromoil, polaroid)... it has all been done

    composite:
    ever seen political photographs of the early soviet era? or compositions of WWW I airplane dog fights? these guys were masters in composing single images from a number of negatives?

    has it only only started with photoshop? no! it started 150years ago at the birth of photography...
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    Senior Member velasco's Avatar
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    Default Re: Enough is enough? Where to draw the line?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    have you ever worked in a darkroom? have you ever developed your own film?
    what you do in photoshop can be done in the darkroom... Honestly i dont understand the fuss so called film purists are kicking up... let me give you some examples:

    Orton effect:
    Photoshop: duplicate background to new layer, blurr the layer and combine with the one below...
    How was it invented? in Slide! expose 1 slide with correct focus, then take 2nd shot with out of focus, overexpose both slides and later sandwich them together

    Cloning and Healing
    photoateliers had a nice set of paint brushes and colours and razor blades to retouch portraits, even colour them... My mom still learnt that skill when she was a phototechnician... There was not one shot that was not retouched in a portrait studio

    Dodging and Burning
    you can play with paper hardness, water temperature, concentration of chemicals, selective exposure etc etc (i found it much easier to do these things in the darkroom than in photoshop)

    textures:
    sandwich multiple negatives, double exposure, use different papers and processes (bromoil, polaroid)... it has all been done

    composite:
    ever seen political photographs of the early soviet era? or compositions of WWW I airplane dog fights? these guys were masters in composing single images from a number of negatives?

    has it only only started with photoshop? no! it started 150years ago at the birth of photography...
    in that case that is the technical process being done. i find that hundred percent acceptable since developing in the darkroom is the standard and definitive way of your postprocessing.

    My objective is just narrowing on the scope of digital photography. Whether utilizing editing programs to edit is tacky and should be put away. Whether it is a dishonest act (quoting from one Flickr user who commented on my photo) since the rawness of the picture is no longer retainable.
    Last edited by velasco; 30th July 2008 at 10:28 AM.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Enough is enough? Where to draw the line?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    has it only only started with photoshop? no! it started 150years ago at the birth of photography...
    I believe you summed up everything in your last statement.
    Fact that, most of us dont really know what has been going on for the past 150 years.
    Already abused my D40 and D80 for my flickr

  6. #6

    Default Re: Enough is enough? Where to draw the line?

    Quote Originally Posted by velasco View Post
    in that case that is the technical process being done. i find that hundred person acceptable since developing in the darkroom is the standard and definitive way of your postprocessing.

    My objective is just narrowing on the scope of digital photography. Whether utilizing editing programs to edit is tacky and should be put away. Whether it is a dishonest act (quoting from one Flickr user who commented on my photo) since the rawness of the picture is no longer retainable.
    well, lets put it that way... in the past it was not as obvious that a photograph was manipulated... people thought what goes onto the film goes onto the paper... many people never had access to a darkroom to experience the things you can do... today the digital darkroom is delivered to your house with every PC/Mac even without photoshop... so people do understand what can be done with a pic in digital...
    there is nothing dishonest about processing a photograph... it is only dishonest if you pretend that it is NOT processed if you done heavy work... but that applies to digital as well as film
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    Senior Member velasco's Avatar
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    Default Re: Enough is enough? Where to draw the line?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    well, lets put it that way... in the past it was not as obvious that a photograph was manipulated... people thought what goes onto the film goes onto the paper... many people never had access to a darkroom to experience the things you can do... today the digital darkroom is delivered to your house with every PC/Mac even without photoshop... so people do understand what can be done with a pic in digital...
    there is nothing dishonest about processing a photograph... it is only dishonest if you pretend that it is NOT processed if you done heavy work... but that applies to digital as well as film
    well in that case, there are alot of dishonest people out there. In sites like deviantart where categorization is mandatory, most heavily-photoshopped works are still channeled in the Photography sections and it is accepted. So perhaps, we are accepting change afterall. obviously there is nothing wrong about processing photographs in either mediums but like i asked, where do we draw the line?

    PS: This topic is not even initiated with regards to film photography and the phases of photography with all due respect
    Last edited by velasco; 30th July 2008 at 10:36 AM.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Enough is enough? Where to draw the line?

    I think the question is like asking, whether we should eat our food without adding seasonings or with.. whatever taste good, that should be the point. how much to add, u as a chef, shall decide, and taste it to know.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Enough is enough? Where to draw the line?

    Quote Originally Posted by velasco View Post
    well in that case, there are alot of dishonest people out there. In sites like deviantart where categorization is mandatory, most heavily-photoshopped works are still channeled in the Photography sections and it is accepted. So perhaps, we are accepting change afterall.

    PS: This topic is not even initiated with regards to film photography and the phases of photography with all due respect
    I believe there's a direct link between film and digital.
    Digital progressed from film, so itself is a million steps more advanced than film. Its just fair to make comparisons, since the basic point of discussion here is about post processing.

