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Is it art or is it reality?


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#61 pmooney

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Posted 14 September 2006 - 11:34 PM

The latest one of these I notcied was a Rhinopias aphanes supposedly from Bali, try PNG or the Coral Seas! I would hazard a guess the shot was actually taken around Loloata Dive Resort. I have seen a few videos of this very same fish, supposedly from Indonesia, though the footage must have came from elsewhere!



I guess it was the "Fin Print " that gave them up.

#62 John Bantin

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 01:01 AM

I guess uncaring art editors will shovel the pictures in where they think fit. Thus you might see a scalloped hammerhead photographed in blue water at Cocos illustrating an article about scalloped hammerheads in the Maldives. On the other hand, my article about bull-shark attacks in Florida in the Daily Mail (a tabloid newspaper not necessarily known for its integrity!) was inevitably illustrated with a shot of a great-white with its head out of the water!
Even the picture of the snorkeller with the humpback gives me no problem - provided it represents what actually happened. Did it?
(I have always had great problems photographing people watching mantas. I have lots of shots of mantas but people are so unpredictable it's hard to get the right relationship between the subjects in the camera. I have no problem if the people were there and the manta was there but were recorded moments apart - as on separate frames.
The original question was, Is is art or is it reality? Art has no boundaries in what the artist may do. If a picture is presented as representing reality, it should be factually correct.

Well, that's what I think! :blink:

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#63 MikeVeitch

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 01:17 AM

i got lots of photos of people and mantas John... next time you get a request... pass it on, i need the money... :blink:

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#64 John Bantin

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 01:24 AM

i got lots of photos of people and mantas John... next time you get a request... pass it on, i need the money... :D


See what I mean Mike?... Photoshop has done you out of that cash! :blink:

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#65 Kelpfish

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 01:49 AM

Alex wrote: Do you feel that there is a tendency for photographers to accuse each other of Photoshopping whenever they seen an images that represents something new or difficult to achieve?

In direct answer to Alex's question: My opinion is no. I think in most cases (digi cases) good photographers can afford to try new things without risking running out of film. They sometimes get dynamite images as you have suggested. However, I look at a lot of U/W pics and I do say that is PS'd. Why? Well as I have stated a number of times on Wetpixel, since the advent of digi I have never in 30 years of this stuff seen so many perfectly black, backscatter free negative spaces from people who've only been diving for 1-2-3 years. From experience with years of film, getting a pure black, backscatter free negative space is not a frequent occurrence. I pulled out some SkinDiver mags from the 70's and 80's and I couldn't find one nicely dark background. So yes, I am one of the few who can look at an image and accuse it of being PS'd. Asking me if it is wrong is a whole nother issue (I answer this in the purest of sense as you asked :blink: ), but many images of this type have been PS'd or those photographers are doing something that most of us long-time shooters haven't yet figured out. Doubilet still doesn't correct his images. He just keeps the backscatter in. :glare: However, look at it this way: Is it art or reality? Reality is that it's daytime, so the water is lit and clear with no particulate matter floating. A diver comes upon an animal sitting on top of a rock with lots of sand. Everything is setteled and clean, the scene is pretty with the blue water and clear gin surroundings. (reality). Then that photographer sets his f-stop at f22, stirs up the bottom in excitement and nabs an image with a black negative space with backscatter. He then proceeds to clean up the backscatter in PS and likes the black negative space (ART). It is no longer the "reality" of the scene and thus I'd clump it into art (unless he sells it as a night diving shot :D ). I think one can look at this question from many perspectives and draw many opinions and conclusions. This can get to be a really long, yet informative topic. Good question.
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#66 mrbubbles

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 06:20 AM

Any coments on the difference if any between manipulation and enhancement . For example where does cleanup fall to you guys

#67 Paul Kay

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 06:58 AM

OK here goes. You can't see backscatter when you shoot an image (as its reflected flash illumination) so isn't reality more accurately portrayed by editing it out? Given that is that reality is being seved by producing a two dimensional image of a three dimensional scene and producing the coluors within it by adding light which does not naturally occur there.

