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Sisterly Love

Discussion in 'Exhibition Lounge' started by Lounge Lizard, Mar 5, 2006.

  1. Lounge Lizard

    Lounge Lizard Well-Known Member

    Re: The original (for Paul)

    To me colour gets in the way and maybe I've overdone the grain in the first web version. It looks fine in the print. If anything, the original shot is not as sharp as it should be - a hint of grain gives a false impression of sharpness making it more 'acceptable' psychologically.

    Really, it is a case of "compare the 10x15 inch prints and you'll see what I mean". You just can't see it at this size on a computer screen.
     
  2. Dawnrider

    Dawnrider Member

    Hi all,
    I like both the portraits, but I like the second more, I think that there is nothing wrong with adding or editing an image. if it produces the image you envisage. before digital, most if not all images for publication, advertiseing, exhibition or competitions were manipulated in the darkroom useing chemicals or burning dodging and other techniques. Digital is just another method of capturing and manipulation of images, "without toxic chemicals.
     
  3. Dawnrider

    Dawnrider Member

    Re: The original (for Paul)

    Yes I agree with all you said.
     
  4. Re: The original (for Paul)

    One thing that strikes me is that the edited version makes a better portrait due to the lack of distracting background colour, the editing also disguises the blurry blemish on the left hand side of the picture. if it had not been for these very minor flaws i would have preffered the colour version.
    RE; manipulation debate....An interesting thing someone on another forum pointed out is that most of those who dislike photo manipulation dont have any qualms about adjusting the aperture on the camera to create a different depth of field to what one would actually see or changing the shutterspeed to create different effects. why is this different to post-editing (ona computer or in the darkroom)?
     
  5. huwevans

    huwevans Not Really Here

    Re: The original (for Paul)

    Probably because doing things which change the light before it is recorded is precisely what the photographic process is all about. Manipulate the light how you will - it's still drawing with light. Likewise, conventional printing in a darkroom is a photographic process - it's a second stage, which gives further opportunity to control the recorded image by manipulating the light, but it's still actually photographic - that is, it is using light falling on a sensitive surface to form the image.

    Processes like computer manipulation or manually retouching prints (regardless of how they are produced) are, by definition, not photographic. They have more to do with for example painting or drawing, where the image may be constructed arbitrarily, and bears no necessary relation to anything actually seen by the artist.


    Whether individual people care or not how a picture is produced is a matter for them, but it shouldn't really be surprising if some people whose chosen field of image creation is photography aren't so interested in approaches which make it less photographic, and more computer-graphic. For me it's a bit like having a meal and wondering what ingredient was producing a certain flavour, and then discovering that it was just a load of E-numbers. Or admiring some great sporting achievement, and then finding out that the athlete was using stimulants - I just feel let down.
     
  6. Lounge Lizard

    Lounge Lizard Well-Known Member

    I beg to differ

    I beg to differ Huw.

    In my darkroom days, I used split-grade printing, dodging and burning and other 'tricks' to get the final image on paper that I had in my mind's eye. Are you saying that these images are of lesser value?

    Leading on from this, would you suggest that Larry Barlett and Tim Rudman's work should be dismissed because they used their skill and knowledge to extract the maximum from an image? Digital is no different - if something isn't there, it isn't there. Most digital workers bring out what is there or change what is there in much the same way a darkroom worker would to create the mood and feel that he or she as the artist wants to portray.

    Do you feel cheated by the great classical painters because Constable, Rembrandt and Van Gogh changed elements in their paintings to make them more pleasing? Should these been thrown on the bonfire because they aren't reality any more?

    It's these arguments that caused the Linked Ring to be formed as an alternative to the Royal Photographic Society over 125 years ago. Then, the RPS treated photography as a science where artistic interpretation had no place. It then swung the other way and caused confusion:

    ...the R.P.S. has been so effectually laughed out of its old notion that photographs are to be esteemed according to certain technical conditions in the negative, that it has now arrived at the conclusion that a pictorial photograph is one in which the focusing and the exposure are put wrong on purpose. Consequently.... it is afraid to give a medal to any picture that does not look more or less mildewed, lest it be ridiculed for Philistinism. And whenever it gets a photograph which in its secret soul it thinks very good, it is ashamed to say so, and puts it in the "professional" section. As it happens, the object of this guilty admiration sometimes is very good. And sometimes the fuzzygraph which the Society puts in the pictorial section because it privately thinks it very bad is very bad. Thus, whenever the poor Society happens to be right, it makes the judicious laugh - exactly what it outrages its conscience to avoid..."

    (Article in Amateur Photographer, October 16, 1902)
     
  7. sey

    sey Well-Known Member

    David, 3 great images here.

    Ok, so the 'grain' might be overcooked here for the screen.....I would love to see the 10" x 15" print & personally I'm not a fan of vignetting, even when it was done on a normal day to day basis.

    My point is that these are three completely different moods of sisterly love.

