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03/06/2007 12:53:34 AM · #26
Originally posted by agenkin:



I think that, yes, the methods do matter. I consider good photography to be a unique intersection of two necessary components: the documentary component, and the semantic/symbolic one. Without the the first, an image is just a painting, and without the second, the image is just a fixation of reality.


You can choose to look at photography anyway you like. I like the 'painting' route myself. I would rather be an artist than a documentary scientist.

Your post is a good example of the two definitions we deal with that try to find a common ground on a site like DPChallenge. A camera can be a tool to document reality or it can be a tool for creating an alternate reality.

I tend to look at an image and either like or dislike it for what it is. How it came to be seems irrelevant to me. I have a hard time understanding why other photographers have issues with that. Only photographers would care about how the image was made more than what it is in its finished form.
03/06/2007 01:04:46 AM · #27
Originally posted by agenkin:

I think that there is only one *photography* as an art form. There are multiple applications of it: journalism, portrature, etc. I think that all of these types of photography share one basic (and unique!) property of of being on the intersection of the real and the figurative.

In any case, the point with photojournalism was made to demonstrate that the methods of achieving an image can be important, and that an artist needs to stay within some basic framework of technique, or else the technique needs to be disclosed.


You're right... there is only one photography as an art form. The other kind of photography (photojournalism) isn't "art", it's documentary. You can take a PJ photos with artistic qualities, but their entire purpose is to document.

Originally posted by agenkin:

Your point about my assumption about xianart's images is a very good one. Yes, I make an assumption that an image on a photography web site is a photograph.

I think that the main disagreement (or misunderstanding) is about what makes the trade of art photography unique.


What is a photograph? Please define it for us. In most people's minds the photograph is the end result of the action of capturing a scene to film (or digital) and processing it onto paper (or screen). The image you see on a printed photo, even "straight from the camera", isn't straight from the camera. Every single thing done to it along the way is part of the photograph. How long it was was exposed in the camera, how long it was processed, what chemicals and processes were used. The colors change, the exposure changes, effects are added, flaws are masked...

Adding visual elements to the photo (as long as the image is still of what was in front of the lens when it was captured) doesn't suddenly make it no-longer a photo. It's not the raw negative, sure, but (generally speaking) no one aside from the photographer themselves sees the negatives.

No photograph you have ever taken, even if you processed it yourself, is identical to the frame originally captured by the camera.

In less polite terms what I'm trying to say is "get over yourself".
03/06/2007 01:11:58 AM · #28
B&W is only the start. Unless you are shooting with a focal length equivalent to the human eye, you are also introducing distortion found only in the picture. The human eye does not view a scene the same way a 6mm fisheye or a 200mm zoom does.
03/06/2007 01:23:52 AM · #29
Originally posted by DrAchoo:

B&W is only the start. Unless you are shooting with a focal length equivalent to the human eye, you are also introducing distortion found only in the picture. The human eye does not view a scene the same way a 6mm fisheye or a 200mm zoom does.


Hey Doc I think you may have misunderstood what Arcady is saying. Either that or I have. The photographer has made these choices "within real time and space".
03/06/2007 01:45:32 AM · #30
Originally posted by agenkin:

I think that you are still don't understand me, I'm sorry. The importance is not *how* you achieved an important effect, but *when*. It has to happen during the exposure. Otherwise you are modifying the captured time and space, which kills the photograph.


I'm sorry, I have to disagree with you on this one and have to ask..along the same lines of shooting b/w (which you have answered). What about when someone adjust the exposure to either over or under expose an image at the time of capture? I have done it with many sunrise and sunsets to capture better colors or extend the time of them. This is just one adjustment that can be done at the time of exposure so is it considered modifying time and space?

It really is a fine line (more like triangle) between digital art and digital photography, one that I think will forever be feathered and never actually sharp. There will always be the purist who say, ANY sort of editing means it is now art. There is also the purist that say if it can be done to film in a dark room then doing the same adjustments using a computer is fair game, but you also have the person that says they modified the [censored] out of it but since it started as a photograph it's still a photograph (even when you can't tell photo from computer generated).

It is something each person will have to accept or reject for themselves cause everyone sees and gets something different from the same image.
03/06/2007 02:03:04 AM · #31
Originally posted by Bear_Music:

Keith,

There's a whole genre of photography out there fanatically practiced by leagues of photographer/artists that uses the unique physical/optical qualities of the Holga camera. It takes a lot of experimentation to do it well.

To "mimic" Holga in PP, for some of these people, is considered a real joke. The whole POINT is the limitations you overcome in the making, not the processing. Different game, different field. I understand the change of opinion he has had. I'm not sure I'd feel the same way, but I respect it.

