BetterPhoto Q&A
Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
DOT CUNNINGHAM
 

Are Compilations Real Photos?


I have been looking at the favorite photos on this site and am surprised at the amount of photos that are combined photos. I think this is artsy but is it real photography? I am a newbie and my thought is that I should get "The" perfect shot with as little processing as possible. Am I too much of a purist?


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12/24/2008 8:52:32 AM

 
John P. Sandstedt
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/8/2001
Contact John
John's Gallery
  Dot -

It really depends on the purpose. In juried competitions, like those of PSA and NJFCC, limited editing is allowed unless there a category for "creativity."

If someone shows an image here on BP that's been significantly altered, that's OK - but the maker should state that fact. Judges, on BP, seem to pick images that catch their eye and, perhaps, are not "pictures."

I read a great distinction between a snapshot and a picture, by Aaron Sussman. The 8th Edition of his Amateur Photographer's Handbook [which I bought a long time ago] has a 1973 copyright. Its [the book's] age doesn't blunt the definitions. Sussman likens a snapshot to a photo that, perhaps, only the photographer will like. Or, to the kind of print that might be passed around at a cocktail party [remember the old Polaroids.

He calls a Picture an image that serves to recreate in others the feeling or sensation the photographer had when s/he took it.

If you can get past the prejudice over a "combined" part of an image presented on BP, you might get to enjoy creating one yourself or, using the technique to improve one of your images.

Happy Holiday.


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12/24/2008 9:34:44 AM

 
W.   
Hi DOT,

In the 'analog' film days a good photo was the result of good camera work AND good darkroom work (= processing).
In this digital era it is no different: a good photo is the result of good camera work AND good 'post production' work (= processing).

Without good processing you'll get mere snapshots.
If you're lucky.

Merry Christmas!


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12/24/2008 10:40:09 AM

 
Pete H
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/9/2005
  Photography is art.
Photography tells a story.
Photography evokes emotion.

Photography extends the photographers vision to create art while telling a story to evoke emotion within ourself or others.

No one complains when 12 artists paint the same mountain; yet each is rendered differently.

Some of the most beautiful art AND photography I have ever seen are those images captured by the Hubble Space Telescope...Highly processed, but none the less; absolutely breath taking IMO.

Pete


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12/24/2008 12:14:09 PM

 
Samuel Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/21/2004
  oh pete,those images by hubble,recreated=spectaculer!!
breathtaking.. yet interpreted or assumed through a program?software?
being a purist dot is a lost art,most could'nt care less.
negatives don't lie raw files do.


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12/25/2008 1:02:42 AM

 
W.   
"negatives don't lie raw files do"

Yeah! The WMDs were the turning point.
Nothing's been the same since.


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12/25/2008 3:11:51 AM

 
Oliver Anderson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/16/2004
  OK.....
I've read the question...
I've read the answers....
I read the previous post that mentioned NO PHOTOSHOP photos.....
Not that I'm a GOD or anything...but I have had a ton of model bow down to me.....JK ughhhhhhhh NOT.
I will actually post unedited photo's of my last shoot if someone lets me know how to show the photo at the approved size without editing...
LET ME JUST SAY IN ADVANCE YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO DUPLICATE THE PHOTO.....because I wanna date her and I'll say NOT to shoot with YOu!!!!!


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12/25/2008 4:01:26 AM

 
Richard Lynch
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/12/2005
  We just had almost the same discussion just a few days ago...Fake Photos?

I end on: "to each their own", in that you should shoot how you want and develop those skills. However, I really really think you can't take a photo and not have it be an alteration of the scene (e.g., 3D turns to 2D). In that case film lies just as much as digital. Doesn't a lens distort light? won't different light sources render a scene differently? different lighting? filters? If you want to be a purist, you might be stuck using a pinhole camera...but wait, doesn't that distort things as well?

If you can tell it is a composite, it is bad photoshop work. If you can't tell it is a composite why is it any lesser a photo than one someone took in a single frame? Why on earth do those doing good work have to tell?

I've said before that some of the more unusual photos in my gallery are hardly edited. Some who ask this question might be surprised sometimes what techniques and equipment can do before the digital adjustments. And then that suggests something else entirely.

What is 'pure' photography? what is 'real'? Seems to me the answer is a philosophy, and we all seem to have slightly different ones based in our interests and skills.

Not a big surprise.

Richard Lynch


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12/25/2008 10:45:28 AM

 

BetterPhoto Member
  A real photo is one you take with a camera, whatever you do after can be icing on the cake or not depending on the viewer. If you use a fake camera, then for sure the photo is fake too.


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12/25/2008 11:15:49 AM

 
Richard Lynch
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/12/2005
  Derek,
If you use a fake camera won't you have to imagine your photos? And if you have a good imagination, can't the photo seem real at least to you?


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12/25/2008 11:43:15 AM

 

BetterPhoto Member
  Beauty is in the eye of the believer


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12/25/2008 12:06:36 PM

 
John G. Clifford Jr
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/18/2005
  IMO adding or removing anything substantiative from a photograph alters it from photography to photorealistic illustration.

Ansel Adams was known for his darkroom work. I agree that manipulation of the final image so that the parts the photographer wants emphasized are emphasized, and the parts the photographer wants de-emphasized are de-emphasized is legitimate. However, while Adams may have lightened mountains or clouds, or darkened skies, he never added or removed elements. Similarly, movies with CGI special effects, e.g., Star Wars, demonstrate the art of illustration rather than photography.

In short, I think that if one can look at the original negative or raw image, and then look at the final image, and see that the only changes are contrast/color/sharpness, then we are still in the realm of photography, as opposed to illustration.

Now, many folks on this site are into photography-based illustration, as opposed to photography, and that's fine. However, IMO the proper place for these altered images is in the 'Digital Darkroom' category.


