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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 10 Sep 2017 (Sunday) 19:13
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is processing cheating?

 
inspectoring
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Sep 10, 2017 19:13 |  #1

I am sorry but this has been bugging me for the past couple of years.

I understand taking pictures is an art and I respect the effort one has to put into getting the shutter speed f stop etc right.
BUT I feel that by using adobe photoshop/or any other photoshop processing, I am essentially cheating.

Is it reasonable to have an area/dedicated subform where only unprocessed pictures are posted ?

I know most of the people here are professionals and I mean no disrespect to them. I take 30 pictures one day and then don't touch the camera for the next couple of weeks. I don't mean to minimize the amount of effort that goes into processing.


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Sep 10, 2017 20:05 |  #2

inspectoring wrote in post #18448913 (external link)
is processing cheating?

...no.


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RDKirk
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Sep 10, 2017 20:08 |  #3

inspectoring wrote in post #18448913 (external link)
I am sorry but this has been bugging me for the past couple of years.

I understand taking pictures is an art and I respect the effort one has to put into getting the shutter speed f stop etc right.
BUT I feel that by using adobe photoshop/or any other photoshop processing, I am essentially cheating.

Is it reasonable to have an area/dedicated subform where only unprocessed pictures are posted ?

I know most of the people here are professionals and I mean no disrespect to them. I take 30 pictures one day and then don't touch the camera for the next couple of weeks. I don't mean to minimize the amount of effort that goes into processing.

The ironic thing about that statement is that over 100 years ago, the argument against photography as art was that it was nothing but a mechanically accurate reproduction of the natural scene that lacks artistic input.

Thus, from nearly its very beginning, photographers have introduced their own artistic input in post-processing. Some of my photo heroes of yesteryear like W. Eugene Smith spent hours, even days in post-processing to perfect a print to their mind's eye beyond the capabilities of the camera.

Now people are saying it's not art unless if it is anything but a mechanically accurate reproduction of the natural scene that lacks input.




  
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Post edited 10 months ago by -Duck-.
     
Sep 10, 2017 20:09 |  #4

This is definitely a topic that is one for the digital age, and one that many people have contemplate over, both artistically and technically. As with any argument, there are multiple sides and it all depends on your personal opinion about what constitutes processing of a digital image. Of course, the term processing has changed when we left chemical processing (a mechanical process) for digital processing.

First, realize that in film days ALL photographs were processed. You could not make a print without processing the negative. The precursor of today's digital processing, or digital editing, primarily occurred during the printing process. That's when images were blended, dodged, burned, cropped and what have you. This allowed the photographer to get creative with his vision for his image. In those days one could distinguish between the act of processing with that of image manipulation.

Keeping that separation in mind we can therefore think of a digital photograph as being processed (in camera) by the camera's onboard digital processor that converts the raw data from the sensor into a visual image. That digital image is processed according to predetermined settings you apply during your initial camera setup (color space, image style, aspect ratio, etc.)

Then, if the image isn't to your liking, you can bring it into Photoshop in order to manipulate (post-process) the photograph to closer resemble your artistic vision. What level of manipulation you give the image is dependant on what you want the image to say to your audience. Is it a quick snapshot? Is it a representation closer to what you initially saw? Perhaps it's an enhanced portrayal that brings out more of the beauty than what was there. Maybe it's a combination of multiple images in order to create something that wasn't there but rather something that was in your mind.

On a basic level, most photographers will argue that every image that comes out of a camera should be processed, sometimes called normalizing or balancing an image. In this case the manipulation is kept to a minimum and is looked upon as correcting issues in the image due to the limitation of the camera (after all it is a machine and will never capture what our eyes see.) These modifications usually consist of exposure fixes due to either human error or lack of dynamic range of the camera, cropping, straightening, color correction and lens perspective correction.

So, in short, your question should read, "is photo manipulation cheating?", rather than processing because, by default, all cameras must "process" an image.


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Left ­ Handed ­ Brisket
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Sep 10, 2017 20:29 |  #5

RDKirk wrote in post #18448943 (external link)
The ironic thing about that statement is that over 100 years ago, the argument against photography as art was that it was nothing but a mechanically accurate reproduction of the natural scene that lacks artistic input.

Thus, from nearly its very beginning, photographers have introduced their own artistic input in post-processing. Some of my photo heroes of yesteryear like W. Eugene Smith spent hours, even days in post-processing to perfect a print to their mind's eye beyond the capabilities of the camera.

Now people are saying it's not art unless if it is anything but a mechanically accurate reproduction of the natural scene that lacks input.

Yup.

I'm sure I'm not alone here, but I used to cut specific shapes out of paper to dodge and burn in the darkroom. Sometimes making masks so I could make multiple exposures for a print.

