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Photography Question 
Marcia L. Getto
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/22/2004
 

Controversy over Digital Enhancements


For anyone who gets caught up in the discussion regarding whether it's all right to digitally enhance an image's artistic quality, I encourage you to see the works of Henry Peach Robinson. As early as the 1850's, Robinson combined 5 or more negatives (aka "layers"), taken at separate times, to create some of his most famous images. Although his work was controversial at the time, he was later honored for his contributions to photography. I am constantlly in awe of what Robinson and other photographers of his time were able to do with chemicals that we take for granted in the digital world. For more information, go to http://www.rleggat.com/photohistory/history/robinson.htm.

Marcia Messman-Getto


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11/13/2006 9:37:26 AM

 
Samuel Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/21/2004
  so without looking.your shooting digital?


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11/13/2006 8:12:38 PM

 
Marcia L. Getto
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/22/2004
  Yes, I shoot digital, but received my basic technical knowledge in the film world. I haven't done any darkroom work, so after attending some wonderful photographic art exhibits in Los Angeles over the weekend, I did a some research into some of the terminology used, such as Sabattier, collodian, ambrotype, etc. I have a tremendous amount of respect for the photograpy pioneers who paved the way to what we have now.


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11/14/2006 6:51:46 AM

 
A C
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/6/2004
  I LOVE Henry Peach Robinson!!! I did a huge research project on him for a Communications class in college. I checked out several books about him.

Keep in mind though, it's way more than just manipulating photographs. Way More.

Naturualists like Dr. Peter Henry Emerson gave Robinson a lot of criticism for his work with Combination Printing (later reinvented and applied as Dada Photomontage).

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Margaret Harker wrote this about Robinson:

"It was an impossible conception to realize by photography at that time in a single exposure owing to technical difficulties including the length of time required to photograph a group indoors adequately. Robinson decided to employ combination printing which would enable him to ensure that each individual photographed expressed exactly what he required."

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Responding to a critique of his composites, Robinson replied, I maintain that I can get nearer the truth for certain subjects with several negatives than with one.

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There is so much more to this topic. I wrote a paper on this. It was a while back and I don't think it was well organized ... but the information is great. I did a lot of research. If you are interested in learning more about Combination Printing/Photomontage and how it has changed the world of photography, art, etc. you can send me an email and I'll shoot the paper your way.


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11/14/2006 8:28:01 AM

 
dave    When I use to use labs for my film some technicians put more love into it and for others it was just a job. So when I go into PS, Im taking a photograph and giving it my special touch. And as long as people keep buying it, I'm fine with it.


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11/14/2006 10:49:26 AM

 
  Is it illegal?


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11/15/2006 7:16:41 PM

 
John P. Sandstedt
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/8/2001
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  Unfortunately, it's not illegal - but, without so many people doing it, how can it be policed?

The nice thing is that you can spot a digital picture easily if you know what to look for. The masses just look far enough.


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11/16/2006 9:39:25 AM

 

BetterPhoto Member
  Funny that you say that because when I show my photos to clients they ask me if I also shoot digital (PS'd of coarse to look LIKE film). I only shoot digital these days and they don't know the difference anyway. Now I'm sure you might be able to tell the difference, but how often would I sell a photo to another photographer.

I could just leave my pictures the way they are, but why not put some icing on the cake to look a little bit better then the competition that doesn't use PS or any enhancements. Sometimes the little extras win over the client. How do I know? I ask them. Customer service is just as important as great photos. Its common knowledge. It will cost you some quality time, but charge accordinly and your customers will help pay your way to becoming the best you can be.


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11/16/2006 10:49:38 AM

 
John P. Sandstedt
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/8/2001
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  Derek -

I agree, and use Photoshop too. But, my point is that I have a real problem when, in a competition, a digitally altered photo [that couldn't possibly have been shoot that way] wins as a "straight" image. It's altered and should be treated that - but, that's not to say it's not a great image.

I think I can recognize a digital photo easily because, first, I alter my photos and know what the result usually looks like. We all use the Unsharp Mask - and should. Too often, there is too much sharpening and the result is immediately apparent.

Second - and I saw this in a picture of El Capitan [Yosemeite National Park.] A body of water was shown beneath the mountain. Now, it's been a while since I visited Yosemite - but, from that angle, I don't remember a lake. Might that be a clue to digital.

Then, the mountain's reflection in this lake was dead sharp. No way, Jose.

Was this a great shot? Yes. A prize winner? Why not? Obviously a digital image/print? Absolutely!

The final way one can recognize a digital is the overwhelming depth of field you're presented. Recall all those absolutely spectacular photos taken in Afghanistan, when the war out there wasn't being so harshly criticized. Those pictures were amazing, transmitted for publication without hours of being shot. Sure, you can do that using film all the time.

Great pictures; obviously digital.

So what? If a person likes the picture, that's what counts. And, if someone is willing toput up some bread, all the better.

But, is it really better than film > print? That's in the mind and heart of the beholder [photographer or purchaser.]

Sure, there's "editing" in traditional developing. After all there's burning and dodging, cropping, sandwiching of slides/negative, variation inchemical and developing times, ec. These traditional practices are carried over into digital editing and I'm NOT opposed to the practice at all. My concern, to be reiterated, is when someone doesn't acknoeledge that that pink horse, in the picture, was really a black stallion [color corrected for a special effect.]


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11/16/2006 11:19:47 AM

 
A C
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/6/2004
  John, John, John ... why bother responding to this guy. He is most likely the same 'ol name changer just trying to get your goat.


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11/16/2006 11:22:04 AM

 
dave   

Different things please different eyes.



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11/16/2006 11:30:56 AM

 
Jagadeesh Andrew Owens   The whole debate is pointless and a waste of time, in my opinion. The only place where it could POSSIBLY matter is in true hardcore journalism and forensics. You have to wonder about the motivations for the debate? Could it be that the film guys are jealous of the digital guys because they can manipulate their images with such finesse that you could never tell it was retouched at all? Or are the digital guys ill mannered children rearing their heads in rebellion at the film guys saying that the only true photography is digitally untouched film photography? I say "Who gives a d@mn?! - just get out there and shoot!"

Thank you,
Sipho Eish
Commentator, Potentate, Photographic & Artistic Monolith

:>) The preceding is to be taken while dining on a salt lick.... :>)


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11/16/2006 11:32:22 AM

 
dave    I don't even know you Cherylann and I've been here for quite some time.


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11/16/2006 11:32:27 AM

 
dave    your right derek is slim


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11/16/2006 11:33:45 AM

 
  No you got it all wrong ms Cheryl and mr dave "slim is derek"

Some people use PS to cover up their mistakes. They take a photograph that wouldn't fly, do some digital nonsense and call it art. Some people like it, some people use it for cleaning up after their dog.


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11/16/2006 11:40:17 AM

 
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