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12/25/2008 4:03:21 PM

 
W.   
"how to show the photo at the approved size without editing..."

By making sure the BetterPhoto system doesn't touch your photo(s), Oliver. How? Simple: send the photo(s) to yourself (your own email address) through one of the FREE services for Large File Transfer (see below).
You will then receive a link in your email INbox. Copy the link (maybe first make it shorter with http://tinyurl.com/), and post that link here at BP. People here at BP can then download your photo(s) in EXACTLY the state you uploaded it/them in. Untouched by BetterPhoto.
You can of course also upload the photo(s) as usual, in the same post as your link. BP will resize and resave it/them of course. This will then be the preview of the photo(s) you uploaded via one of the FREE Large File Transfer services.

FREE LARGE FILE TRANSFER
To distribute full-size (high-res) photos I send 'm through

• Podmailing.com (http://www.podmailing.com/), FREE and allows transfer of unlimited numbers of files of unlimited size. I've transferred upto 6GB files without a hitch.

• Yousendit.com (http://www.Yousendit.com/), FREE upto 1GB/month with max 100MB per transfer.

• Pando.com (http://www.Pando.com/), FREE upto 1GB of files or folders per transfer.

This way I can distribute the highest possible quality/resolution photos, and as many as I want/need to, at the recipients' convenience and leisure.
Without clogging anybody's INbox!!!

Have fun!


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12/25/2008 6:20:54 PM

 
Richard Lynch
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/12/2005
  "IMO adding or removing anything substantiative from a photograph alters it from photography to photorealistic illustration."

John, so...say you are in a situation where you wish you have a foreground element while you were taking a particular view of a mountain scene, but it wasn't there. The perfect foreground can be shot just a few feet away, but there is an obstruction that then taints the background. You have several choices:

1) shoot as is to get an OK shot not as you want it.

2) shoot two images and digitally combine them later into the shot you want.

3) dig up the foreground object and move it, shoot the perfect shot, and worry about the legal implications if they ever arise.

4) Carry all the foreground elements with you that you think you might want and introduce them into the images (but leave the plastic pot out of the image by cropping in the viewfinder).

According to your perspective as I am reading, only getting an inferior shot is acceptable, while you may go for either 3 or 4 as being non-edited images. So am I right in assuming that you allow for altering the scene itself?

If so, my next question would be: what is the difference?

Richard Lynch


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12/26/2008 7:22:43 AM

 
Sharon  Day
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2004
  These questions have arisen periodically since I first joined the site. Me, I'm in the camp of "who cares?" I think Richard's answer is perfect,

"I end on: "to each their own", in that you should shoot how you want and develop those skills."


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12/27/2008 7:41:01 PM

 
Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
  Those who can remember watching Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom many years ago may may also remember their disclaimer at the end of each exciting episode:
"All of animal sequences, whether actual or created, depict authenticated facts."

People have been "creating" reality with film and video tape for decades so why stop now?

With the technology of today, anyone can create any illusion of reality they want with a few clicks of a mouse.
That zoo animal is now in the jungle, and that gray sky is now deep blue...COOL!

(...How about a Super Bowl ring on a Detroit Lion? Now THAT would be one great photo!)




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12/28/2008 3:15:41 AM

 
Richard Lynch
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/12/2005
  "anyone can create any illusion of reality they want with a few clicks of a mouse."

Bob, I'm not clear on what side you are taking there, but as far as this statement, I think not. It puts little value on the skill of a user of a digital editing program, or the techniques the given photographer will have to use with *photography* to create that illusion. You cannot have crummy source images and consistently make successful photographic 'illusions', 'illustrations', 'composites' or other satisfactory 'art'. Challenging composites and believable illusion do not come from a few mouse clicks. Getting good results requires good orchestration of many factors visual, conceptual and mixes those with imagination and vision...and then the technical skill to perform. That is not a few mouse clicks, nor is it magic, and nothing can perform the sequence of events for you to create a result. There is no "Composite Me" filter, and even tools with 'Magic' in their name simply perform a calculation.

All photographic adjustments do not need to be huge modifications. They do not need to alter history (and there are examples of that from long before digital), or create the future. They can be simple changes, or voluminous and extensive in creating an expression much like painting or writing where one assembles an impression virtually from nothing but their wits and skills.

I understand the arguments of journalism as well as those of the artist, and journalists may consider themselves artists and artists journalists of a kind. What roads that leads to in their interests and photography as individuals is their own. But I would not oversimplify the difficulty of what either strives to achieve.

Richard Lynch


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12/28/2008 6:22:14 AM

 

BetterPhoto Member
  alls I can say is you are all unedjucated wannabees :) At least go out there and have a lil' life.


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12/28/2008 3:49:08 PM

 
Richard Lynch
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/12/2005
  Derek,
Thanks, I think. It means a lot or something coming from you!


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12/28/2008 3:55:54 PM

 
John G. Clifford Jr
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/18/2005
  I think that digitally adding or removing elements transforms photography into photo illustration. Again, not that there's anything wrong with this, but the creator of the image should be honest about it.

Is an image of Anakin Skywalker, complete with light saber and artificial arm a photograph? There is no such thing as a light saber in reality, and the actor doesn't have an artificial arm. Of course, we know this, and we know such an image isn't a photograph, it's an illustration.

Note that if a photojournalist modifies an image to include/delete elements, that image is not acceptable for news purposes, and several photojournalists have been fired for doing so.

Richard, your question to me seems to imply that I think there's something inherently wrong with photo illustration. Not true. However, I'm a believer in accurate labeling.

And finally, what I like about the art of photography is the challenge of seeing what is there and capturing the essence of a scene, and that is something that most people really don't do all that well. In my opinion a great photograph is art in that it evokes an emotional response. Yes, that can be done via illustration... or painting... or sculpture, but again those are different methods of creating art.


