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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 09 Oct 2014 (Thursday) 07:59
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Is it still a photograph if you.....

 
Tom ­ Reichner
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Oct 10, 2014 11:21 |  #46

Naturalist wrote in post #17204413 (external link)
Merriam-Webster defines "Photograph" as "a picture or likeness obtained by photography".

They also define "Photography" as: "the art or process of producing images by the action of radiant energy and especially light on a sensitive surface (as film or an optical sensor)."

So, technically, what you have done is created a photograph when you recorded the original image in your camera. Altering it afterwards, as you have described, tells me that you are also a skilled graphic artist.

Clear as mud?

Doug,

Thank you for posting this - for the purposes of this discussion, and for the purposes of answering the OP's question in a technically accurate, semantically correct manner, I think it is necessary to have a precise definition of "photography" and/or of "photograph".

I agree with Webster's definition. Photography is what is done when we produce the original image, then we combine other skills/arts/processes in order to make prints or edited/converted digital images. Heck, just turning a file from RAW format to jPeg format requires a process that is not photography!


"Your" and "you're" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"They're", "their", and "there" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"Fare" and "fair" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one. The proper expression is "moot point", NOT "mute point".

  
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airfrogusmc
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Oct 10, 2014 11:27 |  #47

If you let the camera do it or you do it you are still altering it in some way. Looking for the truth in photographs is just like trusting a lie. Here's a couple of much smarter and more articulate folks with far more cred than I have on the subject.

An interesting thought by John Szarkowski.
"What the photographer taking the picture and the historian viewing it must understand is that while the camera deals with recording factual things and events that form the subject of the photograph, it only produces a perceived reality that is remembered after the thing or event has passed. While people believe that photographs do not lie, this is an illusion caused by the mistaken belief that the subject and the picture of the subject is the same thing."- John Szarkowski

"Because we see reality in different ways, we must understand that we are looking at different truths rather than the truth and that, therefore, all photographs lie in one way or another. Today's technological advances in digital manipulation of images that the public sees regularly in photographs and films now only makes it easier to understand what has always been true."- John Szarkowski

"All photographs are accurate. None of them is the truth." - Richard Avedon




  
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Tom ­ Reichner
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Oct 10, 2014 11:34 |  #48

airfrogusmc wrote in post #17205248 (external link)
If you let the camera do it or you do it you are still altering it in some way.

Right, Allen, this is absolutely correct. But if you do the "altering" when the light (or other radiant energy) is being recorded on the sensitive surface, then that is photography. If you do the altering in any other manner or by any other process or at any other time, then those alterations are not photography (according to Webster's very accurate, precise definition).

Whether something is a photograph or not has nothing to do with its "accuracy" as to how closely it depicts the "real life scene" that was photographed. It has to do only with the process used to produce the image.


"Your" and "you're" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"They're", "their", and "there" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"Fare" and "fair" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one. The proper expression is "moot point", NOT "mute point".

  
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Oct 10, 2014 11:36 |  #49

No matter what a picture is art because that photography took that picture in that way. Who was it that said "It isn't about what's in the frame, but what the photographer chooses to leave out."

All three of these would be "historical documentary". But it is up to the photographer to choose how to frame it. Either consciously or subconsciously.

IMAGE: http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-f4RyObBsLcs/UkvG2myIxDI/AAAAAAAAB4o/UoJU50O59KM/s1600/How-The-Media-Can-Manipulate-Our-Viewpoint-debate-28612530-743-542.jpg

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OhLook
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Oct 10, 2014 11:40 |  #50

airfrogusmc wrote in post #17205157 (external link)
Yes we all see color slightly different and colors can evoke different emotions depending on our life's experiences, how we actually see color and culture.

I had in mind seeing color radically differently. What if my sensation of green looks like your sensation of red, and vice versa? We would each have attached the word "green" to a different experience when we learned the word, and we'd still be doing so.

That possibility isn't relevant to photography. Each person's spectrum is consistent over time. I was only trying to tell Phoenixkh that his doubt about whether other people see what he sees might occur to anyone, color-blind or not.


PRONOUN ADVISORY: OhLook is a she. | A FEW CORRECT SPELLINGS: lens, aperture, amateur, hobbyist, per se, raccoon, whoa, more so (2 wds.), shoo-in | IMAGE EDITING OK

  
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airfrogusmc
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Oct 10, 2014 11:46 |  #51

Tom Reichner wrote in post #17205264 (external link)
Right, Allen, this is absolutely correct. But if you do the "altering" when the light (or other radiant energy) is being recorded on the sensitive surface, then that is photography. If you do the altering in any other manner or by any other process or at any other time, then those alterations are not photography (according to Webster's very accurate, precise definition).

Whether something is a photograph or not has nothing to do with its "accuracy" as to how closely it depicts the "real life scene" that was photographed. It has to do only with the process used to produce the image.