There's adjusment, optimisation, enhancement and manipulation (and no doubt many more descriptions too). You can choose the one you prefer to describe what you do, but as I've said before, we're looking at all this from a film perspective. Digital photography is not film and if we'd never had film I wonder how these descriptions would be viewed (if even considered).

I personally consider it better photographic practice to light an underwater subject well (after all good images are all about the way we use light) and then edit any resulting backscatter out if possible. This will yield a better image that lighting it poorly and having no backscatter BUT surely the point is realising that this technique can be used and shooting accordingly. If you don't realise it can be used then your pictures can never benefit from advances in technology.
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#68 mrbubbles

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 08:49 AM

You can remove backscatter by anything from cloning, to bluring, noise filters,cropping , or multiple other methods. Maybe its time we stop comparing digital to film, throw out the past, and set "acceptable digital adjustments' , or standards , vs manipulation on its own. Its a paradim shift digital photography, not film.

#69 John Bantin

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 10:35 AM

Surely, it doesn't matter whether the image was scanned at the moment of taking the picture or if it was digitised (the film was scanned - on a high quality film scanner) later?

My half million pictures have now got a new lease of life because instead of presenting film with all its defects to art editors, I send in Photoshop tiffs. They can't tell if they were shot on film camera or a digital camera - neither do they care!

But I can retouch the tiffs whereas I couldn't retouch the film.

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?

 

#70 Kelpfish

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 10:50 AM

With film, you could scan it, manipulate it and output it back to film.

And I respectfully disagree that you cannot see backscatter when you shoot. Albeit there are some instances when floating particulate matter is ghosted by the negative space color and texture, and I will aslo conceed that there are particles that are so minute that you simply cannot see them with the naked eye until you exaggerate them with strobe light. But by in large, you can see floating matter most of the time, especially if you are shooting in sandy terrain, and where water movement is present. But there are times (and many of them) when a diver is the cause of the scatter. If the diver weren't present, then it's possible that neither would the floating particles. So your point (PGK's point) is well taken. But what about those shots where there was suspended particulate matter (snot during spring, for example) and that F*&^s up your image. Should you manipulate it because in the winter the water in that same spot is crystal clear? Or keep it reality? Personally, I would fix it up. Why not? But there are so many "what if's" and like Alex started:

Do we consider minute floating particles that the eye cannot see as "real" and therfore art if you remove?
Do lenses create instant art and eliminate any "reality" in any image?
Do strobes create instant art since we all know the "reality" of color dissipation with depth?
Does the skill of a photographer create images that the lay mind cannot interpret when they visit that same diving location, making it art and not reality?
Does using F-stops, EV, rear curtian sync, and Shutter speeds to control light and motion create instant art?
Does what the human eye see when we are diving represent only reality? (afterall we have a mask on that gives us the ability to see things clearly and larger than they really are, so is our perception distorted? Maybe how we see things is actually art.

Dunno. Need another beer.
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#71 John Bantin

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 10:59 AM

Hey JB,
Art is art. That's OK.

It's when art is presented as being reality, I get confused!

(What's wrong with a bit of extra smoke in an arty picture of Beirut? Nothing. What's wrong with extra smoke in a news report picture? A lot.)

All the best

JB

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#72 Kelpfish

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 11:07 AM

Hey JB,

You just answered the question of how the universe was formed. Great little summary.

JB
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#73 tdpriest

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 12:08 PM

I think that Joe's view of backscatter is wrong, and it's a neurophysiological phenomenon that cuts, in my mind, to the heart of the debate (if the pro photographers can use their expertise on wetpixel, then I can inflict some of mine on you, too. I trained in neurophysiology, in lobsters, before graduating into the mysteries of human medicine..).