R.


Yet if it were ten times harder to do in photoshop (i.e. more challenging) the OP would still have a problem with it. This thread isn't about the challenge of doing something, it's about continuing his argument that anything not done in-camera isn't photography. Frankly, I don't understand why anybody has such a problem with how other people do things. If you want to use a stone tablet to write a book be my guess but quit putting down other people just because they are smart enough to use paper and challenge themselves in other more worthwhile ways.

Message edited by author 2007-03-06 02:14:05.
03/06/2007 05:23:42 AM · #32
Originally posted by DrAchoo:

B&W is only the start. Unless you are shooting with a focal length equivalent to the human eye, you are also introducing distortion found only in the picture. The human eye does not view a scene the same way a 6mm fisheye or a 200mm zoom does.


OK, a fisheye distorts the image making it totally unlike what we see. But a 200mm zoom? No distortion there, that's just cropping the FoV. It has some effect on DoF as well but DoF isn't something we are typically aware of in normal vision (the amount of a scene you can see in sufficient detail to judge focus is tiny, and the eye has a pretty nifty autofocus system :) ).

As for the original point of discussion, I understand and respect the point but I don't think I agree with it. Knowing how a photo was made will invariably change my perspective on it, but I won't decide I dislike a photo because I disapprove of how it was done.

For example, take ' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/438/thumb/284583.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/438/thumb/284583.jpg', '/') + 1) . '.

Does it affect your opinion of this photo if it was done by:

(a) Finding a real flying carpet and taking the picture in-flight.

(b) Taking a picture of the girl on the rug against a plain background, and an aerial photo, and compositing them in photoshop.

(c) Printing out a huge aerial picture and placing the girl and rug on top of it.

I defy anyone to say their perspective on that picture doesn't change when they see the "making of" shot. But it's still a great picture.

Obviously in this case it was entered into a challenge, the rules of which say (b) isn't allowed. And as such, the trick is all in the setup so it's a valid photograph by agenkin's definition. But as a photograph would you consider it any more or less valid if technique (b) had been used?

Clearly option (a) would be far more impressive but for reasons beyond the photograph itself :).

splidge
03/06/2007 05:46:12 AM · #33
Originally posted by splidge:


For example, take ' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/438/thumb/284583.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/438/thumb/284583.jpg', '/') + 1) . '.

Does it affect your opinion of this photo if it was done by:

(a) Finding a real flying carpet and taking the picture in-flight.

(b) Taking a picture of the girl on the rug against a plain background, and an aerial photo, and compositing them in photoshop.

(c) Printing out a huge aerial picture and placing the girl and rug on top of it.

I defy anyone to say their perspective on that picture doesn't change when they see the "making of" shot. But it's still a great picture.


I like that photo when I first saw it and nothing changed once I learned how it was done. What I like was the idea of the image and how it looks not his setup. Had he used a giant sized monitor screen laying on the floor instead of the plotter print it wouldn't have changed my opinion nor would if it was a muslin print bought from the store (i.e. not his creation). The end result is all that matters. I will say if it turned out to be (a) i.e. real, it would be more impressive but only because it would also be documentary on top of the artistic presentation and idea itself. Level of difficulty doesn't mean much to me when viewing a photo.

Message edited by author 2007-03-06 05:48:07.
03/06/2007 07:24:39 AM · #34
Originally posted by routerguy666:

Originally posted by agenkin:

Originally posted by Elvis_L:

Your camera has a B&W mode right. you don't have to shoot film to do it. But in my opinion you changing a color photo to black and white is completely chaning what was taken at the time and is no longer a pure photo using your ideas. You changing to B&W is in my eyes the same as Christian's making it look like it was taken with a different camera. You made yours look like it was taken in a different mode. seems a bit hypocritical to suite your own ideals.

This is why I said that yours was a valid point. I am undecided how to fit B&W conversion into the picture, and, no, my digital camera has no native B&W mode.


So when you two purists do decide to shoot black and white in whatever way you apparently feel is legitimate and proper, do you fit some sort of filter over the viewfinder so that you are seeing a black and white scene? Do you drop chemicals in your eyes so you only see black and white?