I think anything that is recorded with a camera is a photograph. Again look at the work of Uelsmann. Much smarter folks than I am say it's a photograph. I also got from Webster, that if it were made with a camera, it's a photograph. Adams said he never photographed a scene the way it was. Only as he saw it. He drastically altered the image through negative development and printing (the zone system) I would say Adams is a photographer. Minor white is another example of that. He also is a photographer. I would also put John Paul Caponigro in the group. He is in a way like Uelsmann only he is all digital on the back side of it. Film a lot of the time to make the capture. And the biggest question is outside areas like documentary, photojournalism which includes Nat Geo does it really matter?

To me it doesn't.

Labels can become very restrictive. I say create and if you use a camera to make the original capture then it's a photograph. That's for those that need labels because what should really matter is the final image.




  
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airfrogusmc
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Oct 10, 2014 11:50 |  #52

OhLook wrote in post #17205275 (external link)
I had in mind seeing color radically differently. What if my sensation of green looks like your sensation of red, and vice versa? We would each have attached the word "green" to a different experience when we learned the word, and we'd still be doing so.

That possibility isn't relevant to photography. Each person's spectrum is consistent over time. I was only trying to tell Phoenixkh that his doubt about whether other people see what he sees might occur to anyone, color-blind or not.

That's kinda what I was getting at in the cultural and seeing color differently and having different life experiences with colors Thus our emotional response might be different to red even if we see it as red but particularly if we see it as radically different.

I would say to Phoenixkh maybe B&W might be the medium?




  
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Tom ­ Reichner
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Oct 10, 2014 12:02 |  #53

airfrogusmc wrote in post #17205285 (external link)
I think anything that is recorded with a camera is a photograph.

Well, then, you, I, and Websters all completely agree!


"Your" and "you're" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"They're", "their", and "there" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one.
"Fare" and "fair" are different words with completely different meanings - please use the correct one. The proper expression is "moot point", NOT "mute point".

  
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airfrogusmc
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Oct 10, 2014 12:06 |  #54

By what some are reading into the definition is that Moonrise over Hernandez is not a photograph because that scene didn't look like the way Adams made it look using the zone system and those negative processing and printing methods to make the print the way he saw it. Not the way it actually looked.




  
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texkam
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Oct 10, 2014 16:00 |  #55

Is it still a photograph or is it now a computer facsimile of what you saw.

It's your interpretation of a captured image.




  
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NCSA197
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Oct 10, 2014 16:43 |  #56

airfrogusmc wrote in post #17205320 (external link)
By what some are reading into the definition is that Moonrise over Hernandez is not a photograph because that scene didn't look like the way Adams made it look using the zone system and those negative processing and printing methods to make the print the way he saw it. Not the way it actually looked.

Your point probably settles the argument/discussion for me. For many years, the images captured on film were modified (perhaps "Photoshopped") by special development techniques, printing techniques, and every other process available to the photographer. Today, the same things happen at a desk and a computer instead of a wet darkroom. So if the resulting image (your example of Moonrise Over Hernandez is a good one, airfrogusmc) was a photograph then, the images we see are photographs today.

As stated earlier in the discussion, the skill of the photographer/darkroom technician/artist then and the skills used now are what matters. Knowledge, talent, and skill then and now provide a successful image. And it's still a Photograph.


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Oct 11, 2014 02:49 |  #57

Phoenixkh wrote in post #17204813 (external link)
I'm color blind also. I try not to think about it too much but it certainly makes post processing a challenge. When I do think about it, I wonder.... I know what green looks like to me, but is that what anyone else sees? I'm not red/green color blind so it gets even more complicated when I ponder it.

I'm fortunate to have a wife who can look at my stuff and see if I'm heading in a wrong direction. I do use a lot of the "auto" features of both Lightroom and the Nik Collection.

On a personal note, I would *really* like to see what looks good in your eyes! Like, which colors play well in your mind. I am willing to bet that it would look totally different from a "normal" photograph and that you'd be able to use it as a (business) strength.


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DoughnutPhoto
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Oct 11, 2014 03:04 |  #58

airfrogusmc wrote in post #17205320 (external link)
By what some are reading into the definition is that Moonrise over Hernandez is not a photograph because that scene didn't look like the way Adams made it look using the zone system and those negative processing and printing methods to make the print the way he saw it. Not the way it actually looked.

By that definition, no photograph is art. It's either a photograph (unmodified) or a piece of art (modified to make it look differently). I'd further state that the nature of the modification doesn't matter, so anytime you open up Photoshop and start the RAW convertor, you have an art piece.

Furthermore, the camera doesn't record a scene the way we see it... so until there is a highly sophisticated camera that sees as we do, we are unable to catch a scene in a way that looks like the real thing. Do photographs even exist?