    I agree that "it is only dishonest if you pretend that it is NOT processed if you done heavy work..."
    Last edited by cheguthamrin; 30th July 2008 at 10:40 AM.
    Already abused my D40 and D80 for my flickr

  10. #10
    Senior Member velasco's Avatar
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    Default Re: Enough is enough? Where to draw the line?

    Quote Originally Posted by modelinn View Post
    I think the question is like asking, whether we should eat our food without adding seasonings or with.. whatever taste good, that should be the point. how much to add, u as a chef, shall decide, and taste it to know.
    hmm very reasonable point taken. the chef does decide but in reality, the consumers are the ones who fill the food into their tummy. The chef does sometimes or most of the times cater to these tastes and preferences if thats your analogy, if we donot edit, our food will be tasteless ? hur hur.

    Quote Originally Posted by cheguthamrin View Post
    I believe there's a direct link between film and digital.
    Digital progressed from film, so itself is a million steps more advanced than film. Its just fair to make comparisons, since the basic point of discussion here is about post processing.

    I agree that "it is only dishonest if you pretend that it is NOT processed if you done heavy work..."

    Well , yesh you may say. Just wanted to make it clear that I donot wanna dwell on film photography and the relations with it due to my limited knowlegde and hence a very unfounded assessments I have on the subject. Likewise , sir, I just want know solely on digital photographs edited by digital means.How well received it is in our photosphere? Is there still sentiment from others like " this guy is not even great had he not have Photoshop to help him out" that kinda thing.

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    Default Re: Enough is enough? Where to draw the line?

    Quote Originally Posted by velasco View Post
    PS: This topic is not even initiated with regards to film photography and the phases of photography with all due respect
    You have totally missed Michael's point then. What is wrong with manipulating pictures anyway? I am not saying you are wrong to even bring up this topic but what is it that bothers you? Too much blue to the sky? Too little red on the rose? Adjust a bit here and there, it is still manipulation. Are you working for the press? Will the picture be used for a crime scene investigation? This is art for crying out loud. Do whatever you want as long as it looks pleasing and tells a story. Go figure.

    This question has been discussed many times before. At the end of the day, it doesn't really matter what has been done to the picture except what goes into the picture.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Enough is enough? Where to draw the line?

    Quote Originally Posted by velasco View Post
    well in that case, there are alot of dishonest people out there. In sites like deviantart where categorization is mandatory, most heavily-photoshopped works are still channeled in the Photography sections and it is accepted. So perhaps, we are accepting change afterall. obviously there is nothing wrong about processing photographs in either mediums but like i asked, where do we draw the line?

    PS: This topic is not even initiated with regards to film photography and the phases of photography with all due respect
    even a heavily edited photo is a photo, so there is nothing wrong posting it as a photo.
    photo.net requires you to state if manipulated or not, their definition is as follows:
    Unmanipulated

    • a single uninterrupted exposure
    • cropping to taste
    • common adjustments to the entire image, e.g., color temperature, curves, sharpening, desaturation to black and white
    • dust spots on sensor cloned out
    Manipulated
    • double-exposure or fragments from several exposures
    • geometric distortion, e.g., to correct perspective
    • adjustments to just a part of the image, e.g., dodging and burning
    For those readers old enough to remember film, "unmanipulated" is a slide processed through standard chemistry; "manipulated" would be a black and white print that had been heavily dodged and burned.
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    Senior Member velasco's Avatar
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    Default Re: Enough is enough? Where to draw the line?

    Quote Originally Posted by hazmee View Post
    You have totally missed Michael's point then. What is wrong with manipulating pictures anyway? I am not saying you are wrong to even bring up this topic but what is it that bothers you? Too much blue to the sky? Too little red on the rose? Adjust a bit here and there, it is still manipulation. Are you working for the press? Will the picture be used for a crime scene investigation? This is art for crying out loud. Do whatever you want as long as it looks pleasing and tells a story. Go figure.

    This question has been discussed many times before. At the end of the day, it doesn't really matter what has been done to the picture except what goes into the picture.
    Whoa. Totally missed the point, huh?

    Firstly, I did not say there's anything wrong with manipulations just to be clear.This healthy discussionsis to figure out the degree of manipulation. Where to stop till it considers too much (points to title).

    Next, I myself is an avid manipulator (photo-wise, of course :P) so I am pro it not against it, just to be clear again. This bothers me since there are still people going around saying how a photo being recognized is not worthy as manipulations have been carried out in the process to make it outstanding. So I just wanna understand your perspectives whether it bugs you in such situations.
    Last edited by velasco; 30th July 2008 at 11:08 AM.

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    Senior Member velasco's Avatar
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    Default Re: Enough is enough? Where to draw the line?