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12/28/2008 6:57:18 PM

 
Richard Lynch
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/12/2005
  But john, you didn't address my query...Why does something have to be labeled? I assume then that you are pro labeling nature shots that occurred with images of animals in captivity? But what of the difference between the 4 items above in my earlier post? Which of those do you consider altering an image?

In order to label, one needs to know where exactly to draw the line. It is adding or removing elements to make any correction or change to some extent. That could mean everything from color correction on makes a photo become an illustration...And I really think if you have a look at the example I posted that it becomes terribly gray quite quickly.

And yes, your desire to have items labeled does suggest you think something is wrong/different with enhanced images. Either that or you are suggesting there is something wrong with the viewer. I am still not clear on why something needs to be labeled if it will be obvious to the viewer, and if not obvious to the viewer, it might as well be real as a photograph (again, note my examples). If I make a painting, I do not label it "Richard's Painting" and I don't label drawings "Richard's Drawing"...In neither the case where it may be obvious is obvious to the viewer, or not. I am not sure why I should label an image "Richard's Image" let alone "Richard's Image with [XYZ] Removed". It makes no sense, and there is no good determination as to where to draw the line in my opinion. Who labeled their images before digital as altered or not? Darkroom was considered as part of the process.

As to journalists editing photos, you are getting into ethical matters...quite outside photography to a large extent. No one, as well, labels yellow journalism till after the fact...few even site sources.

This is, of course, skipping any measure of enforcing the idea. But also, those people who usually have this agenda do not have a lot of Photoshop or post-processing experience. And again, alterations have been occurring since the outset of photography -- if you don't consider photography itself an alteration (3D to 2D). It seems a lot of discussion and worry for nothing as it will never be enforced. I think there are enough rules to worry about.

Richard Lynch


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12/29/2008 2:23:12 AM

 
W.   
It is, of course, a matter of definition and interpretation. And of the mood of the day.

Luckily we have those privileges.


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12/29/2008 3:49:45 AM

 
John G. Clifford Jr
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/18/2005
  As I mentioned above, I consider the artist to be operating in the realm of illustration instead of photography if he adds or removes noticeable elements, e.g, physical objects, via editing of the image (whether it is modifying a negative or using software to alter an image file). Adding or removing features of the landscape, e.g., trees, clouds, mountains, transforms the image from photography to illustration.

Jeff Wall is an interesting photographer in that he doesn't alter the image; he stages the scene so that the camera catches/includes exactly what he wants, creating dynamic-appearing images from static sets. He has one image, that appears to be of a very windy day with papers, leaves, etc., flying through the sky... that was actually a static scene assembled over a considerable period of time. Here's a link about him: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/25/magazine/25Wall.t.html?ex=1330059600&en=eca5eb93e38b8ed5&ei=5124&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink

Wells is in the same category of a portrait photographer who carefully poses his models; he goes about altering his images from the opposite side of most illustrators in that he modifies the scene to match his vision instead of modifying the captured image to match his vision. Of course, nature and his subject are practically limited by his approach.

Again, please note that these are MY distinctions, and that I consider part of the art of photography to be the ability to visualize a scene and then to be able to manipulate exposure, focal length, and camera position to include and exclude the desired elements rather than including and excluding elements via image alteration. Your mileage may vary.


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12/30/2008 4:52:40 PM

 
Richard Lynch
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/12/2005
  John,
I still am not clear on your distinction as you seem not to be addressing the ideas I tried to state. You seem, still to be objecting to digital manipulation of a scene, but I am wondering specifically if moving a shrub, physically REPLANTING it in the scne, is still an illustration...and then is it only an illustration if you move the shrub back after you shoot the image, or is it still an illustration if the shrub is left there to grow from that point on... And if that is illustration in either case, the difference between posing a model and moving a bush is?...It would seem photographers should not be allowed to pose a model but should wait for a pose to happen naturally, without coaxing.

Again, I feel that even taking an image is altering a scene. Light is bent by glass and a 3D scene is captured in 2D...There is depth of field, exposure, dynamic range, different file, sensors and media...I am not sure in what way you can ever consider a shot 'true to life'. You don't say that here but it seems to be the distinction. To me the mere statement "he doesn't alter the image" has to be a lie -- be it a deception the photographer impales himself on. No art is the thing it represents or it would be that thing, exactly, in shape, depth, form, etc.

In whatever way you make an alteration, deeming one method of change as somehow better or truer than another seems elitist. My definition is simply: how does it look? As with a short story, if the viewer can be made to suspend disbelief or even wants to enjoy the vision knowing it is perhaps a symbol of the truth, then the image/story/art is a success.

I think we'll have to disagree. I don't see the purist stance as realistic.

Richard


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12/30/2008 6:35:47 PM

 
John G. Clifford Jr
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/18/2005
  Well, if one alters a scene physically and then takes a photograph, that is photography. If one takes a photograph and then alters the image (via razor blade, editor, etc.) so that substantive elements in the original image are no longer there (or new elements are added), then that is photo illustration. My test (comparing the raw image to the final image, looking for added or removed elements, i.e., bushes, tree limbs, etc.) is pretty simple and easily verifiable, and so the point where post-processing moves into photo illustration is easy to determine. Therefore, your example of the photographer moving a bush before taking a photograph would result in a PHOTOGRAPH rather than a PHOTO ILLUSTRATION (if the photographer copied in a bush from another image while post-processing, that would be photo illustration).

I think where the 'disagreement' lies here is that you are under the belief that I find photo illustration less 'pure' than pure photography. That is not the case. I do find it DIFFERENT, however, just as I find painting different from photography. And, I want the artist to be honest with me about how his work was produced.