    The original colour/b&w photograph really shows two different moods of spontaneous sisterly affection from the same image. Now if that's legitimate/honest/fair etc.etc. I don't know...........not going there.....all I know is that both images appeal to me greatly. You haven't changed the images, you've changed the moods & that I think is the objective of photography, to capture a mood.

    The 3rd photograph also manages, in a formal sense, to capture the sisterly affection/love. So this too is a good photo. The fact that I, personally, don't like the vignette, is neither here nor there, it doesn't alter the fact that this is a very good photograph that shows the 'love'.

    I think that one of the things - my goodness, dare I say it! - that sells me on digital, is the relatively 'easy' conversion of colour to mono & really increases ones scope.
     
  8. huwevans

    huwevans Not Really Here

    Re: I beg to differ

    No, I didn't say anything about value - value is something individuals attribute to things, it's not something absolute. In any case, what you have described is fully part of the photographic process - I think maybe you need to go back and read what I sad again. What I said was that certain things are photographic processes, and certain things are not. That's just a matter of the objective definitions of the various processes involved. Whether anyone cares about the difference is a matter for them. Personally, I think all the evidence suggests that a lot of people do care about the difference. I dare say it's also the case that a lot of other people don't care about it. But either way, I'm suggesting that that's probably the answer to the question that was asked.

    I didn't say anything that suggested that. Painting is painting - it doesn't purport to be an accurate record of anything, so why would I consider the artist's changes to be 'cheating'? All I said was that I feel (and I know many others do too) about digital manipulation much as I feel about anything else which superficially appears, or is somehow supposed, to have been achieved by one kind of process (photography, in this case), but was actually achieved by some other method entirely (computer graphics). IOW, I feel let down by it. And frankly computer graphics just doesn't interest me as an art form. So naturally I make the distinction.
     
  9. the debate continues

    interesting how you distinguish photography from drawing but also say photography is drawing with light.
    i find your classification of photography some what outmoded, today photography isn't all about silver nitrate and negs, like it or not the photography world is now heavily influenced by the microchip, CCDs and photoshop are just as much photographic tools as a traditional developing tank. im my experience people take up photography because they like making attractive pictures, i understand and respect that some people prefer to leave the original images alone but find it hard to comprehend the view that dodging and burning in the darkroom is somehow more genuine photography than using the latest software to create the same effect.
     
  10. sey

    sey Well-Known Member

    Re: I beg to differ

    Huw, I think you know where I stand on the issue of digital pseudo photography or to put it even more strongly fraudulent digital photography.

    To me the question is, again, where does digital photographic manipulation become computer graphics?

    Is the digital converting of a colour image to mono fraudulent? After all this is quite easily done & is a recognized traditional photographic process too.

    Is the digital adding of 'grain' fraudulent? If the photograph is made on film & then digitally scanned & printed, does this make it more acceptable as a photographic process?

    As David has said, there are a myriad of different 'tricks' in the traditional, purely photographic processes to achieve almost any desired effect & interpretation of a photographer's/artist's insight. These may not always be to one's liking & tastes, but the point is that they are trad. photgraphic processes.

    Going back to the master of the double & multiple exposure 'in camera', Sam Haskins, the question becomes even more complicated. Is his work valid & acceptable because it was done on film & purely by photographic processes while a photo-montage carried out on the computer is not?

    As you well know, when I started talking to you guys here, I had very strong feelings about this subject......and you, amongst others, in your typical Evans' fashion played 'devils advocate' to help me put shades of grey in my very black & white thinking. I still feel strongly about the difference between photography & computer generated graphic art. I, too, feel 'let down/cheated' when things are not what they seem to be, but my problem now is, where is the very out-of-focus line drawn?
     
  11. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Re: I beg to differ

    Have to say that I'm in the camp that couldn't care less how a picture is created if I like the end result. I'm not a huge fan of Photoshoppery either - extensive computer doodling rarely improves an image - but then the same is true of some more traditional methods (cross-processing springs to mind!). I'm personally happy with any technique that lets the photographer/imager/artist/whatever produce the result he/she wanted - I just reserve the right not to like the result.

    Now, for the image in question, I don't think the result looks very much at all like film grain (which I personally consider to be the one thing digital really can't do well at all, FWIW, and maybe the one area where I might thus agree with the "fraudulent" argument), but that doesn't mean that it's not effective in its own way.
     
  12. huwevans

    huwevans Not Really Here

    Re: the debate continues

    Lke it or not, that is the definition of the word - it was coined precisely in order to have that meaning. It is a process of producing an image by the means of light falling on light-sensitive surface - as distinguished from drawing with pen, paint, or whatever.

    What other people want to do, or what they want to call what they do, is of no concern to me, but you asked why digital manipulation is considered as something different from the conventional photographic means of controlling the image, and I'm giving you what I think is the answer - it's a process which is totally removed from the very concept of photography, as it has been understood for more than 150 years. If you think people's reasons are something else, that's fine.
     
