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Thread: So is photography not just photography?

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    Default So is photography not just photography?

    Hi

    Recently took an interest in photography.
    Started researching and looking at what people are doing.

    Mainly those with an interest in exhibiting their work and fine art.
    I have noticed this trend of major photo manipulation. With image editing software being easier than ever to use it now seems odd to expect an original photo.

    So is then still photography or is then just digital pictures... paintings based off of photography.
    Referring to stuff like wolves being photo shopped into a picture etc.

    I entered a challenge and the rules stated no image manipulation allowed. And yet the some people are going about with adding or removing entire elements from the photos.

    A quick google search on fine art photography will soon reveal it is no longer fine art photography but in face Photoshop skills through and through. Is this now normal?

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    Quote Originally Posted by crocopede View Post
    I have noticed this trend of major photo manipulation.
    Oh you mean like Ansel Adams himself that used to manipulate skies in the darkroom and so? This debate has been going on for so long and it's pretty much pointless from most aspects in my opinion. If you are a journalist tasked with telling a story 'as real as it gets' then I'll argue they have an obligation to keep it as real as possible. If you're a photographer on any other aspect it's pretty much up to your own discretion in conveying an image or story, there are no rules.
    "He who speaks without modesty will find it difficult to make his words good."

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    Quote Originally Posted by prOd View Post
    Oh you mean like Ansel Adams himself that used to manipulate skies in the darkroom and so? This debate has been going on for so long and it's pretty much pointless from most aspects in my opinion. If you are a journalist tasked with telling a story 'as real as it gets' then I'll argue they have an obligation to keep it as real as possible. If you're a photographer on any other aspect it's pretty much up to your own discretion in conveying an image or story, there are no rules.
    Fair enough. I am just trying to understand if it is then still considered photography.
    I am all in favor of manipulating an image.

    I think my gripe is due to one of the weekly assignments where the rules state no photo manipulation allowed. And they still passed the assignment even though their work was mostly photoshop.

    So im sour because i went through the effort of creating cut outs to manipulate shadows in real life. And they just go an photoshop stuff.

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    Quote Originally Posted by crocopede View Post
    A quick google search on fine art photography will soon reveal it is no longer fine art photography but in face Photoshop skills through and through. Is this now normal?
    In a word: yes.

    That said, the Photoshoppers will argue - correctly - that image manipulation has taken place in every darkroom ever built. It's all part of the creative process.

    It's up to the individual to decide who is right and who is wrong.

    NB: If you haven't already done so, research Henri Cartier-Bresson. Your thinking appears to be similar to his.

    He believed in composing his photographs in the viewfinder, not in the darkroom. He showcased this belief by having nearly all his photographs printed only at full-frame and completely free of any cropping or other darkroom manipulation.[3] He insisted that his prints were not cropped as they include the first few millimeters of the unexposed negative around the image area, resulting in a black frame around the developed picture.

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    Quote Originally Posted by crocopede View Post
    I think my gripe is due to one of the weekly assignments where the rules state no photo manipulation allowed. And they still passed the assignment even though their work was mostly photoshop.

    So im sour because i went through the effort of creating cut outs to manipulate shadows in real life. And they just go an photoshop stuff.
    I think that highlights a failure from either the course or the instructors of the course, typically contests that allow a minimum amount of manipulation would ask for the RAW files as well.
    "He who speaks without modesty will find it difficult to make his words good."

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    Well yes, as others have said.
    I would say it also depends on the person taking the photos.
    Myself the most editing I do with my photos is using lightroom to
    enhance colours or brighten up photos that came out dark.
    “Evil begins when you begin to treat people as things.”
    ― Terry Pratchett

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    This debate tends to include two forms of image manipulation. There is the type where the exposure and colour balance is adjusted, and maybe a light crop is applied. This method does not alter the overall content of the image. The other form of manipulation is more on the level of pixel manipulation, where elements are added and removed, and often several different images are combined.

    The form where elements are added or removed was the popular trend of the late 19th and early 20th century, and was known as pictorialism (obviously Photoshop was not used at that stage). After everyone go sick of it the modernist movement took over. The modernist approach (which excludes pixel level manipulation) is the dominant style that perseveres up to the present, although some claim that we are in a late modernist period artistically. There also those who say we are in the postmodernist phase, which may be the case if they ever get around to a proper definition of what that cool and intellectual sounding term actually means.

    The pictorialist approach of heavy image manipulation has made something of a return simply because current software makes it easy. It is however difficult to get this accepted as proper fine art since it was worked to death a century ago and regurgitated endlessly since, there is far too much precedence.

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    I am not against color adjustments / tone etc.
    Even cropping is sometimes required if not most of the time.

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