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Is it art or is it reality?


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#21 MikeVeitch

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 06:06 AM

oi Tim... stop using logic and sense....

This is supposed to be about emotion!!




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#22 Giles

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 06:07 AM

Fitting quite well in this thread .. has everyone seen This Thread which has a link to a photoshop tutorial .. where the result are:

BEFORE
Posted Image
and
AFTER
Posted Image

great example from Saeed of the power of photoshop .. amazing differences.
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#23 Kelpfish

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 06:15 AM

Hi Mike,

Being that I am trimming back my java consumption, I was weary eyed and still scratching myself at 6 a.m. Nonetheless, what I meant was oversaturation, creating an image on LSD as opposed to naturally occurring colors that we see as divers. I am not against adjusting saturation at all, just overcooking the pic to have them look like you shot it at the skittles factory.

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#24 cor

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 06:56 AM

It all has to do with context. I think it's perfectly fine to improve an image for certain goals. What, you think all those models in magazines or on tv actually look like that? For other purposes it's not fine, as we recently saw with the altered images from iraq. It doesnt matter if it's a digital image or not.

The whole discussion about digital is moot. Digital is here, it's here to stay, and it has mostly replaced slides and film. End of discussion. You can have romantic dreams about how things used to be, and how that was art, but thats pointless. It's another form of art, but no better or worse. It was just different.

I think you can clean up your images and sell them to whomever wants them, if it fits their submission rules. If they say they want unaltered images, then dont submit altered images. When in doubt, ask.

Yes, this totally changes (no, has totally changed is more like it) the playing field of underwater imaging. No longer do you need to have in-camera perfection to be able to sell and make money on this line of work. Yes, this means it is no longer a line of work where only the top 50 make any kind of money (not necessarily a profit though) Im sure that sucks if you're in that top 50. But this is not new, and not limited to photography. In any field where technology has handed tools to make things easier, the old-style artisans have lost their foothold.

Personally, I really respect the artisans that have evolved with the times and are using their knowledge, style and maybe fame to keep their top position in this changed field. I think that is a more positive attitude, and a realistic attitude, than calling everyone with a digital camera a cheater.

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#25 Paul Kay

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 07:04 AM

The ability to adjust/enhace/manipulate an image exists, won't go away and has both very positive and very negative aspects (like so many other things). I'm giving a talk at BSOUP this month and will show what I consider to be very posivie aspects of digital adjustments within natural history photography. The ethics of adjustment are as complex as the unanswerable question that John poses - art or reality. Both are in the eye of the beholder I suspect.

Alex raises an interesting point though, which is the time taken to adjust and make some images viable - it can take hours! Consider this though. I shoot in temperate conditions where the weather is a constant factor affecting visibility and light levels. Its also substantially seasonal. It can be very effective to adjust an image rather than have to find a saeson/weather window in which to reshoot.

Also think that manipulation of a subject takes many forms, some of which are of extreme dubiousness to even the least ethically minded person. Is a film shot image of a restrained or narcotised creature better or worse than a digitally manipulated one?
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#26 John Bantin

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 10:39 AM

The point is that retouching skills are available to the masses when in the past they were only used by those with large budgets. Are you going to retouch the pictures of your spouse to make him/her look slimmer, maybe more hair, a better complexion? Maybe substitute a picture of someone else altogether?

Will you complain if you go somewhere that you were led to believe had gin-clear conditions from the pictures you saw in magazines only to find you were sold a Photoshop idea or how gin-clear it could be?

I buy my own photographic kit. Diving equipment manufacturers and diving services suppliers get even-handed treatment from me whether they choose to advertise in the publications I write for or not. All the equipment I get on loan is returned as soon as it is finished with. Did you know you can now get Diver Mag as an iPad/Android app?

 

#27 Paul Kay

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 12:00 PM

"Will you complain if you go somewhere that you were led to believe had gin-clear conditions from the pictures you saw in magazines only to find you were sold a Photoshop idea of how gin-clear it could be?"

I thought that this was called advertising???
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#28 Giles

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 01:22 PM

I thought that this was called advertising???

It is called advertising .. however .. in this day an age of internet .. we expect to have information at our finger tips and we expect it to be truthfull ... of course different cultures like information differentl .. some not naming any northern american countries at all .. like to be over sensationalised for shock factor or perhaps just hide the truth all together .. or perhaps fabricate something the masses will like. (it's interesting living with different TV than I grew up with)

The internet as it has done with finding prices on goods has let us look around more and find our own views that we each prefer ..

so with that in mind .. i dont know what my answer would be as to what sort of images I would rather see .. I guess it depends on the circumstances.
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#29 Kelpfish

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 01:36 PM

To John's point, though, if you put something in an ad that isn't a reality, it's false advertising. I have seen ads of cold water spots using warm water tropical fish in them. That's the risk with ads because anyone these days can us PS or similar tools but those blokes in the room working on the ad may not know their ass from a hole in the ground with respect to the marine environment, and maybe even the resort owners don't know because they are hospitality experts not diving and marine life gurus. This, combined with tools that allow just about anyone to create ads and tweak photos and make montages, can easily mislead people because the people creating the ads don't know any better. A lot of diving resort ads these days don't use a lot of underwater pics because their diving sucks, so they use a lot of topside shots, like of food, a colorfully dressed dancer, a sunset, a smiling diver, etc and then talk about how great the diving is. Is that false advertising? My take on these kind of ads is that the diving blows.
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#30 John Bantin

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 01:44 PM

Advertisers have always had the money to retouch. Let's try and separate advertising from editorial content. (I know that is difficult for those of you who live in countries where the media is totally driven by the advertisers and not the readership - and evidently North Wales!)