You see a black and white image with your mind's eye. Converting the color raw afterwards is just mechanics.


dude just browse my portfolio, I am not a purist. I was mearly pointing out the flaw in Arcady's logic since I know he likes B&W. Please don't lump me in with his ideals.
03/06/2007 08:06:28 AM · #35
ok, seeing as how this started about my pic, i'll weigh in here.

first, a little about myself. i started in photography 21 years ago at age 16. i took a summer course at the nova scotia college of art and design, borowing my father's camera first, then i bought a pentax k1000, and fell in love. i used the college's darkrooms, blagging my way in when i wasn't taking a course, until i went to university.

i started studying 'undecided arts' (meaning you don't want to be ascientist, but don't know what esle you want to be yet) but was still in love with photography. i fast talked my way into the physics lab darkroom, and, amazingly , was given the keys to the physics building and optics lab, so i could continue my photographic ways.

we were a group of photo wannabes, who loved it but weren't in the fine arts program. we used the physics, biology, chemistry and geology lab darkrooms. we had no parents, keys to science labs, and lots of film and cameras. we played. we experimented with colour (not often - it was too annoying having to work in the pitchy black - or rather, with a green light that cast about 2 inches of light. we traded cameras, played with push processing, cross processing, dodging, burning, toning, scraping, collaging. we did formal shoots, we wandered aimlessly around the old factory shooting artsy portraits, we went out and watched the northern lights and took pictures in the long grass, we ate and smoked and drank in the darkrooms. you name it, we did it. we didn't sleep very much. or do much actual schoolwork.

by october of that year, i realised i should be in the fine arts program, so applied and was accepted. then came 4 years of study of drawing painting, sculpture and photography. i graduated in 1992 with a bachelor of fine arts in photography, painting and drawing.

i went to mount allison university. it's a great place, and i would reccomend it to anyone looking for a good fine arts program, or any program. the fine arts program was very strict. for the first two years, you had to prove you could follow the 'rules' of art. you had to show you were skilled at drawing, painting, knew the photographic techinical skills. it was very easy to fail at this point. the drop out rate in the first two years was, well, high. but, if you made it to the third year, you had almost complete freedom. you had proven you knew what you were doing, and in doing so had earned the professors' respect, and were thus let alone to create, make mistakes and play in your chosen media.

all the above is to show that i have 'earned my spurs' in photography, and to give context to what follows.

i know i will never change arcady's mind on this topic, and am not going to try. however, i would like to make a few things clear.

cameras lie. they always do. all the time. every single image is a fabrication. even photojournalistic iamges are falsified, as they are taken out of context. thus, to me, the issue of 'true' photography is spurious.

that said, i have always, and possibly with excessive pride, framed in the camera. very few of my images are cropped. this began a long time ago - it was a oint of pride that my images were printed full-frame, and you could look at my contact sheet and every single image was reasonably exposed and well coomposed. i have always tried to get it right in camera. o i can see a little of arcady's point. however, i do believe he applies it too rigidly to something that, if being used as a fine art, rather than a journalistic tool, must be flexible. that is the point of art. once one has shown one knows the rules, can work within them, then the teaces are released and one has free reign.

however, since my conversion, saul-like, to digital, i have startd to revel in the joys of photoshop. i actually do very little in photoshop that i wouldn't do in a darkroom, but it's easier, and there are no chemicals. (sadly i am no longer able to tolerate photographic chemicals, probably because i ate and drank and smoked in the darkroom...;-P)

this is a bit rambling, but i will get to the point soon, promise.

i have always viewed photography as a fine art, aznd that's how i approach it. with the awareness of photography's untruthfulness, as stated abouve, i have played with the assumption of its honesty for 21 years. ' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21_F.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21_F.gif', '/') + 1) . ' noraneko encapsulated what i have been trying to do for 20 years very well: 'You're good at creating scenes that are concurrently menacing yet inviting, and always subtle, which I appreciate.' that's it, menace and invitation, the duality of threat and beauty. that's what i've been dealing with in my work for as long as i can remember.

i think what made so happy to discover the holga action, and experiment with noise etc. is that i missed the visual texture of my black and white, tri-x film prints. i missed the tonal range, the grain, the darks and lights, the deep, mysterious shadows, all that.

i think what made me angry, and hurt a little, with the whole thing with this image, is the total denigration of photography as a fine art, and, by (completely self-centred) extension, of me as a fine art photographer. while i do take pride in getting it right in camera, i don't make a point of that when presenting my work. that's just a little extra frisson for me, and maybe to be shared with others who really care. it lets me know that i'm good at what i do. however, my work is more than getting it right in camera. the vast majority of photoshop work i do could quite easliy be done in a darkroom. i can no longer do that, as i can no longer tolerate the chemicals. photoshop is a tool that lets me express how i see the world.

ok, i have to go, without finishing, as i have a three year old nagging me now. i'll return later to attempt to finish my thoughts.

Message edited by author 2007-03-06 10:06:11.
03/06/2007 08:19:28 AM · #36
Originally posted by splidge:



OK, a fisheye distorts the image making it totally unlike what we see. But a 200mm zoom? No distortion there, that's just cropping the FoV.