I think it's argueing over labels. I refer to my end results as photographs and I think of myself as a photographer and an artist (as well as an engineer by trade, lol).

By the way, I disagree with the statement earlier on that imagination is linked to intelligence. That's like saying only smart people have imaginations and will automatically take better pictures. I don't think that's the case. I also think it's looking down on many photographers that didn't finish university for whatever reason. If anything, I think intelligence and thinking in defined lines following rules is an obstacle to photography. If you have enough intelligence to understand techniques and how to express your imagination, you're golden!


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airfrogusmc
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Oct 11, 2014 07:03 |  #59

DoughnutPhoto wrote in post #17206578 (external link)
By that definition, no photograph is art. It's either a photograph (unmodified) or a piece of art (modified to make it look differently). I'd further state that the nature of the modification doesn't matter, so anytime you open up Photoshop and start the RAW convertor, you have an art piece.

Furthermore, the camera doesn't record a scene the way we see it... so until there is a highly sophisticated camera that sees as we do, we are unable to catch a scene in a way that looks like the real thing. Do photographs even exist?

I think it's argueing over labels. I refer to my end results as photographs and I think of myself as a photographer and an artist (as well as an engineer by trade, lol).

By the way, I disagree with the statement earlier on that imagination is linked to intelligence. That's like saying only smart people have imaginations and will automatically take better pictures. I don't think that's the case. I also think it's looking down on many photographers that didn't finish university for whatever reason. If anything, I think intelligence and thinking in defined lines following rules is an obstacle to photography. If you have enough intelligence to understand techniques and how to express your imagination, you're golden!

How do you get that no photograph is art from my statement. That argument was settled almost 100 years ago. Photography can be art and seeing is what it is all about.

And because Adams didn't take the image for exactly what it was but because he photographed it the way he saw it and printed it the way he interpreted it, he made it his thus making it his art. Moving it, as Weston called it, beyond the obvious or making it more than the noun.

Yes photographers exist because again it is the seeing that matters. We choose the moment to push the shutter. Well here, Meyerowitz says it a lot better than I can. But what you, the photographer, decides what to show and not show and how you compose the shot is what matters. The ability to see when the elements all come together and somehow making it yours is the art of it.
Meyerowitz
http://www.youtube.com​/watch?v=Xumo7_JUeMo (external link)

Great quote by a couple of the greats and why we (photographers) are needed. Of course if we all follow the same rules and shoot the same subjects and only shoot them as nouns then yes a machine could be programed to probably do that. But it's our take on it that will always keep humans involved when it comes to creating art.

"There are no rules and regulations for perfect composition. If there were we would be able to put all the information into a computer and would come out with a masterpiece. We know that's impossible. You have to compose by the seat of your pants." - Arnold Newman

....."so called “composition” becomes a personal thing, to be developed along with technique, as a personal way of seeing." - Edward Weston

So I don't know how you got I don't think photographs or photography can be art out of what I said. In fact as I have pointed out I was saying just the opposite.

And all great artists have an artistic intelligence. You see it in their work. It's how they communicate.

And labels? I love this quote by Adams:
"Let us hope that categories will be less rigid in the future; there has been to much of placing photography into little niches-commercial, pictorial, documentary, and creative(a dismal term). Definitions of this kind are inessential and stupid; good photography remains good photography no matter what we name it. I would like to think of "just photography"; of each and every photograph containing the best qualities in proper degree to achieve its purpose. We have been slaves to categories, and each has served as a kind of concentration camp for the spirit."-Ansel Adams

I am saying that anything created with a camera is a photograph. Composites have been around since almost the beginning. Henry Peach Robison "Fading Away" 1858 IIRC. All that matters is the work.




  
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DoughnutPhoto
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Oct 11, 2014 07:39 |  #60

airfrogusmc wrote in post #17206722 (external link)
How do you get that no photograph is art from my statement. That argument was settled almost 100 years ago. Photography can be art and seeing is what it is all about.

As I read it, it said that a picture is a photograph if it captures the scene as it was (as humans see it). And it is art if it's been postprocessed to look like something else (in your example: Adams' zone system).

If you stick to that definition, a photograph isn't art because it isnt processed, and if it is processed it stops being a photograph and becomes an artpiece.

Going on, we have to realise that a camera can't *actually* capture a scene as we see it, and most of us use postprocessing these days. You might argue that a Raw convertor isn't as radical postprocessing as some other alterations though.

But if I understand your reasoning, the logical result is a clear distinction between art and photography... One that I personally don't agree with. I think "art" has much more to do with personal expression than whatever technique is used to create that. If I feel my camera image is my personal view of a scene, I won't choose to use post processing. Or do you imagine that an art gallery is going to ask a photographer if he's used Photoshop?


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