  13. sey

    sey Well-Known Member

    Re: the debate continues

    Errrr Huw, when I said that, at the time, the devil's advocate, in fact his whole flipping legal team threw that back at me with.........."it's painting with light on the sensor & not on film, that's the only difference"! ;)
     
  14. Iloca

    Iloca Well-Known Member

    Re: the debate continues

    Ultimately the major difference between shooting film and producing prints in the traditional darkroom and shooting digitally and producing prints via an image editing programme is that film is basically done blind. In that respect it takes a greater degree of skill. That's not to say that there's no skill involved in shooting digitally, it would be utter madness to suggest it. The photographer still has to understand how to use light, how to compose and how to use imaging software to enhance the captured image. However, the ability to view changes in real time simplify the process to some degree.

    A good photograph is a good photograph regardless of the method of capture, but, personally I would consider myself a better photographer if I could capture an image to my satisfaction on film. I do use a DSLR, and yes I do shoot in RAW and work on the image but every alteration I have to make tells me that I got it wrong at the taking stage.

    Richard
     
  15. huwevans

    huwevans Not Really Here

    Re: the debate continues

    No - our conversations which I think you're referring to were about digital photography as oppose to film photography. The question I answered here was about the difference between sofware manipulation of an image as opposed to controlling it by ordinary photographic means, like changing the aperture. That's not a digital-film issue, although it does seem that a number of people are re-interpreting it as that, after the fact.
     
  16. sey

    sey Well-Known Member

    Re: I beg to differ

    Perhaps it's a question of not giving credit where credit is due.

    A photographic retouching artist is a recognised, specific profession. A photographic printer/darkroom worker is a recognised, specific profession. A graphic artist is a recognised, specific profession as is digital/computer graphic artist, etc, etc.

    All of these may be competent and/or even good photographers, but they are first & foremost talented (usually) in their own chosen specific art, and I do believe that each of these fields is an art. They call themselves retouch artists, graphic artists or whatever, they don't call themselves photographers.

    The waters get muddied when photographers believe that they are masters of all, though very, very few are & they need to insist that their dabbling in PS is part of the true photographic process. There is a need to justify their image making, a need to make it 'respectable' & thus will not admit to traditional photography & digital imagery being two different, but both LEGITIMATE, disciplines.

    These are two very different technologies that only share the original act of capturing the light source - and even that in very different ways - as the starting point of producing a photograph or image.

    Our personal likes, dislikes, tastes for the different technologies is completely irrelevent in this discussion, but the acceptance of the fact that these are both completely different, but legitimate technologies is totally relevent.
     
  17. sey

    sey Well-Known Member

    Re: the debate continues

    Yup, those were the discussions and this very point came up as well, 'what is & what isn't photography/digital imaging. I feel here in this dicussion, there is no seperating the film v digital thing when trying to define software manipulation as opposed to ordinary photographic control.

    It's all part & parcel of the same question, which we have done to death, but it's fun to rant again ocassionally.....even if it's a quiet little rant :) ;)
     
  18. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Re: I beg to differ

    You do have a point, Seymour, but on the other hand I like to take at least some control of the process from start to finish - from pressing the button to the final print/slide/computer image. I don't see any difference in intent between what I do on the computer and will shortly be doing again in the darkroom, merely one of tools, so I really don't see the point in getting hung up on labels. I respect Huw's definition of photography, but don't agree with it - I simply don't accept the narrowness of his definition of "writing with light" - and would respectfully suggest that the Cambridge Online Dictionary's definition of a photograph as "an image captured by a camera" provides a more realistic (if simplistic) way of looking at the situation. Of course it makes it virtually impossible to determine where you draw the line between photography and graphic art, but then it's only semantics anyway, so does it matter? :)
     
  19. sey

    sey Well-Known Member

    Re: I beg to differ

    Nick, all I'm saying is that there is a difference & we need to 'label' it because digital graphic artists need to get their due, as well.

    The fact that you are one of the lucky few who are talented enough to be able to be in control from beginning to end, doesn't alter the fact that most aren't & need to accept that fact, maybe it is a case of different strokes.........

    How many great photographers were crappy darkroom technicians and relied solely on these artists to produce the great prints they did, unfortunately generally without the credit they deserved.

    That's why I feel so strongly about the labels.
     
  20. huwevans

    huwevans Not Really Here

    Re: the debate continues

    Well, all I can say is that's certainly not the context that I understood when I composed my reply to the question. My remarks applied purely to the manipulation issue, regardless of the means of capture. After all, a film image can be digitised by scanning and then manipulated in software, just as a digital image can be projected onto light sensitive paper and be manipulated more or less conventionally, or can even be used to create a negative which can be treated in the darkroom in exactly the same way as an original capture on film. The digital-film issue really has nothing at all to do with what I was talking about (because that wasn't the context of the question I was replying to), even if others may have chosen to interpret my comments in that way.
     

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