One of the assumptions that most people make when viewing a photograph is that everything they see was there when the shutter was tripped... that is a given with photography. I also think this is why many people feel somehow deceived when photo illustration is passed off as photography. I, for one, find it disquieting when I view an image that is represented as a photograph only to discover it is a photo illustration, because I feel deceived. This is similar to how I'd feel if I was looking at a purported exhibit of marble sculpture but discovered that the figures were instead cast from molds and then painted to look like stone... or a gallery of impressionist watercolors that were actually heavily-altered giclee-printed photographs. Why? In either case the artist is fraudulently misrepresenting his efforts. (This is also why I'm not a fan of the pseudo-oil painted portraits complete with brush strokes that are actually photographs printed on canvas, although some are quite striking, because they seem pretentious in that the owner believes that somehow faking a painting adds more value to the image.) If, however, I know going in how the artist has produced his art because he has been honest about it, then I can judge the work on its merits.

I guess what I'm saying is that I'm willing to be intrigued by art, in whatever form, but I'm not willing to be deceived... unless the deception itself is part of the artist's statement (see Jeff Wells).


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12/31/2008 1:20:59 AM

 

BetterPhoto Member
  The range and color perception of the human eye is greater than any film or consumer digital camera.

So yes a photo is a fake copy of what you actually saw.


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12/31/2008 1:28:43 AM

 
Richard Lynch
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/12/2005
  I don't believe I see the difference in altering the scene physically or digitally. You are altering the scene one way or another. If the bush could just as well be moved and you can't tell the difference in the result, then I have no idea how a distinction is being drawn. If this were at a monument or other protected ground, moving the bush physically might be more harmful, illegal, and otherwise destructive. Moving it digitally causes no such issues.

"If, however, I know going in how the artist has produced his art because he has been honest about it..." I think this is a little naive. I don't know a photo-realistic painter that will feel the need to say "this is photo-realism, not a photo". That doesn't mean they are being dishonest or trying to conceal anything. It just means they are making what they make and showing it. Most people whom I would consider artists don't stand around explaining an awful lot about what something means or what they intended, and a lot of times not even technically how it was accomplished unless they are specifically asked. This again is not deceit, it is hoping that the work will speak for itself. I also don't necessarily think that all artists have or need to have an explanation for what they do.

"I think where the 'disagreement' lies here is that you are under the belief that I find photo illustration less 'pure' than pure photography." Well, yes. You essentially say that and then besmirch people who edit their images by saying they are dishonest if they don't willingly disclose what they do from the outset. I think that is an unfair demand, as, again, I don't see how you can take a photo without alteration (as I've described). It is impossible. In my case, many of the stranger photos that look most heavily edited are hardly altered if at all (depends on your definition)...and many of the realistic ones are heavily altered...you are suggesting I go through and define which is what, and by some standard I can't fathom in order to be 'honest', and to me it is dishonest to say ANYTHING is a photo by your definition as EVERYTHING is digitally altered from the time it become visible on screen (you cannot see a RAW image). It just is not practical, does not make sense, and the idea of labeling can, I think, be considered a form of censorship -- which I am fully against -- especially with these views attached.

A photo is simultaneously taken and altered, whether or not you do work to it. The distinction you are trying to make remains unclear.

Richard


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12/31/2008 6:12:43 AM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  "By converting his film exposures into digital files, Wall can then superimpose them invisibly and endlessly, often assembling a final image on film from many different shots..."
"...For an elaborate work like “A Sudden Gust of Wind (After Hokusai),” depicting a group of men who react as a wind blows away papers and leaves, he used more than a hundred shots in the painstaking composition of the final 12-foot-long picture."


Clear now?


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12/31/2008 9:41:55 AM

 
John G. Clifford Jr
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/18/2005
  Richard, if nothing can be a photograph under my definition (image has had no substantive additions/deletions of elements from what appeared in the viewfinder), then there is no such thing as photography, and we both know that isn't true... otherwise 'BetterPhoto' will need a name change and a new mission statement quickly! :-)

So, now the discussion leads to the question of what a photograph is, and isn't. Again, my distinction is that when an image is modified to either add or remove substantive elements it is no longer a photograph but is transformed into a photo illustration. This is a clear differentiation... or if it's not then where do you draw the line? At what point is a photograph so altered that it no longer should be called a photograph?

The only thing 'wrong' with a photo illustration, IMO, is trying to pass it off as a photograph. I've come to this opinion after consideration, and I've also come to discover that this opinion seems to be the concensus among the photographic community. For instance, National Geographic will not accept images that have substantive modifications, nor will most other photography-centric magazines (although many magazines seek and will gladly accept photo illustrations identified as such). Even BetterPhoto has a category, 'Digital Darkroom', for heavily modified images ("digital art - images created or drastically altered in software").

Finally, I think you are somehow getting the impression that I am denigrating post-processing/retouching, and as this is a skill/talent that you have a well-deserved reputation for expertise, you are internalizing this discussion. To the contrary, I believe that skillful post-processing is often the difference between the mediocre and the outstanding, and I've come to appreciate that the ability of the photographer to adjust the parameters of his image (or parts of it) to emphasize important elements is something all great photographers do. I personally draw the line at cutting (and/or pasting) that bush, though.


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12/31/2008 9:55:40 AM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  "Jeff Wall is an interesting photographer in that he doesn't alter the image;..."

Go get'em Richard.


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12/31/2008 1:13:37 PM

 
Richard Lynch
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/12/2005
  "This is a clear differentiation... " If it were I would buy it, and I don't. Jeff Wall alters his images, whether he believes it or not, I do, you do, we all do. A photograph represents a 2D presentation of a 3D scene...it is different. It can have a different sense according to the lens, camera, and lighting -- all of which affect the result. There are filters you can add to the lenses, backgrounds you can add,objects that can be added...an INFINITE array...digital applications only add to these possibilities in a different way. I DO NOT buy that there is a means of making a pristine image. What focal length is that? What aperture? What shutter speed? It is like saying there is an ultimate way to portray reality and there is not...not from any perspective or position, and that is precisely why photography and imaging art arts, not sciences.