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael View Post
    even a heavily edited photo is a photo, so there is nothing wrong posting it as a photo.
    photo.net requires you to state if manipulated or not, their definition is as follows:
    Unmanipulated

    • a single uninterrupted exposure
    • cropping to taste
    • common adjustments to the entire image, e.g., color temperature, curves, sharpening, desaturation to black and white
    • dust spots on sensor cloned out
    Manipulated
    • double-exposure or fragments from several exposures
    • geometric distortion, e.g., to correct perspective
    • adjustments to just a part of the image, e.g., dodging and burning
    For those readers old enough to remember film, "unmanipulated" is a slide processed through standard chemistry; "manipulated" would be a black and white print that had been heavily dodged and burned.
    oh well, hmm thats more reasonable, sir. haha. Now I at least know what one site's guidelines definition. Oh gah, youth has really got me to be ignorant on film photography GAH, my bad.

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    Default Re: Enough is enough? Where to draw the line?

    Quote Originally Posted by velasco View Post
    Whoa. Totally missed the point, huh?

    Firstly, I did not say there's anything wrong with manipulations just to be clear.This healthy discussionsis to figure out the degree of manipulation. Where to stop till it considers too much (points to title).

    Next, I myself is an avid manipulator (photo-wise, of course :P) so I am pro it not against it, just to be clear again. This bothers me since there are still people going around saying how a photo being recognized is not worthy as manipulations have been carried out in the process to make it outstanding. So I just wanna understand your perspectives whether it bugs you in such situations.
    To what degree of manipulation will it satisfy everyone's taste? Why should there be a guideline as to what is 'real', slightly manipulated, heavily edited etc.. and how will it affect your work? In the real working world, I let my client thinks whatever he/she think it is as long as I get paid on time. For personal work, I just do whatever I feel like doing. Why think so much anyway? Just do what you think is best and show it to the world. I am sure you'll get a mixed bag of opinions, critiques etc but the point here is don't try to constrain yourself to a certain 'standard'. I always think of photography as a blank canvas. No rules, guides, just pictures. Photo.net's guidelines are there for a simple reason: categorisation. It makes sorting much easier. E.g. in the music store you have black metal, grind metal, speed metal and they are all the same noisy ear piercing music. Same goes with photography I guess.

    We can go on and write a thesis about it but I think time can be more well spent if we go and take more pictures. Don't forget to enjoy yourself. Cheers!
    Last edited by hazmee; 30th July 2008 at 01:05 PM.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Enough is enough? Where to draw the line?

    look at photography as art and not as reproduction of reality (which it anyway does not)... then you dont have the problem at all cause anything is possible in art
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  17. #17

    Default Re: Enough is enough? Where to draw the line?

    If we are talking about photography as in forensics photography (recording a scene of crime), then the objective is to preserve as much of reality as possible. In this case, you don't want to do a lot of photoshop manipulations to change colors or add additional objects into the pictures.

    But if you are talking about photography as in photography as an art,then anything goes. The photographer artist tries to convey his emotions or messages into his pictures and whether he does this using photoshop manipulation or add brush strokes of paint into his pictures is nobody's call but his own.

    Purists who insist that the "right" form of photographs are those straight out of the cameras probably do not fully understand the technology behind photography. Processing already takes place when signals from digital sensors are manipulated to create jpeg images. And since when was reality ever in black and white?

    Personally, I feel that photography as an art was never meant to capture reality. Whether it is the camera or the software or the printer, these tools are exactly that - tools to help the photographer create the image in his mind. The only line out there is the line that limits your imagination.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Enough is enough? Where to draw the line?

    Just like the drinking of wine - the "experts" will have you believe that wine is only worth drinking if its produced in a such and such a chateau, by aging in oak casks, from such and such shipper etc etc and yet it tastes like as if you had just sucked the living daylights out of a wet block of rotten wood while the last bottle of cheap generic table wine you just had tasted like the nectar of the Gods. To me, the only thing that matters is what taste good to you - regardless of what the "experts" tell you/ how fancy the label/ how pricey the wine. The same for photography, it is your enjoyment that counts and not those of the "experts". If the final image looks pleasing to you, does it really matter how it was produced? Photoshopped or otherwise. My two cents worth.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Enough is enough? Where to draw the line?

    discussed to death.

    to cut a long story short - have you seen an image which is OBVIOUSLY di'ed but works for you? would you then pass the comment that it is digital imaging?

    various degrees of manipulation are acceptable. there is no real standard or restriction unless it comes to competitions or press photography. for the former, for obvious reasons, it is a photography competition not a digital manipulation competition. for the latter, truth must be told.

    for the average person, overdone or just right is simple - if the DI works, it is just right. if it doesn't work, then it is overdone. simple as that. many good landscape photographers saturate their photographs with photoshop or lightroom, but no one passes "oversaturated" comments, because they do it right.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Kit's Avatar
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    Default Re: Enough is enough? Where to draw the line?

    I've said this so many times. The very action of taking a photograph is a form of manipulation in itself. You fiddle with shutter speeds and apertures to make an exposure. How many photos you made is a completely true reproduction of what you see?? I can answer for you, none. Period.

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