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Are to many photos being manipulated

Discussion in 'Retouching and Post Processing' started by WHISTLING_WINGS, Oct 18, 2005.

  1. I'm finding to many images are being changed so much the oridginal image is not much like it, so is it a photograph? or a digital creation? I personally think manipulation should be minimum and resemble the image as it was shot.
  2. nfoto

    nfoto Guest

    This is a common but simplified approach to photography. The answer is that all photography can be construed as "manipulation" since we collate data over more dimensions than in which we present the data later on. Thus, we shoot 3-dimensional objects with a possible change along time (4th dimension), and present this as an image in 2 dimensions. In mathematical terms we have mapped the subject into a lower dimensionality and thus it is "manipulated". Not to speak of the subjectivity considering what is to be within the frame of composition and what is left out, more or less on purpose.

    The very first photograph, that of the chimneys and roofs of Paris taken by Nipece, clearly was manipulated. The chimneys had shadows on both sides. Such is not the observed reality for our eyes. But that picture had collapsed 8 hours of daylight into a single frame, hence the apparent discrepancy.

    If you regard all photography as lying, then you are better able to see which images are "manipulated" and which ones are not (as perceived by the observer, of course).
  3. Well it's true, and some of us even think we can drive photography to a different level by ... shooting again on the computer this time. :wink:
  4. jfrancis


    May 8, 2005
    Orlando, FL
    Interesting perpective by Bjørn. Personally, I think it's all about the image and not so much as how it was produced, although my PS skills are not enough to 'rescue' too many bad originals.
  5. Digital photos are pixel representations of what we see. They are not the same as traditional film based photograghy which require chemical processing. Are you saying the pixels should not be changed for any reason otherwise a photo has lost its integrity? To me a photo should represent the vision of the photographer, whether manipulated or not. I think if would be unfortunate if a photgrapher's creativity were limited by the inability to digitally transform an image in time and space.

    That doesn't mean we don't need to know how to focus, expose and light what we see. It just means that the digital era has just given us new tools with which to represent our interpretations and understanding of the world we live in.

    Digital film gives us new territories to explore. It makes me feel like a kid in a candy store and the first woman on the moon!

    Help, I'm hooked!

    aka beaucamera
  6. MontyDog


    Jan 30, 2005
    #1064 - You have an error in your SQL syntax;
  7. general


    Apr 30, 2005
    Remember the objective

    I am not a PJ and am not interested in documenting life ala Jacob Riis or some other world class photographer. I am interested in creating a work of
    ?art? that pleases me. I hope that it will please others but it must please me. An image that is created by an artist out of "whole cloth" in PhotoShop is not ugly because it was not created in a camera and unsullied by human hands. I have no right to criticize a photographer because he has used PhotoShop to realize his/her objective.
  8. Chris101


    Feb 2, 2005
    I'm entirely of two minds about this.

    As an artist, I like the fact that computer control and digital photography have made such a wonderful union. It is the BEST medium for creating images in line with my personal vision EVAR!!!

    As a participant of the world view, I miss the absolute certainty of the old notion of the photograph: photos don't lie. From it's inception, until the early 80's, the photograph was taken as a 2-dimensional representation (to use the quasi-mathematical terminology, a 1:1 mapping) of reality onto a picture. If you could present a photo of something, the thing was proved.

    Granted, there were some early attempts at photo-manipulation. The famous photos of comisars being removed from Stalin's presence is an example. However, these attempts at changing a photo were easy to detect as fakes. In the 1976 the innocently titled, but extremely contageous Creative Darkroom Techniques' was published by Kodak.


    This book was aimed at those film photographers who had the time and curiosity to explore the realms of masking, blending, re-coloring and other procedures we wouldn't think of doing without a computer these days (remember kodalith, ruby mask and swivel knives?) It created a class of early adopters of computerized photo-manipulation software. These few photographers in 1984 who began using software such as MacPaint and Digital Darkroom to work on photos grew into the overwhelming majority today who use some sort of digital 'enhancement' of their photos.