Of course there is the possibility of manipulating the scene or subject too, is that cheating? Using a light on your subject, is that cheating?

Images must be processed in some form. Always have, always will.


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davesrose
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Sep 10, 2017 20:33 |  #6

As stated, in the world of photography, some sort of processing has always been done. Today, it's the camera and then how much post processing you do with software. With film, there was exposure and processing of film negative. And then you could spend a lot of time in the darkroom adjusting contrast in specific areas (with burning/ dodging). Even if you were striving for technically "accurate" photos: you'd be adjusting the inherently better DR of negative to that of print. Ansel Adams probably spent more time in the darkroom then the time he spent hiking/walking the perfect moment to take the photo. When I was developing film, I felt the lure of spending more time in the darkroom. Apart from darkroom techniques, you could also "cheat" and take out imperfections in the actual print. If there were stray dust or hair specks that showed up in the print, you could paint those out with inks.

When it comes to photography as Art...I think the best of photography does show the same aspects of other visual arts. I have a background in painting, and have seen how pertinent photography classes do go over the same compositional techniques as other fine arts. Painting is the closest cousin to photography: painters like Vermeer used the camera obscura, and photographers have coined one light setup as being Rembrandt lighting.


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Bassat
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Sep 10, 2017 20:48 |  #7

Left Handed Brisket wrote in post #18448949 (external link)
Yup.

I'm sure I'm not alone here, but I used to cut specific shapes out of paper to dodge and burn in the darkroom. Sometimes making masks so I could make multiple exposures for a print.

Of course there is the possibility of manipulating the scene or subject too, is that cheating? Using a light on your subject, is that cheating?

Images must be processed in some form. Always have, always will.

Mathew Brady is probably the most famous 'manipulator'. Ansel Adams took the easy way out. He set up his gear and waited for God to manipulate the scene to his liking. Cheaters! Both of 'em.


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sjones
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Sep 10, 2017 20:52 |  #8

No, it's not cheating, as folks have explained above. My link below on Photoshop expands on this issue, although I can't remember all of the stuff I yapped about...a few years back, this was actually a frequent discussion topic on POTN, but it seems greater acclimation to the realities of digital processing has calmed the debate.


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nqjudo
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Sep 10, 2017 21:01 |  #9

It is your photography. If you feel like processing is cheating that's understandable. If you are happy with your results and you think your images are good just go ahead and share them. I'm not sure why they would have to be separated in their own sub-forum.


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OhLook
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Sep 10, 2017 21:19 |  #10

inspectoring wrote in post #18448913 (external link)
Is it reasonable to have an area/dedicated subform where only unprocessed pictures are posted ?

There's a thread for that: https://photography-on-the.net …/showthread.php​?t=1351318

I know most of the people here are professionals

It isn't certain. Another thread asked members what they do. Many listed other occupations.


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Sep 10, 2017 21:30 |  #11

Does processing include choosing a picture profile in camera?


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davesrose
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Sep 10, 2017 21:49 |  #12

Bassat wrote in post #18448964 (external link)
Mathew Brady is probably the most famous 'manipulator'. Ansel Adams took the easy way out. He set up his gear and waited for God to manipulate the scene to his liking. Cheaters! Both of 'em.

LOL...well when it comes to compositional manipulation, no one did it better then Teddy Roosevelt (and his Rough Rider persona, with Brooks Bros clothing and sets in NYC). One of the most famous stories of Adams was his shot of Moonrise, Hernandez. It's a perfect example of an experienced photographer determining exposure before even taking the shot. So it was still Adams that had the eye and foresight in determining what could be captured in film (and revealed in post processing).

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teekay
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Sep 10, 2017 22:34 |  #13

inspectoring wrote in post #18448913 (external link)
/.. BUT I feel that by using adobe photoshop/or any other photoshop processing, I am essentially cheating...

Of course you aren't cheating. One definition of cheating is: "To act dishonestly or unfairly in order to gain an advantage, especially in a game or examination."

In processing a photo you are creating something that didn't exist before and not lying unless you represent it as being SOOC.

Was Ansel Adams cheating? I understand that he had highly skilled people doing a lot of his darkroom processing for him. Does that make him any less of an artist? Do famous authors cheat because their editors and proofreaders tidy up and amend their work before publishing? Of course not.

Processing is part of the creative process.




  
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Sep 10, 2017 22:44 |  #14

It's only cheating if you claim it's real. For instance, Peter Lik claiming that he sat there for months waiting for that perfect photo when suddenly, it was there. He presses the shutter and captures his masterpiece Bella Luna (external link).


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Sep 11, 2017 08:13 |  #15

Yes, processing is cheating. If you shoot raw you should leave the images as they come out of camera: boring, lacking saturation, needing contrast, and lacking sharpening.


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is processing cheating?
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