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Is photoshopping trash ethical?

trash photoshop

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#1 katy-kid

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Posted 23 February 2019 - 12:19 PM

So it pains me to even feel the need to bring up this topic. I am editing images for a potential editorial from Lembeh. In the background of the majority of the images are plastic bags, plastic cups, etc etc. Is this considered a non-ethical move to remove these from each image to showcase a destination that is no longer pristine? I know I am not alone here. I pride myself on using photoshop on a very limited basis and remaining as true to the image as possible, however, obviously no one wants to purchase and/or see rubbish in the images. This is something I thought would be an important topic moving forward as this seems to be the new normal for dive destinations across the globe, (*cries in a corner....)

 

Thanks all.


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#2 Kraken de Mabini

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Posted 23 February 2019 - 12:40 PM

As a many times Lembeh diver, I can confirm the pollution and the depredation of the waters and fish.  The fish and other marine life have decreased markedly, Lembeh Strait has been two thirds cleaned out.  Some ten years ago, Rhinopias were easy to find, and scorpion fish with beautiful colors were abundant.  Now both are gone, captured to sell to aquarium owners.  

As to the ethics of cleaning up or not the photos of Lembeh, my feeling is that it is ethical to show and tell the truth, to provide the public with reliable, accurate information and to let the readers draw their own conclusions.



#3 TimG

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Posted 23 February 2019 - 01:42 PM

Interesting question.

 

I've always thought it's about the image. If the garbage is important to the image, leave it in. If distracts from the image, take it out if you feel that improves things.

 

But then if you are doing a pictorial of Lembeh and you feel that the place is being degraded by trash (and sure sounds like it has got a lot worse), then include it to illustrate what you want to convey,


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#4 CP1962

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Posted 24 February 2019 - 02:45 AM

When i was younger i read American magazine Skindiver. And te reviews of the resorts and diving was always perfect. So we booked trips based on skindiver magazine. Perfect photos of the underwaterworld. But sadly not reliable it was more make believe. We booked a trip to St Lucia, and its was a expensive trip and we dove only two times there because it was very disappointing for us. So please tell the truth and show whats goning on in the world. People make choices based on the photos they see. And the more people go to this polluted areas the less will happen there. So help each other by telling the truth so other divers can make the right choices.

On one our trips we met a travel writer and we saw how this writers are pamperd by the expensive resorts, so we knew from then on its mostly make believe those stories. Sadly. But you can help other divers just to tell and show te truth. Please do.

#5 katy-kid

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Posted 24 February 2019 - 09:42 AM

Hey guys, I really appreciate all the feedback. The issue is, (as we all well may know), most dive publications, (and magazines in general), went from starting out with low budgets, and publishing truthful, bold content to then, as they grew, catering to the advertisers at all costs. They are now are back to having low budgets and are completely embroiled with their advertisers. I have decided to make a compromise and present both: pretty reef images where there is some trash in the background that is distracting, (which I have removed), and images where the trash is in the forefront, where it will remain. I will post these images when they are finished being edited on this forum, so you all can make travel plans based off these accordingly. On a side note, if anyone has suggestions of conservation based publications where these images would be published and appreciated, and wouldn't mind making suggestions, I would greatly appreciate it.


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#6 Kraken de Mabini

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Posted 25 February 2019 - 10:43 AM

I would suggest publishing in on-line publications and websites, as trash is a nasty, growing marine problem.

 

For example: In Ambon the bottom of the bay is literally covered with waste, paper, plastic, you name it.  I found a lovely Rhinopias, took its photo, it was lying on a piece of printed plastic sheet.  I found a huge moray, its body as wide as mine, surrounded by junk...  

When I asked, I was told that the incoming ships dump their garbage into Ambon Bay. Also, the steep hills that surround Ambon Bay have some 24 'rivers'; when it rains the garbage the villages have dumped into the river beds is washed into the bay.  Getting to Ambon was a long, expensive trip, first to Singapore, then Manado, then Ambon with intervening overnight stops, not worth the hardship.

 

Back to Lembeh. In the good old days, a short 8-10 years ago, it was lovely diving, now half the dive sites are a semi-desert.  Protection of all the dive sites and sea life by the government, both national and local, is sorely needed, plus a sharp reduction in the number of divers allowed.   

 

Anything we as divers can do to help control this pollution, well known to be world-wide, may perhaps help.  Given the world's massive overpopulation, our work is cut out for us.


Edited by Kraken de Mabini, 25 February 2019 - 06:40 PM.


#7 DS256

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Posted 26 February 2019 - 05:08 AM

FWIW, adding to the discussion, a photograph is what you saw; a picture is what you create and can convey something entirely different than a photograph. So, for me, it comes down to how best to convey what I saw. 

 

In your difficult case, do you share what you saw or what will support the editorial. They two seem to be in conflict. 



#8 tubestance

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Posted 06 March 2019 - 07:25 AM

This is an interesting subject, and like said above, I think it depends on the purpose of the image. If you composed the image with the trash present, then maybe it should stay there. But if it's a distraction in the background, clone it out. If the image is being used for photojournalism, then nothing should be changed. If used as art, then change everything. If you're pitching the image in magazine destination stories, they likely won't want any trash in there as people won't want to visit. Tough choices! Looking forward to seeing the images.

 

The other big thing here is that divers understand the trash issue, and we talk about it among ourselves incestuously. Real change will be created when we can make an impact outside of our groups and social media buddies...


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#9 Undertow

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Posted 27 March 2019 - 07:19 AM

I'm happy you've even asked the question as all-too-often these days people don't think twice about manipulating the reality of their images. The lines have become so blurred.

 

There's no easy answer, especially if your preferred outlet won't publish pictures with trash. I always err on the side of reality, journalism quality. But often we do want 'clean' images. Sometimes that means collecting trash before shooting a photo!



#10 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 28 March 2019 - 01:37 AM

Had to check this thread to see whether the question was photoshopping it into or out of images! Photographers are well aware that images with trash in can be good sellers and we now show off about taking worthy ‘environmental’ images in the same way we used to humbrag about competition wins. I even hear stories (dunno if they are true) of photographers staging photos of marine life interacting with plastic etc. 

 

To get back on point - I think the most important thing to consider with manipulation - is if you do it - be open and honest about it (including a note about it in the image caption). I don’t think most people have an issue with photoshopping - as long as they are not misled. 

 

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#11 JMAXX

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Posted 17 June 2019 - 06:03 PM

Personally, as a photographer, I like to keep my photos as clean, honest, and true as possible. I like to keep my editing limited to enhancing photos but not to remove something I don't like. I wont take the shot if I don't like what's in it. Most of the time I am trying to tell a story and I want to attract my audience to what I see in person while be honest to my audience as well. I find it discrediting sometimes when I find professional photographers who "photocrop" their photos often. 

 

Personal opinion though and thanks for the post. Its an interesting topic.

 

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