I have more respect for the vision of individuals and how they interpret what photography is than to peg photography into an impossible box. I hope to continue to see a broad interpretation of the art of photography and that no one will feel stymied by some interpretation of what is acceptable (beyond those few rules BP maintains as a family oriented site).

Richard Lynch


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12/31/2008 2:54:24 PM

 
Darren K. Fisher
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/7/2002
Contact Darren
Darren's Gallery
  For me and I hope I do not upset anyone with MHO. I just feel a photographer knows his/her camera and capture the moment with out PS. If so you are a Photographer. If you do not and use all kinds of PS to create the mood, or fantasy you wish you had seen then it is art and something you created and did not PHOTOGRAPH. Again that is just MHO. I do use PS from time to time to add a mystical feel or to add to the mood I did capture just to emphasize it more.


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12/31/2008 7:49:12 PM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  Never actually hand printed a photo from a negative, have you?


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1/1/2009 12:11:11 AM

 
Samuel Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/21/2004
  how is derek tonight?quite the quandry!!.
since we don't wish to argue sensibly,the bantor,we fail.
although I think mr weiss a great instructor,his teachings,or in route to teaching,is flawed.
the throw a steak in a lions den is acute.your approach is not a true discourse to learning.more like ballistic.
opinions and expertise are a factor,i agree,yet capture?still yet the diligent patronizing of ones own goal?quite the class.


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1/1/2009 12:53:59 AM

 
Richard Lynch
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/12/2005
  Who is on task for the Samuel translations this week?

"Never actually hand printed a photo from a negative, have you?"

I can't even get that far without finding flaw in all this pristine and purist stuff before light even hits the film. I don't know why post-processing in digital always turns to fantasy and total alterations, when it is more of the set of traditional tools of dodging and burning that I use every day -- albeit digitally. But as we know every analog photo was perfect before it made the front page of a newspaper, and never touched with the dirty fingers of a darkroom denizen. That's why I believe in totally unaltered images of stories of Batboy, and that JFK's death was really a botched attempt by some aliens to steal his brain (sorry I can't find those photos right now but they are REALLY convincing, AND shot on film).

Richard


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1/1/2009 9:02:51 AM

 

BetterPhoto Member
  Hey Richard, you didn't catch my joke. I said unedJucated.
Whats with IMHO, were you thinking about lying to us. Is it supposed to be more of a fact when you say that.


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1/3/2009 5:18:29 AM

 
W.   
"I said unedJucated."

That was superfluous.


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1/3/2009 5:39:36 AM

 
Richard Lynch
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/12/2005
  Every time I have an IMHO I go see a doctor.

Richard


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1/3/2009 5:41:45 AM

 

BetterPhoto Member
  I got a new one which goes for me 99% of the time IMU-HO. In my un-honest opion.


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1/3/2009 6:47:07 AM

 

BetterPhoto Member
  I got a new one which goes for me 99% of the time IMU-HO. In my un-honest opion.


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1/3/2009 6:47:07 AM

 
W.   
"un-honest"...?


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1/3/2009 8:48:32 AM

 
Richard Lynch
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/12/2005
  I think the acronym stands for In My Humble Opinion...but that may just be my misunderstanding. I'm better at correcting images than acronyms.

Richard


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1/3/2009 8:54:46 AM

 
Samuel Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/21/2004
  by the way dot my answer is still no.
correcting and manupilitig?
that the end result is the scene i,i intended.
I have thrown out negatives,now it seems here as with raw files we can obtain our objective,paint by numbers.
raw files=an open easel,and was asked,a film darkroom,no.
don't give a humble opinion if your breathing in,only if your breathing out.


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1/4/2009 12:53:24 AM

 
Richard Lynch
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/12/2005
  "raw files=an open easel"

And how is it, specifically, samuel, that digital adjustments have to be different than those done in a darkroom? As surely you use a darkroom? If not, do you just stand at your window holding up negatives so the sun's light projects them onto the wall across the room?

Richard


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1/4/2009 6:28:09 AM

 
W.   
Darren and John,

even if YOU don't apply any editing at all to your image, specific algorithms – developed by people – are still applied to the raw data (or you wouldn't have an image at all).
Applying algorithms = processing/editing.

I.o.w.: no processing/editing = no image.

So images – digital or otherwise – are ALWAYS processed/edited!

I.o.w.: processing/editing is an integral part of photography. Photography is impossible without processing/editing. You wouldn't have an image!

Now you may bicker over HOW MUCH processing/editing would still be within the realm of photography, and at what point it would become 'illustration' or 'art'.

"a photo is a fake copy of what you actually saw"

No, Susan, a photo is a very REAL copy of what the camera actually saw. There's nothing fake about it. Only: the camera 'sees' something different than your eyes do. But it 'copies' what it 'sees'. Very REAL. Not at all 'fake'.


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1/4/2009 10:38:37 AM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  Richard, Sam's never made it past that point. A 1000 proclamations but 0 explanations.


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1/4/2009 1:18:43 PM

 
John G. Clifford Jr
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/18/2005
  Everyone who is saying that all digital photographs (or all photographs) are inherently processed/edited by the mere act of taking a picture is avoiding the issue. The question is, does modifying the raw capture/negative/slide by substantive editing still result in a photograph, or a photo illustration? Maybe the bigger question is, does it matter?

After thinking, reading, and researching this, I believe that the question is really the old debate between pictorialism and realism. My impression is that most people on the site are fans of pictorialism whether they know it or not.

