How much image manipulation is too much?

Discussion in 'Digital Cameras' started by Rich, Mar 9, 2006.

  1. Rich

    Rich Guest

    -a minor amount of brightness, colour saturation or contrast changes?
    -The use of garish film response or large amounts of colour to
    oversaturate an image (like Velvia landscapes that look pretty but
    fake as Hell)?
    -Wholesale deletion and addition of objects into the frame that were
    not there before?

    When I look at unrealistic images, sometimes they look "nice" but
    something about them turns me off from an imaging perspective.
    Its like shots of a lion taken in a zoo; Sure you can get a nice
    close-up, detailed unhindered by grassland growth, distance, etc,
    but it really doesn't represent any kind of work on the part of the
    imager. Its essentially staged, much as heavy image manipulation is.
    For a magazine ad campaign to sell a camera or a car, it might make
    sense, but from a purely photographic standpoint, IMO, its cheating.
    Because we're talking art here, I guess there are no rights or wrongs.
     
    Rich, Mar 9, 2006
    #1
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  2. Rich

    Bob Williams Guest

    No matter what ANYONE says, it is a totally arbitrary opinion.....Which
    is OK for them but is certainly not binding on anyone else.
    There is no "higher authority" that says adjusting levels is good but
    cloning or juxtaposing images is evil. We are not talking Religion, we
    are just having fun playing with images.
    If we are making images for our own enjoyment, the sky is the limit.
    Whatever manipulation gives us the most pleasure and enjoyment is the
    correct one to use.
    Now, if you are a contest moderator, you can set certain rules by which
    all entrants must abide. If I don't like the rules, I can choose simply
    to not enter the contest contest. Fair enough?
    Bob Williams
     
    Bob Williams, Mar 9, 2006
    #2
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  3. Rich

    Charles Guest

    This one has obviously been manipulated a bit, but it came out as a
    pleasant picture: in alt.binaries.pictures.astro

    message ID:

    2XKPf.40460$%[email protected]
     
    Charles, Mar 9, 2006
    #3
  4. : Rich wrote:
    : > -a minor amount of brightness, colour saturation or contrast changes?
    : > -The use of garish film response or large amounts of colour to
    : > oversaturate an image (like Velvia landscapes that look pretty but
    : > fake as Hell)?
    : > -Wholesale deletion and addition of objects into the frame that were
    : > not there before?
    : >
    : > When I look at unrealistic images, sometimes they look "nice" but
    : > something about them turns me off from an imaging perspective.
    : > Its like shots of a lion taken in a zoo; Sure you can get a nice
    : > close-up, detailed unhindered by grassland growth, distance, etc,
    : > but it really doesn't represent any kind of work on the part of the
    : > imager. Its essentially staged, much as heavy image manipulation is.
    : > For a magazine ad campaign to sell a camera or a car, it might make
    : > sense, but from a purely photographic standpoint, IMO, its cheating.
    : > Because we're talking art here, I guess there are no rights or wrongs.
    : >
    : No matter what ANYONE says, it is a totally arbitrary opinion.....Which
    : is OK for them but is certainly not binding on anyone else.
    : There is no "higher authority" that says adjusting levels is good but
    : cloning or juxtaposing images is evil. We are not talking Religion, we
    : are just having fun playing with images.
    : If we are making images for our own enjoyment, the sky is the limit.
    : Whatever manipulation gives us the most pleasure and enjoyment is the
    : correct one to use.
    : Now, if you are a contest moderator, you can set certain rules by which
    : all entrants must abide. If I don't like the rules, I can choose simply
    : to not enter the contest contest. Fair enough?
    : Bob Williams

    I have to agree with Bob on this one. The amount of "manipulation" that is
    right for you and for the specific image will depend on you, the intent
    and the viewer (which could also be you).

    If this is supposed to be a "true representation of what I see" then the
    least manipulation is probably best. But if it is "art" the skys the
    limit. As with any art form some of us will like it and some will hold
    their nose. I may not count a "painting" done by throwing cans of paint
    into the outfow of a jet engine as worth the cost of the paint, but others
    do. I may like a pastoral "cattle in a field" painting that others deem to
    be booring and unimaginative. And the funny thing is that none of us are
    wrong. The same goes for photography. If you "play with" an image and get
    a result that you like, you did just the right amount of manipulation. One
    of the nice things about digital image editing software, many of the
    better ones allow you to backup to a previous point in the process if you
    find that you have gone too far. Lets see a painter do the same (Gee I
    think it would have been better if I had painted Mona Lisa a bit further
    to the left...). :)

    Randy

    ==========
    Randy Berbaum
    Champaign, IL
     
    Randy Berbaum, Mar 9, 2006
    #4
  5. Rich

    Jeremy Guest

    I agree. Part of the reason for it is that we have become conditioned to
    spectacular imagery--saturated colors, tack-sharp focus, frozen action, etc.