    So, until a new basic technology comes along which can freeze a slice of reality, photography as the representative of the Truth is dead. Long live Digital!
  9. An age old discussion. Ansel Adams was a master in the darkroom and his prints were much better than the original scene in many of his photographs. As I have said before, I have sandwiched slides, used high speed film to create grain, put moons where there were none, even touched up slides by stippling with a fine brush. Now my darkroom is the computer and it is soooo much easier. I see nothing wrong with making an image better through manipulation. I am in good company with many of the old masters from the past.
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 20, 2005
  10. RayGuselli


    Oct 18, 2005
    My first post in this forum demonstrates a point


    Just made ny first post in this forum to introduce myself and I have demonstrated the processing fad admirably.

    I am a keen "retoucher" and tend to deliberately go OTT - I suppose I have developed a style. Certainly not to everyone's taste but then I process the images for fun and to see how far I can take them. I love for example taking a dull dreary shot and completely manipulating it.

    So I suppose my view is that there is nothing wrong in manipulation to whatever level. It is fun and of course the original is always there to view.

    Retouching is a great hobby and adds to the actual taking of the shot. Perhaps we should consider and accept both for what they are - one a photograph straight out of camera and the other, someone working with an image to develop a theme......perhaps?

    There is room for both....I think.

    Just a thought.

    Best wishes

  11. Bjørn, as much as I respect the depth of your knowledge I would humbly like to make a tiny correction.

    Joseph Nicéphore Niépce took the heliograph(sun drawing) in south France...Saint-Loup-de-Varennes I believe.
    I do admit plenty of other interesting things have taken place in Paris during the last couple dozen centuries as I recall...nothing against Paris.
    Here is the address:

    Maison Nicéphore Niépce,
    Bistrot de la Photographie
    2 rue Nicéphore Niépce
    71240 Saint-Loup-de-Varennes

    I happen to have valuable neurons occupied by this bit of trivia because his original heliograph is on permanent display at the University of Texas in Austin. It is behind very thick protective security glass tilted at such an angle as to make the image, at best, barely barely discernible. The image we commonly know as that of Niépce has been massively post-processed to bring out something recognizable as rooftops, chimneys and walls. Apparently there was quite a debate as to which post processed version actually reflects the scarcely discernible image on the metal plate.

    I saw it last week. Free six days a week for anyone so inclined.
    Adjacent to it, about 25 feet away, is an intact Gutenberg bible.
    Not insignificantly 50 feet the other way are the 126 Ansel Adams prints that I discussed in another thread. Free to view until 1/1/06

    How the amazing original happened to end up in Austin, Texas is in the UT link.

    Some links:




    I love trivia.
    Camera obscura means dark room or dark chamber. For millenia it has been observed that a tiny hole in the wall casts an image of the outside image, inverted, on the opposite wall. 19th century chemistry geeks like Nicéphore Niépce put the principal to work. Nikon eventually perfected the technique :wink: ....so here we are.

    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 22, 2005
  12. nfoto

    nfoto Guest

    I stand corrected as to the location of the shot :redface: No access to the GPS data of its EXIF header. But at least the author and the country were correct :smile:
  13. Bjorn, I hope I didn't offend with my nit-picking about a detail.

    Had I not just recently stumbled across the heliography and read it's accompanying info your post would have been more than I knew. Furthermore, I'm impressed with the European appreciation for history. It's quite nice that the site of the shot has been restored and preserved.

    Good day

  14. nfoto

    nfoto Guest

    Neither offense intended nor taken, Vernon.

    I'm a little surprised that's all because the notion of "Paris" in conjunction with the Niepecé photo is so deeply engrained in the photo history books. But it's never too late to brush up on your knowledge base, I guess :smile:

  15. Not your fault, Bjorn.

    A little known fact: The EXIF information from the original 19th century plate was inadvertently and tragically deleted and lost forever. The incident occurred when a University of Texas photo archiver was doing restoration work. Fortuitously the EXIF info was replaced with a top-secret margarita drink recipe from one of Austin's best Mexican restaurants where the researcher tended bar on weekends.
    Funny how history works. :biggrin:
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