Maybe what this all comes down to is this: each artist must determine their own framework under which they produce art. If I choose not to make substantive edits as a boundary, a means of constraint under which I operate, then that is okay. If others choose not to limit themselves in this manner, instead choosing combine photography and graphic artistry, then that is okay. I do think that we, as artists, should willingly explain our methodology to our audience, though.


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1/4/2009 4:59:46 PM

 
Samuel Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/21/2004
  very nice post john,and I agree.
the quaint notion that I haven't learned.
side yourself is fine with me,yet you are a moratoriam as to knowledge?
well bite me greg since your knowledge is greater than mine.a given.yet you don't share.
apprentiship?
mentorship?
mr self centered dweeb, is a self concerting god.unaware of the youth of the next generation.an unthinking selfish unique to a bush admin?
what vision would you have me view?


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1/4/2009 10:32:19 PM

 
Oliver Anderson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/16/2004
  Can't we all just find another thread to argue about while I Photoshop up my images...for the love of God.


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1/4/2009 10:38:21 PM

 
Richard Lynch
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/12/2005
  John,
Ignoring the fact that an image has to be processed to be seen, is denying the truth of the matter. You can't see a RAW capture...and it has to be processed to be viewed...and processing means change from the original capture -- and rather radically so.

That you allow movement of items in a scene but not in a digital file makes no sense to me whatever...I don't see the difference as in either case an object is moved. What is the reality if I took the picture, moved the bush and then edited the image to look "real" by moving the bush in the digital file to represent the new scene? When presenting the scene and the altered photo they'd now look the same... And in that case is the edited image more real than the original capture (as it better matches the current reality)? Your 'clear' definition is in such muddy water I can't tell a hippo from a snake.

I have nothing against people playing that their own notion of purist photography is important (or any notion they want to retain for that matter -- I don't have to believe it), but I do have an issue with trying to impose that on other photographers. It is your belief system, and your philosophy/psychology, and not everyone shares it. A photo is a representation -- altered or not -- and it can be a good representation or a bad one -- altered or not -- and can still be a good or bad photo whether it is a representation that one or another find pleasing or altered or unaltered or displeasing. That you want some kind of disclosure is unseemly. Like I believe I said I have images that people all assume are retouched and I've done nothing but color correction...I don't try to correct them, and I don't put a disclaimer on them saying "No, really, this is as it was shot", and I won't soon be noting every change I made in some litany that no one will ever read -- except perhaps someone who wants to degrade a work as 'phoney'.

"Maybe the bigger question is, does it matter?"

I think not at all. If you want to have a distinction between photo and photo-illustration, that is your right and interest. Some people who make a lot of changes may welcome the distinction. I don't share the interest in the distinction, and believe all my shots are photographs. The definition of Photography, according to Websters is, after all:

1. a picture produced by photography.

"I do think that we, as artists, should willingly explain our methodology to our audience, though."

Well, if you have only one method that's fine. Though my outline is always similar in my approach, my methods change for every image depending on what I want to do or see. If I have to write up a list of changes every time I make a photo, I'll become a monk instead, thanks. On the other hand if people ask I gladly answer -- as there's nothing to hide.

I still hold that those who try to label, degrade, or otherwise attempt to make edited images somehow inferior simply have not explored image editing and don't have enough experience in how it is used. The bulk of image edits are no more complicated than darkroom adjustments for exposure and dodge/burn. Some might also cover zit/blemish removal [which would be equivalent to removing a bush...and every portrait becomes a photo illustration via your clear definition]. Good digital composites in my opinion look realistic. But I don't want to tell anyone what to label their photos if they want them more fantastic and like to work toward those ends. Hopefully the image is clear enough as to what is intended, and I don't think labeling is needed. I am not sure there is a benefit or clarification in naming something a "photo illustration", especially under vague guidelines that were never used with film photography.

Richard Lynch


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1/5/2009 8:58:29 AM

 

BetterPhoto Member
  Can you imagine calling Ansel Adams photos not real. Now thats comedy.


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1/5/2009 10:30:47 AM

 
Richard Lynch
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/12/2005
  D., I wish I had the talent for brevity you show here...but to me that is exactly the intimation.

Richard


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1/5/2009 11:57:59 AM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  You like brief, just wait till he changes his name again.


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1/5/2009 12:39:15 PM

 
amy becerra  
 
  Gatlinburg Sunset
Gatlinburg Sunset
Taken with my old Canon Rebel XT
© amy becerra
Canon EOS 50D Digi...
 
 
I have to agree with the feeling of being mislead. When I first started looking at the incredible photos on this website I was amazed that such colors could be captured. Now I have "learned" that probably 99% of them are "photoshopped". WOW. I have to say I am deeply disapointed. I thought I could learn to capture those deep colors with my camera, and now I know that after I shoot my image in perfect focus that I will have to enhance the colors with a program, just like everyone else does. Layering, "painting", changing WB, increasing or decreasing colors are all just a click away. Yes I am saddened. Now I look at pictures with a critical eye and list all the changes this photographer probably did to "create" the image I am looking at. As a new student here I know that I will have to take a photoshop course very soon. The more I read about all the crazy things people do to their pictures the more I hate photoshop. Where is the challenge in clicking a color enhancer? Sorry but I am not impressed with the results. Maybe I am deciding to be a purist, but it is MY feeling. I would rather look at one pure perfect shot that took someone 100 shots to get then a photoshopped picture that took 5 minutes to enhance. How am I ever supposed to know what I can capture after 20 more years of experience if all I see are "fake" representaions of the true camera image. I do think people should be honest about their "changes". At least us newbies could then figure out how to get the same type of results. It's about being honest. Do what you want with a picture, but don't tell me your f-stop, ISO and shutter speed settings were "HOW" you captured that image you used an expensive photoshop program to change. Tell me HOW you got that picture exactly. If your list of changes is so long then just maybe it wasn't such a great picture to begin with???? I'm new, and I want my EYE to help me capture great pictures, so I will continue to shoot and shoot until I get it right. No need to beat me up, it's just that my rose-colored glasses have been broken...and I am sad. Here is an UNCHANGED picture I took.