Actually, fisheye distortion is pretty much exactly what your eye captures. Your mind translates the information from your eye into a more useful image to remove the distortion that the eye introduces. Concentrate on your peripheral vision for a while and look for it, and you might see it.

The zoom is a distortion of reality - it straightens lines that you would normally see as a fisheye (as well as restricting the field of view).

Ironically, it is the mind that distorts and changes an image. The camera has specific set parameters, and it creates an image within those parameters.
03/06/2007 10:24:41 AM · #37
Originally posted by jmsetzler:

You can choose to look at photography anyway you like. I like the 'painting' route myself. I would rather be an artist than a documentary scientist.

Your post is a good example of the two definitions we deal with that try to find a common ground on a site like DPChallenge. A camera can be a tool to document reality or it can be a tool for creating an alternate reality.

You definitely misunderstand the definition of photography that I'm presenting here, if you see these as the opposites. The discussion in this thread is concentrating on the documentary component of photography, but there is the second necessary component - the semantic/symbolic one - to make sure that photography is not defined as merely a tool to fixate reality.

I *love* photographs that look surreal, in fact, my favourite pictures are the ones that look out of this world; however, they must retain the documentary part as well. To quote from Pashis's definition:

Originally posted by A.V. Pashis:

The task of a photographer-artist is to use a frozen photographic composition to make the viewer perceive an image symbolically, figuratively, when everything in the image cries out of the opposite: that the depicted subject is real.

This is precisely what makes photography a unique visual art, and what needs to be preserved from the approach of using altering the captured time and space in postprocessing. A photographer has lots of tools to explore the other-worldliness of reality.

Here are a few links from what I've browsed recently, some surreal photography:
Multiple exposure
some more images
Michael Ackerman
03/06/2007 10:56:33 AM · #38
Originally posted by xianart:

' . substr('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21_F.gif', strrpos('//www.dpchallenge.com/images/user_icon/21_F.gif', '/') + 1) . ' noraneko encapsulated what i have been trying to do for 20 years very well: 'You're good at creating scenes that are concurrently menacing yet inviting, and always subtle, which I appreciate.' that's it, menace and invitation, the duality of threat and beauty.

That's beautiful!
03/06/2007 11:23:01 AM · #39
The JTFU award goes to this thread for it's role in Giving Me a Headache.
03/06/2007 12:30:27 PM · #40
so according to your definition the work of ansel adams shouldn't be considered 'good' photography ? - as he spent a great deal of time creating his vision after the film had been exposed. in essence creating the final work with both the film exposure and processing, and the print exposure and processing.


03/06/2007 12:39:34 PM · #41
I say it really doesn't matter what process or equipment you use. If I like the final image, then good. If you're going to start defining the areas of processing that are acceptable or not to you, are you not just limiting yourself from experiences?

A camera is a piece of equipment. It can make art and it can simply make pictures. Nonetheless, the camera will only ever itself be a piece of equipment. It's the person using the equipment that decides to what end.
03/06/2007 12:41:11 PM · #42
Originally posted by soup:

so according to your definition the work of ansel adams shouldn't be considered 'good' photography ? - as he spent a great deal of time creating his vision after the film had been exposed. in essence creating the final work with both the film exposure and processing, and the print exposure and processing.

I thought this was going to come up. :)

I don't think there is any conflict between Ansel's methods and the definition I presented above. There is nothing wrong with post processing for improving a photograph's *technical* quality.
03/06/2007 12:50:58 PM · #43
Originally posted by shanelighter:

I say it really doesn't matter what process or equipment you use. If I like the final image, then good. If you're going to start defining the areas of processing that are acceptable or not to you, are you not just limiting yourself from experiences?

"The end justifies the means" approach is dangerous in many areas, including photography, IMO.

Self-restriction can, actually, unleash the real creativity in an artist, and lead to very interesting results. For an example, see The Five Obstructions by Jorgen Leth and Lars Von Trier.

Originally posted by shanelighter:

A camera is a piece of equipment. It can make art and it can simply make pictures. Nonetheless, the camera will only ever itself be a piece of equipment. It's the person using the equipment that decides to what end.

I don't understand what point you are trying to make by saying this.
03/06/2007 12:58:41 PM · #44
Originally posted by agenkin:

Originally posted by Elvis_L:

I am not missing the point i just don't agree with it. If i use a yellow filter on my lens why is it a better photo than if I used the filter in photoshop.