Now editorial content, which in Europe has always had what we call integrity, is now vulnerable to highly retouched submissions from Jo Public that editors like because they look nice but do not reflect what a place is like when you get there. Surely, it's as bad as illustrating a piece on Turkey with shots taken in the Red Sea - isn't it?.

I buy my own photographic kit. Diving equipment manufacturers and diving services suppliers get even-handed treatment from me whether they choose to advertise in the publications I write for or not. All the equipment I get on loan is returned as soon as it is finished with. Did you know you can now get Diver Mag as an iPad/Android app?

 

#31 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 02:38 PM

Following the same argument (to a flippant conclusion) perhaps we should also ban skilled photographers from shooting for travel features as they will often make a place look nicer than it is! When diving for my first book, the writer (who's day job is a diving travel journalist) would often look at my pictures after a joint dive and no believe they were taken on the same dive he had just been on.

Being slightly more serious - i think that extreme lenses such as fisheyes and super-dooper macro lenses do not show the marine environment in a representative way - and could certainly be considered more misleading about what someone could expect to see in an area, than cleaning backscatter out of a picture or cloning out an errant fish.

And I think that there is a wider issue of why people read diving magazines in the first place. Often it is not just for information, but also to be entertained. I will always read John's reviews on kit, even if it is kit I would never own for my type of diving - because I enjoy reading his opinions.

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#32 photovan

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 06:29 PM

Manipulate; ma·nip·u·late
To move, arrange, operate, or control by the hands or by mechanical means, especially in a skillful manner: She manipulated the lights to get just the effect she wanted.

This issue goes to the heart of a lot of "ty's - integrity, ability and our credibility, creativity.

I get annoyed when the word manipulate is seen in some way as derogitory or demeaning. I think the trouble stems from the fact that it seems to be used an easy alternative to "composite" or "combine" or "edit".

You manipulate all kinds of things to make a photograph - hey that's what we do- we manipulate light, perspective, zones of sharpness, exposure, tone (before digital by film choice, or in the darkroom), reflectivity (polarising filters)... there are many, many more, but you've got the point.
And I agree the great photographers (the Ansel Adams example) have always been the best manipulators.

A statement like No sir, I no longer manipulate anything to make my images. would mean you are longer a photographer, but merely a picture snapper, like all those folks with mobile phone cameras.

But here-in lies a fundamental premise...

I think there needs to be a HUGE distinction between manipulating tone, colour, localised tone/contrast and saturation etc of a capture versus adding, subtracting or moving content to make a new scene that did not exist in the capture.

Those of us that have been around the photo industry for a long time have seen it all before. I have NO PROBLEM per se with composite images, and feel they can be the best way to portray a subject, and I use those techniques myself in some of my commercial work, as they can at times do a job that one-capture-photographs can not do. We'd all find it difficult not to use the tools that our competitors use.

However I do think we have a responsibility to the viewer, to help them know what is true and what is not. We can never expect to see digital composites labelled as such, but if we want our unmanipulated images to be appreciated for what they are, we should start making a point of it, and being pro-active in labelling them as such.

In the long run, the "market place" (ie the final consumers of the images) will make its own decision about our credibility, as image makers. Anyone who has put their work in front of the public regularly knows that the craft is becoming less well respected as time passes (but I am sure this has always been the case as things have gotten easier - think the introduction of glass plates, gelatin film bases, rolls of film, cameras you can carry one handed, light meters, light meters built into cameras, auto exposure, auto focus, zooms, scanning, image stabilisers, digital capture).

It would be nice to be held in more regard than used car salesman, lawyers and real estate agents, and politicians (who are always manipulating stuff).
darren

Edited by photovan, 07 September 2006 - 06:35 PM.

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#33 John Bantin

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 09:08 PM

So here is a self-portrait after I finally got finished retouching it.

Attached Images

  • DSCF6736.jpg

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#34 mattdiver

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 10:24 PM

This one has obviously been touched up to make you look slimmer :rolleyes:

#35 John Bantin

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 10:27 PM

In these circumstances, we must be careful to distinguish between retouching and touching up!

I buy my own photographic kit. Diving equipment manufacturers and diving services suppliers get even-handed treatment from me whether they choose to advertise in the publications I write for or not. All the equipment I get on loan is returned as soon as it is finished with. Did you know you can now get Diver Mag as an iPad/Android app?

 

#36 MikeVeitch

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Posted 07 September 2006 - 10:31 PM

but.....

i think you looked better in your old avatar...

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#37 Paul Kay

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 01:08 AM

"Let's try and separate advertising from editorial content. (I know that is difficult for those of you who live in countries where the media is totally driven by the advertisers and not the readership - and evidently North Wales!)"

So how many magazine editors do you know who would publish a photo of Snowdon (highest mountain in (North) Wales fo anyone not famiar) in the drizzle John? Except to make a specific point, I would guess that the answer is very, very few. Most editors will choose a nice sunny view with blue skies despite drizzle possibly being a mite more common. So are editors manipulating the image of North Wales simply by making a choice - you bet! Advertising and editorial are to a degree inseperable.

And as Alex points out choice of lens has an enormous effect too.

There was never a less true statement than'the camera never lies'!

But attempting to represent a subject 'truthfully' has a wide variety of meanings and is dependent on its audience as well as its creator. And I suspect a lot of wetpixelers migt be a tad disappointed at meeting you in the flesh after that intriguing 'photoshopped' self-portrait..........

As for whether its art - the audience is the beholder!
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#38 MikeVeitch

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 01:19 AM

actually Paul i have met john in the flesh... and his chest needed a lot more support than you see in that pic..

:rolleyes:

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#39 Paul Kay

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 01:21 AM

Mike, I was being polite......
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#40 MikeVeitch

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Posted 08 September 2006 - 01:34 AM

so was i... or should i say generous... hahahah

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