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4/3/2009 5:58:36 PM

 
Carlton Ward
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/13/2005
Contact Carlton
Carlton's Gallery
carltonwardphoto.com
  Hello Amy,
Processing was also done with film and sometimes heavily. Photoshop is called the Digital Darkroom because that is what it is. Jpegs are processed in the camera the way that the camera software interprets the image and tries to make contrast, color & tone adjustments according to its perception of how the image should look set by the parameters of its software. Raw files are unprocessed and it is intended for processing to be done to bring to life the information contained in the raw file.
I have found there have 2 sides of my progression of getting better as a photographer. 1st is just getting better using light and getting the best capture possible with my camera (composition, lines, POV, proper exposure) and 2nd is learning to process the images the way I want them with software. I primarily use Photoshop with a Topaz Adjust plugin and PhotoMatix for HDR images and also Corel Painter X. My gallery is a mix of many images with just a simple levels/curves adjust and others with a little more processing. I sometimes overdo it and sometimes that is by choice as I find my own limits & learn to fine tune and develop my own touch for processing. Amazingly, a recent photo that I got a 2nd place finish for had very limited processing done though many people assumed I did more. The raw image doesn't look that much different than the finished image and I attribute that do just getting better with both aspects of my photography.
Then there is the POV Point of View and framing lines & a subject in a way that is very unique & artistic and software is not going to be able to simulate that.
Photographers that rely on selling to stock agencies will replace the sky or background and clone out distracting things because their livelihood depends on selling those images. I learn & practice this as well even though I dont need to sell images for survival, I still want to learn as many techniques as I can to get better at my art.
If you look at my Parrot & Emu photos in Carltons Gallery, these are not Photoshopped other than a very slight levels & curves adjust.
Dont be sad Amy, embrace your photography and pursue it the way you want to. You are the artist and your work is your own and we will enjoy it whether you have Photoshopped it or not if its an appealing image.
Blessings,
Carlton


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4/3/2009 8:14:25 PM

 
Richard Lynch
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/12/2005
  "The more I read about all the crazy things people do to their pictures the more I hate Photoshop. Where is the challenge in clicking a color enhancer? Sorry but I am not impressed with the results. Maybe I am deciding to be a purist"

I was hoping this was left to the archive as it had become exhausting...But I think it is impossible to define 'purist', and it is not correct to portray Photoshop use and adjustment as 'clicking'. You do not have to indulge the digital darkroom if you are not interested, but the fact is that just like the wet darkroom in film photography it is used to enhance photos. Analog photos are altered by choosing exposure times during developing, and color corrected. What is the difference between that and what you do in Photoshop? These arguements are not well-considered.

A change does not have to be 'crazy' or even radical, it may be dodging, burning, adjustment for white balance, color filtering, contrast enhancement, gradient adjustments...I think all those calling themselves 'purists' are OK with using filters on their lenses, and what is the difference if the filter s front mounted, rear mounted, or applied after the capture? And if you had a filter applying soft focus that is different than doing it digitally why? Again, the objection seems to be that one has to develop the skills to achieve that level of expertise in the digital darkroom...

I know what I do in Photoshop every day and it is rarely to make a major overhaul to the composition of an image. The goal is as always to make the most of a capture -- first as an exposure -- and then tune in the darkroom. That is tradition in photography from the time someone first set a paintbrush to a black & white photo to rouge a subjects cheeks.

Digital processing is not an evil...when using digital images it is part of the process and a NECESSITY, and is part of the art of photography...just as any choices in processing images have been, including toning, emulsion transfers, and standard developing (which requires timing and choices). For me digital process opens doors to how I can see my images, helps me learn about the craft and art, and changes my choices in capturing images for the better.

That most people who find the process evil don't know about or have experience with image editing is not a surprise. It is human nature to fear what you don't know. But the ideas of digital adjustment being any far cry from what has gone on in analog photography since its inception is simply showing a lack of understanding of the history of photographic images. We are just a little further along the developmental and technological curve. I guess technological development can be seen as an evil somehow, but it is exactly the thing that makes betterphoto possible, as before the internet and digital image transfers it would never have been possible to build a community like this.

"Tell me HOW you got that picture exactly."

If you really want to know, ask the photographer. I think you'll find very few here in this community who would not be willing to fully divulge techniques used for capture or adjustment. However, I won't personally be writing those descriptions up until after I know someone is interested, or I'll be wasting a lot of time I could be spending doing something else.

"If your list of changes is so long then just maybe it wasn't such a great picture to begin with????"

It is certainly possible that it wasn't. But I wonder if it is realistic to think that taking every 'great image' was always the result of skill. Ansel Adams himself said something to the effect of "Sometimes I do get to places just when God's ready to have somebody click the shutter". In the case here an image isn't very good to start, vision and skill are necessary to make something from that which can be considered interesting... Photoshop doesn't have a "make this really cool" button, and it won't see for you (as it can't see), or do anything on its own. The final result of image editing is part of the vision of the photographer.

I was hoping to keep it short, but I couldn't again...

I hope it helps...