    Sort of like fake boobs--at first they were eye-catching, but now every
    woman has 'em, and they've become a prerequisite for any girl that wants to
    get into show business (or be a waitress at the local diner . . . )
     
    Jeremy, Mar 9, 2006
    #5
  6. My feeling is much the same. It's a matter of "What effect are you
    going for?" In most of my photography (which is all non-professional,
    just for fun) I'm aiming to document what's there in a way that evokes
    some kind of emotion. Now, "what's there" is kind of a philosophical
    question: your eyes and your brain are fooling you all the time; what
    you see is not exactly what shows up in a photograph.

    I took a photograph of a building the other week, and there were
    some tourists milling around. I didn't feel like they added anything to
    the picture, and I would have preferred that they weren't in the shot,
    but there they were. I could have edited them out, but they were there
    when I pressed the button. If I were doing commercial photography and
    just trying to represent the building, then maybe I'd edit them out, but as
    it is I feel it would be a little like cheating.
     
    Jeremiah DeWitt Weiner, Mar 10, 2006
    #6
  7. Rich

    John Smith Guest

    For a photographer, as little as possible... for an artist who is only using
    photography as one element in his/her "vision" the sky's the limit.
     
    John Smith, Mar 11, 2006
    #7
  8. Rich

    John Smith Guest

    In the original context of the question, I don't agree. I've got a problem
    with accepting an image that been "photoshoped" within an inch of it's life
    as a "photograph".

    However, I can accept that image as an original creation that happens to be
    "based" on a photograph.

    Understand, we're talking about substantial changes to "reality" here, not
    correcting or tweaking the image while still keeping it more or less
    faithful to the original scene.
     
    John Smith, Mar 11, 2006
    #8
  9. Rich

    bob Guest


    In part it depends on the use. If I was sitting on a jury in a trial I'd
    want to see unedited photos, for instance.

    In my own work, I usually want my editing to be invisible. Like I took a
    picture across a harbor with some docked boats in the foreground. One
    boat had a large red "for sale" sign on it that was very distracting to
    the print. It was easy to clone out, and if you saw the picture you
    would never know it wasn't there.

    I don't really consider changes of levels and curves manipulation, just
    another part of the exposure process.

    Bob
     
    bob, Mar 13, 2006
    #9
  10. wrote:

    : No argument there. What I and others object to is when someone makes
    : extensive alterations and enhancements to a photo to make it look nicer
    : and still calls it photography. If he calls it art with the original
    : photo as the starting point, no objection there either. Whether we like
    : the end product or not is a different matter.

    Unfortuantely the word Photography is defined (in part) as:
    The art, practice, or occupation of taking and printing photographs.

    And Photograph is defined:
    An image. A positive print, recorded by a camera.

    (the Concise American Heritage Dictionary)

    You will notice that art IS included in the description. It is true that
    nothing is said about manipulation of the image. So this is not specific
    for or against such manipulation. Thus many of us tend to lean toward any
    image that was (originally) captured with a photographic process is still
    a photograph. Even "fakes" or "artistic manipulated" photographs are still
    photographs.

    Maybe what needs to be found is a word that specifically means an image
    that is captured, processed, and printed in such a way that the completed
    output is as closely consistant with the original view as can be achieved.
    The word Photograph (and all its derivitives) is just too vague for the
    purists in the field. This is not wrong, as a vague definition allows each
    of us to define it in our own narrower designation. But our own definition
    probably will not match everyone elses.

    If you have any suggestions of how to designate a photographic image with
    no processing (and/or one with only minimum processing to adjust for
    inaccuracys in input/output technologies such as printer profiles). Who
    knows, you could be the inventer of a new word or word use that could
    become popular enough to make it into the next dictionary. :)

    Randy

    ==========
    Randy Berbaum
    Champaign, IL
     
    Randy Berbaum, Mar 16, 2006
    #10
  11. wouldn't a photograph that is manipulated enough to change the original
    scene captured considered digital art and not a photograph? If it was done
    with inks and dyes, wouldn't that be considered art as in a visual art
    piece? A photograph is an image from a camera and printed as an original,
    with minor changes such as exposure, contrast, or minor blemish removal.
    It is only when people "manipulate" the definition of a word that problems
    arise.
     
    newfysnapshot, Mar 16, 2006
    #11
  12. It's visual art, but it's also still a photograph by some people's
    definition. After all, a painting doesn't need to look a particular way
    to be a painting - it just has to be produced by a particular process.
    So a photograph can be an image produced by photography - even if it's been
    greatly altered.
    Clearly, you would like that to be the definition of the word
    "photography", but good luck getting everyone to agree with you.
    You may not think a manipulated image is a photograph, but your opinion
    really doesn't matter much outside your circle of friends, particularly
    if it is at odds with what the generally-accepted definition is.
    If your definition doesn't agree with the dictionary's definition, just
    who is trying to manipulate the definition?

    Dave
     
    Dave Martindale, Mar 16, 2006
    #12
  13. Yes, but would be a photograph of a manipulated photograph which would be a
    piece of art, be it digital or not.


