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Category: New Questions

Photography Question 
Nicholas Semo
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2008
 

New category for contest.


I'm sure I'll get a lot of flack for this,but here goes.
How about a new category for photos that aren't digitally enhanced in any way. After all isn't that what photography was all about, getting in right in the camera. In the days when we shot slide film you either got it right or you tossed it. Seems like all I hear now is "I'll fix that in photoshop". I've seen some awesome photos here and they are great to look at,but a lot of photos are heavily altered in photoshop or other programs. I've seen photos entered in the contest that didn't move forward were reworked in photoshop and then re-entered, heck...I've done it myself. I think the new category should allow only the minimum of work...cropping, dodge and burn, and a minimum of sharpening , only because of the nature of digital cameras. A re-submit to me would mean going out and re-shooting the subject under better conditions.
Just my 2 cents.
Anyone else have any thoughts on this?


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7/3/2013 11:27:32 AM

 
Tammy M. Anderson
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/13/2007
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  Love the idea. Would love to see this started.


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7/3/2013 3:06:32 PM

 
Dayna Cain
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/9/2010
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  I think it's an excellent idea Nicholas. I would love it.


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7/3/2013 4:11:44 PM

 
Monnie Ryan
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/25/2008
  Count me as a yes - great idea!


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7/3/2013 5:05:35 PM

 
Ken Smith
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/11/2005
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  I like the idea too. But where would you (or BP) draw the line as to what's digitally altered versus out of the camera? And how would BP know a photo isn't altered somewhat? Again, I'm all for it because we should all strive to get it right, in-camera. Just wondering how BP would know if something slightly cloned, or a bird "painted in", etc. THe only way I can think of is supplying the RAW image. But some people don't shoot in RAW. Good discussion topic.


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7/3/2013 5:15:49 PM

 
Nicholas Semo
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2008
  Good point Ken. I guess this is where we would have to have faith in the honesty of folks entering photos in that category. Hmmmm, I guess this may be the first obstacle.


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7/3/2013 5:27:56 PM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  In the days of slide film you still had retouching and corrections when that slide went to print. Plus taking advantage of using different slide films based on their different characteristics of color rendition, contrast, grain, to get desired results.
But I understand your point.


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7/3/2013 6:34:11 PM

 
Usman M. Bajwa
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/11/2006
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  I personally feel that it is the end result that should matter and not how one comes to the end. In other words, it should be the right destination and not the route one took to reach there!!!

An image should be able to grasp the viewer and keep his attention for long, as long as this is achieved, I believe its a successful image. Whether it was all done in-camera (by the way there is a lot of processing done inside the DSLRs of these days if one is shooting in Jpeg or Tif modes) or with combination of some post-processing tools, should not matter, IMHO.

Correct me if I am wrong, I do not believe that there is any professional photographer using DSLRs who does not use some kind of post-processing.

UB.


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7/3/2013 9:43:23 PM

 
Nicholas Semo
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2008
  Anyone that shoots raw format has to use post processing, but that's not what I'm talking about.
Our state fair has an annual photo contest. The two main category's are traditional and non- traditional. Any photo altered in photoshop that includes cloning, painting in objects not in the original, severly altering the color or the use of photoshop filters to add dreamy effects is not allowed. Basically any processing other than a straight conversion from raw to jpeg, would not be allowed in the traditional category.


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7/4/2013 4:13:42 AM

 
Bojan Bencic
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/29/2005
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  Interesting idea, Nicholas.
Not so easy to do.

How would you draw the line on "minimum of work...cropping, dodge and burn, and a minimum of sharpening"?
Software in camera will do the processing for you in case you do not shoot in raw. Different cameras and settings...
Cropping can be easily achieved by walking closer to your subject (or zooming or using different lens)... why would you allow that?
Putting limits on level of dodge and burn is quite difficult, too. In the end it all comes down to judges.

A good photograph will stand out in any category, with or without Photoshop. It is only up to judges to reward heavy (or any) post processing.
And if you look at the winners you'll get the idea where they stand on this issue.

One more problem with a new category - you would need another one for each existing category. Like flowers with and without PP, landscapes with and without PP...

Maybe it would be better to abolish all categories and have only one - photography.

Just a thought.


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7/4/2013 5:40:35 AM

 
Nicholas Semo
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2008
  Cropping by moving in closer, using a different lens, or zooming in, is all done in camera and doesn't change the photo you were taking at the time.
I'm talking about trying to achieve the best that we can, with the tool we have in our hand (the camera) and not using external software to achieve something that can't possibly be achieved in camera.