Richard Lynch


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4/4/2009 8:45:09 AM

 
amy becerra  
 
 
Thank you Carlton and Richard for the responses. I have softened my outlook because of your responses. Today I loaded a program I purchased 4 weeks ago, but was hesitant to begin, it is Lightroom 2. Today I took some pictures of a red flower with small purple flowers within it. I just finished attempting to try the lightroom "develop" section. I don't know if I helped my picture or not..I will try to upload BOTH the original and the changed photo. If either one of you or both would be willing to comment I would greatly appreciate it. Did I help the picture? Again, I want to thank you both for your resectful responses, I know you could have been harsh based on my post. I tend to be an emotional artist...but sometimes the sunrise brings a new ( and better) perspective on life. I just finished the Canon 50D course and I am signed up for "Impact in your photos: The wow factor, and Creative closeup, which both start next week. If either of you could recommend a Lightroom course for my next round of classes, I would appreciate it. I really want to grow as an artist and a photographer. Knowledge is power!!


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4/4/2009 10:23:08 AM

 
amy becerra   OK the files are too big. If you want to see them, the web gallery is www.betterphoto.com?amybec I will try to load them there. They are RedFlower and RedFlower with LR.


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4/4/2009 10:42:48 AM

 
Peter W. Marks
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/5/2006
  I would have been cutting the grass today but it has been peeing with rain so I have spent a happy hour or so reading what you whackos have been blathering on about. It has been such fun except that now I shall have to get a t-shirt made with an arrow on it pointing to my head saying "I am not really bald I have just shaved my head. I wouldn't want John to accuse me of deceiving every one with my manipulated hair.


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4/19/2009 6:42:46 PM

 
Philippe Vieux-Jeanton
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/6/2007
  @ Peter: 2 thumbs Up !! Those peoples make my sick. Relax !! IMO, about Art, less you think, better you are.


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4/26/2009 11:20:24 PM

 
Peter W. Marks
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/5/2006
  Amen to that Phillippe!

"I shall pass this way but once.
Therefore if there is any good that I can do
Or kindness I can show to any living being,
Let me do it now.
Let me not defer or neglect it,
For I shall not pass this way again."
Stephen Grellet 1773-1855,Limoges.

Just something for all of us to ponder upon in this quarrelsome age.
Have a wonderful week friends! Pete



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4/27/2009 5:02:39 AM

 
Richard Lynch
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/12/2005
  Philippe, People on both sides of the argument make you sick?

I am not sure where you got the idea that thinking about what you produce is a bad thing, but I am not sure I can go along with that sentiment. Are you suggesting art should always be whim? I'm not sure that will lead to any mastery of a medium, refined or interesting work.

Richard Lynch


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4/27/2009 5:14:21 AM

 
Philippe Vieux-Jeanton
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/6/2007
  Sorry my English, Richard. Sick is maybe a bit to violent! Let say... Dazed !


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5/5/2009 10:08:14 AM

 
Susan M. Reynolds
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/4/2007
simplydivinephotography.com
  This discussion was quite a bit like a courtroom full of lawyers agruing their case...I (don't stone me) happen to agree with Richard Lynch and can't wait to take his Leveraging Layers class!
However I was wondering if anyone ever looked up what it means:
pur⋅ism  /ˈpyʊərɪzəm/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [pyoor-iz-uhm] Show IPA
–noun 1. strict observance of or insistence on purity in language, style, etc.
2. an instance of this.
3. (often initial capital letter) Fine Arts. a style of art developed in France in the early 20th century, characterized by the use of simple geometric forms and images evocative of objects produced by machine. DO YOU SEE IT PRODUCED BY MACHINE...ISN'T A COMPUTER WITH SOFTWARE A MACHINE?
Origin:
1795–1805; pure + -ism
related forms:
purist, NOUN FORM
pu⋅ris⋅tic, pu⋅ris⋅ti⋅cal, adjective
pu⋅ris⋅ti⋅cal⋅ly, adverb Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2009, and The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Copyright © 2009 by Houghton Mifflin Company
Cite This Source Link To purist
pur·ist (pyŏŏr'ĭst)
NOUN: ONE WHO PRACTICES OR URGES STRICT CORRECTNESS, ESPECIALLY IN THE USE OF WORDS (Maybe this just means correct usage of the King's English as the old saying goes!
Purist
Pur"ist\, n. [Cf. F. puriste.]
1. One who aims at excessive purity/ nicety, ESP. IN THE CHOICE OF LANGUAGE (NOT INTERPRETING WAS IS "REAL PHOTOGRAPHY...MERELY PROPER GRAMMAR MAYBE???)
He [Fox] . . . purified vocabulary with a scrupulosity unknown to any purist. --Macaulay.
2. One who maintains that the New Testament was written in pure Greek. --M. Stuart. AGAIN "proper language" not a "proper photographer"...for goodness sakes...Just had to add to the fun according to the great AMERICAN HERITAGE DICTIONARY!


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5/20/2009 1:04:44 AM

 
Susan M. Reynolds
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/4/2007
simplydivinephotography.com
  I meant a room full of arguing lawyers...typo - oops
This from Wikipedia.com on Purist or Purism:
A purist is one who desires that an item remain true to its essence and free from adulterating or diluting influences. The term may be used in almost any field, and can be applied either to the self or to others. Use of the term may be either pejorative or complimentary, depending on context. Because the appellation depends on subjective notions of what is "pure" as opposed to "adulterating" as applied to any particular item, conflict can arise both as to whether a person so labeled is actually a purist and as to whether that is desirable.
According to the Merriam Webster's Online Dictionary, the term dates from 1706 and is defined as "a person who adheres strictly and often excessively to a tradition", especially "one preoccupied with the purity of a language and its protection from the use of foreign or altered forms."
1. And yet another definition from Wictionary.com; (uncountable) An insistence on the traditionally correct way of doing things, especially of language…language…language
Are we forgetting that photography is ART and there are many forms of art interpreted in ways too numerous to count – does it really matter how the final image was created? I think not.
Just another bit of info on purist/ism- The poor dead horse has been beaten for far too long. Let us bury him...please!


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5/20/2009 1:15:48 AM

 
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