    A Photographic print is a print from a camera be it digital or film. Minor
    changes such as exposure and contrast (dodging and burning) are done to
    remove and improve the photo in the printing process.

    Not the definition of photography but of photograph. It's not what I want
    people to believe, it is written in hundreds of books.

    Most photographers with any knowledge of the processes of photography and
    photo manipulation (Digital or manual) and a little knowledge in the field
    of art know that a manipulated photograph would be considered a piece of
    art. Photographers who deal with photographic manipulation know at least
    some of the basics of the visual arts.


    Where does my explanation counter the definition of a photograph??
     
    newfysnapshot, Mar 17, 2006
    #13
  14. A photograph of a photo is also known as creating a copyneg. The process of
    photographing a photograph to create a negative.

    Digital art is actually a common term in the digital age of photo
    manipulation.
     
    newfysnapshot, Mar 17, 2006
    #14
  15. But that's not the point. You may have a whole roomful of
    photographers who agree that a particular manipulated image is a piece
    of art, yet some will say that it is *also* still a photograph. The
    important question is: When it is manipulated enough to become visual
    art, does it stop being a photograph?

    Alternately, are manipulated photographs no longer photographs, or are
    they simply one type of photograph along with realistic photographs?
    The several dictionary definitions posted by other people don't require
    "photograph" to mean only unmanipulated or lightly-manipulated
    photographs. Heavily-altered images would still be photographs, by
    those definitions.

    Dave
     
    Dave Martindale, Mar 17, 2006
    #15
  16. If the photo is digitally enhanced then yes it would still be a photograph
    but of a digitally manipulated scene, concluding digital art. Is this too
    difficult to understand or are you just one of these people that are
    constantly manipulating photos to look like nothing that could exist and
    calling your work photography?
    If the photograph is manipulated with inks and dyes, you are basically
    coloring the photograph to change the appearance, does this mean a coloring
    book is full of photographs once colored?
    This is a battle that can not be won by either side. Therein lies the major
    problem with clasification of any type of media. Everyone changes the
    description to meet their own needs.


    The
    No because a photograph is already classified as visual art. When
    manipulated beyond reality it would be considered a photograph of a
    manipulated work of art. not just a photograph.
    Yes, and that's where most people go wrong. They are another type of
    photograph. A photograph of a manipulated work of art. The same question
    gives the same answer no matter how many times you ask
    Once again a photograph of highly manipulated images would be a photograph
    of a work of art.
    knock, knock, knock, anyone home in there?
    I'm sure you will come back with a question, once again, probably worded
    differently but essentially the same as all the past statements and
    questions you have posted.
    Have a good day, and manipulate your photographs into works of art all day
    long :)
     
    newfysnapshot, Mar 17, 2006
    #16
  17. Well, I'd say no. I'd say that photography and visual art are domains
    that overlap somewhat, and the set of manipulated photographs remain
    photographs, but not all photographic visual art needs to be
    manipulated. (Also that not all manipulated photographs are art!)

    Dave
     
    Dave Martindale, Mar 17, 2006
    #17
  18. No one is arguing whether manipulated photographs are art. Stop saying
    that; it just confuses the issue. The disagreement is whether a
    photograph can ever *stop* being a photograph when it is manipulated.
    You seem to be saying that if an image looks "like nothing that could
    exist", it is no longer a photograph - even if it started out as one.

    I don't generally manipulate *my* photos beyond trying to recreate what
    I saw - so I do little beyond contrast and colour adjustments and
    sharpening. But I accept that images that started out as photographs
    and were drastically manipulated are *still* photographs, while you seem
    to be trying to say that they are *not* photographs any more.

    So what sort of manipulation does someone have to do to turn a
    photograph into a non-photograph?
    No. A photograph and a colouring book start out different before the
    colour is added, and remain different. Hand-colouring a photograph
    (with physical ink or in Photoshop) does not make it stop being a
    photograph, no more than adding ink to a colouring book can turn it into
    a photograph.
    True. So your definition of photograph may not agree with that of
    others.
    A photograph *of* a work of art is not the same thing as a photograph
    that *is* a work of art - though both are photographs, and both can be
    art.
    They are photographs *of* whatever the original subject was. A
    "photograph of a work of art" surely must be made by aiming the camera
    at something that is already a work of art.
    That makes much less sense than what you've said before. A photograph
    of a tree (for example) remains a photograph of a tree when manipulated.
    It may become a work of art that is a photograph of a tree., but it is
    not a photograph of a work of art. To create a photograph of a work of
    art, you would need to take a new photograph of the manipulated
    photograph.
    Actually, I don't make more than minor adjustments to my photographs,
    and I don't claim that they are works of art. I just don't want you
    trying to dictate that somehow photographs stop being photographs when
    they are manipulated.

    Dave
     
    Dave Martindale, Mar 17, 2006
    #18
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