A photographic image is usually a frozen moment, especially with strobes. In particular, any particle that reflects light is fixed into the image. The eye and the brain just don't work that way. What happens is much MORE like creating that abomination, a Photoshop composite: as each cell in the retina responds to light a message is sent into the brain, where it is stored briefly in a "map", a bit like the raster on a CMOS chip. The "pixel" is compared to the adjacent "pixel", and then interpreted as a spot of light, a line, or an edge, perhaps with colour attached, and sent on for further processing. The brain doesn't understand this information until it is compared to the "memory" of previous sights, and to a mental model of the world. This is one of the reasons for the great colour discrepancy between chip or film and the eye.

In a way, because the image is built up over time, it's rather like one of Leigh Bishop's deep wreck photographs, or one of Alex's composites. It is also exactly like a painting, or a sketch. The physiology of vision is MEANT to take a blurry image and render a sharp perception, filtering out noise that would confuse the image in the process, and putting meaning into the image by interpreting or labelling the shapes' lines and colours projected (upside down) onto the retina.

Which of these more honestly reflects the experience of being there?

071b_Anderson_1505_1_22.jpg 071c_Anderson_bridge.jpg

They say different things, of course. Yes the visibility was poor, but the EXPERIENCE was razor sharp (the wreck is the USS Anderson, lying in 54m on the bottom of Bikini atoll).

Tim

B)

And the shark really WAS there...
... but a 10.5mm fisheye was never going to show her.

Tim

B)

#74 mrbubbles

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 12:20 PM

I agree with john, thats the bottom lineof the issue art is art, intent or the "criminal mind',and is where the trouble occurs

#75 Kelpfish

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 12:22 PM

My opinion on backscatter is from experience, not from a book, academia or someones theorem.
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#76 Paul Kay

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Posted 15 September 2006 - 12:38 PM

I knew trouble was brewing!

"It's when art is presented as being reality, I get confused!"

But WHAT is reality?
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#77 tdpriest

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Posted 16 September 2006 - 04:47 AM

Joe is still wrong.
Try the following experiment:

Go diving.
Concentrate on the backscatter. Can you see the fish? No!
Concentrate on the fish. Can you see the backscattter? ... no!

You only see the different elements when they are integrated by your brain. Not a book, not a theory, but how the world works. We have detailed vision in only a tiny part of the visual field. When we look at an image, we shrink the image onto that small area and can grasp the whole thing much faster than when we see the world spread out from left to right.

I am very happy to take advice from professional photographers, or, indeed, any photographers. I expect a similar tolerance when it comes to my own hard-won professional expertise.

(The experiment also works if you use car number plates and trees, for those who can't immediately jump into the water).

Tim

B)

#78 MikeVeitch

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Posted 16 September 2006 - 05:46 AM

Tim, come dive with me, i can show you lots of "potential" backscatter just scant feet from where i type this in the murky harbour...

Notice the brackets.... but yes, shite water will lead to backscatter

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#79 Paul Kay

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Posted 16 September 2006 - 09:22 AM

I think that the point is being missed. Tim make the point well - you cannot see backscatter. Yes, you can see particulates in the water if you look, but backscatter is defined as strobe (flash) light reflected from these particulates and as this takes place faster than the eye/brain system can view it, for all intents and puropses it cannot actually be seen!

Sure you can predict that it will be in a photograph - based on the amount of suspended particulates present - but I defy anyone to predict the detailed backscatter precisely as it will occur in a final image - it cannot be done.

Hence the assertion that it is not visible and as such isn't part of the image as seen or envisaged, so does not represent reality (whatever that is).
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#80 MikeVeitch

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Posted 16 September 2006 - 02:08 PM

I think that the point is being missed. Tim make the point well - you cannot see backscatter. Yes, you can see particulates in the water if you look, but backscatter is defined as strobe (flash) light reflected from these particulates and as this takes place faster than the eye/brain system can view it, for all intents and puropses it cannot actually be seen!



Alright, i will agree with that... good summary Paul

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