I think that you are still don't understand me, I'm sorry. The importance is not *how* you achieved an important effect, but *when*. It has to happen during the exposure. Otherwise you are modifying the captured time and space, which kills the photograph.


Nevermind that it was the artist's intention at the time of exposure... :P

I disagree with your hardline on this issue with all my heart, but I'm not going to argue with a brick wall over it.
03/06/2007 01:49:51 PM · #45
Originally posted by agenkin:

...
Originally posted by A.V. Pashis:

The task of a photographer-artist is to use a frozen photographic composition to make the viewer perceive an image symbolically, figuratively, when everything in the image cries out of the opposite: that the depicted subject is real.

This is precisely what makes photography a unique visual art, and what needs to be preserved from the approach of using altering the captured time and space in postprocessing...


A.V. Pashis nailed it fairly nicely here, IMO. I don't see, however, why this observation should not made of works in many other artistic faculties, especially from a XXth century and contemporary perspective. Poetry, in particular, lends itself to a fairly precise reconstruction of such principle. A sizable body of writing on this subject exists as per Charles Olson (Composition by Field), if not, by extension, via Pound.

The poets, however, do not conclude a hands-on methology (a way of writing). They are concerned with stance towards the real, and one that accommodates the heart (whatever causation is there, in a man), mind (to check and re-check the authenticity of the data and in the way it moves, naturally, when the mind is at play). They view the mind as a surgeon would or a bioligist, the heart as a historian would and the world (the "real", if you will) as material - a view that should come naturally to anyone who regards man himself, as an object of nature.

If we applied this to photography, I think, it may encourage us to explore and study the process of making pictures as one in which the photographer/artist plays a vital but entirely subordinated role. His decisions, too, could be hardly called choices but, instead, should be dicatated by the nature of an experience, which extends well beyond the photographer, as a creative or, even, an expressive person. He is or has become an effective tool himself, and one whose only integrity of concern is the integrity of the whole, if then

this makes any sense to anyone outside of myself, in this weather.

Message edited by author 2007-03-06 13:51:20.
03/06/2007 01:54:26 PM · #46
Arcady,

I have no desire to change your beliefs. Feel free to define photography in any way that pleases you. But your (now two or three) posts informing others of your disparaging opinion of their wanna-be photography is a bit disheartening. Where is your grace?

This is the second thread I have read lately (THREAD_ID=555448 devolved into another) that felt like an ostentatious attempt to devalue other people’s work. I will reiterate what I posted there: Not every true and honest expression need be communicated. Sometimes keeping your own good counsel is appropriate. Don’t worry about the rest of us (being wrong (or stupid or uncreative)) – if you think we are creating rubbish, mock in silence.
03/06/2007 02:28:07 PM · #47
Originally posted by zeuszen:


this makes any sense to anyone outside of myself, in this weather.


Makes perfect sense to me, but then that won't be a surprise to you I suppose. I'm very familiar with Charles Olson and the Black Mountain poets. I studied for a bit with Robert Creeley, actually. But that's neither here nor there.

I find these threads both bizarrely fascinating and profoundly depressing. This is probably all I ought to say on the subject.

R.
03/06/2007 02:31:51 PM · #48
Originally posted by Bear_Music:


I find these threads both bizarrely fascinating and profoundly depressing. This is probably all I ought to say on the subject.


I'm following Robert on this one :-)
03/06/2007 04:45:15 PM · #49
From what I've learned in photojournalism classes is that post editing with filters isn't approved of. In fact i remember a photojournalist getting canned because of his editing of a photo to make the colors better. He had of course done some other editing earlier to put him on probation and by editing the color he violated that probation and was fired. Now, that is in the actual photojournalism world. I'm not sure if this helps or even is on the subject. It's just what I gather what is going on in this conversation.

Please bear in mind that this is Photojornalism I'm talking about not Photography which to me are entirely differnt.

Message edited by author 2007-03-06 16:48:37.
03/06/2007 05:32:06 PM · #50
I could not wade through this entire thread but ... in photographic art, I do not think there are any "rules" ... you like the end product or you don't IMO.

If you LOVE an image and the creator of that image says, "I am sorry but I do not discuss the methods I use to create my photographic art."

... why should you think differently of it if the creator gives you the step by step photoshopping techniques that they used to enhance that image and make you like it more?

bleh ... the only thing that is at issue here is honesty, IMO ... If I tell you it is straight from the camera ... then it should be ... if I say nothing ... then you should like it or not on its merits.

Edited to say ... This post did not start out having ANYthing to do with photo-journalism IMO.

*sigh* I could rant and rave forever but I guess I will leave it at that and let others get their emotions in a knot ...

Message edited by author 2007-03-06 17:32:57.
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