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7/4/2013 6:06:41 AM

 
Dayna Cain
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/9/2010
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  I still really like your idea Nicholas. If not a new category in the contest then maybe a club? Just a thought.


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7/4/2013 4:20:03 PM

 
Natasha Pliss
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2010
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  I am absolutly agree with Usman, that "the end result that should matter". Digital photography is not just digital camera. It involves everything this technology can offer. And if we don't use it, there will be no progress. Speaking about RAW: you can do wonders within RAW software without ever using any filters. Everything - for the better final result. This is MHO.


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7/5/2013 5:54:11 AM

 
Nicholas Semo
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2008
  Is progress always for the better?


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7/5/2013 8:18:15 AM

 
Nicholas Semo
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2008
  Just to clarify...I'm talking about a separate category for folks that want to enter photos that have not been manipulated. Those that want to manipulate there photos still have all the other category's open to them.
Not everyone can afford to purchase photoshop, or other photo manipulating software, and not everyone is good at using it. It doesn't seen fair that everyone has to compete against photoshop experts.
Amazing photos were taken long before photoshop, but it took hard work, and waiting for the right conditions. I feel amazing photos can still me made without photoshop.


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7/5/2013 8:48:00 AM

 
Natasha Pliss
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2010
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  In general - yes! And this is for a completely different discussion.
But to MAKE a great picture one should start with getting it right in the camera. There is no doubt in my mind about it. Certain things like a poor composition, light and focusing can't be improved enough with any external software to end up looking great.
But if I can add something that will improve the otherwise good picture even more OR convey a certain feeling or mood, why not use it?


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7/5/2013 9:46:17 AM

 
Natasha Pliss
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/17/2010
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  You are right, Nicholas. It's not fair that everyone has to compete against photoshop experts. But unfortunately the nature of the digital camera is that images have to be sharpened more and color edited (at least) to be good enough for a contest.


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7/5/2013 10:01:21 AM

 
Bojan Bencic
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/29/2005
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  Nicholas, are you suggesting that "non manipulated" photos can not fairly compete with "manipulated" ones? Why not?

There is plenty of great free software for those that can not affort PS. If somebody is not good at using it - well that's just lazy.
It's a tool - same as camera. How you use your tools is the difference between good and bad photo. The "in-camera expert" who is also a "photoshop expert" will always do better then just the "in-camera expert" or just the "photoshop expert".
The tools are there, why not use them? How you use them is the key.

There is a number of people (rather small number now) that think digital is not "real" photography anyway and that only film can produce the real thing.

Amazing photos will always be amazing photos.


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7/5/2013 10:43:21 AM

 
Nicholas Semo
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2008
  Pure photography or straight photography refers to photography that attempts to depict a scene as realistically and objectively as permitted by the medium, renouncing the use of manipulation. The West Coast Photographic Movement is best known for the use of this style.
Founded in 1932, Group f/64 who championed purist photography, had this to say:
Pure photography is defined as possessing no qualities of technique, composition or idea, derivative of any other art form.
The term emerged in the 1880s to mean simply an unmanipulated photographic print, in opposition to the composite prints of Henry Peach Robinson or the soft focus painterly images of some pictorialist photographers. At first, straight photography was a viable choice within pictorialism, as, for example, the work of Henry Frederick Evans. Paul Strand's 1917 characterization of his work as "absolute unqualified objectivity" described a change in the meaning of the term. It came to imply a specific aesthetic typified by higher contrast, sharper focus, aversion to cropping, and emphasis on the underlying abstract geometric structure of subjects. Some photographers began to identify these formal elements as a language for translating metaphysical or spiritual dimensions into visual terms.
This aesthetic caught on in the early 1930s and found its most notable use in what came to be known as The West Coast Photographic Movement. Photographic superstars including Ansel Adams, Edward Weston his son Brett Weston, Dody Weston Thompson and Berenice Abbott are considered innovators and practitioners of this style. Many other well known artists of this time considered themselves practitioners of this West Coast counterculture and even formed a group known as Group f/64 to highlight their efforts and set themselves apart from the East Coast pictorialism movement.

From Wikipedia


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7/5/2013 1:22:48 PM

 
Bojan Bencic
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/29/2005
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  The only real purist is the one who watches the scene without a camera on his face and is keeping it to himself and not uttering a word about it to anyone.
Everything else is manipulation.

Those giants you mentioned were all masters of the darkroom and manipulated their photos to achieve their vision. They probably invented cropping, dodge/burn, sharpening and most of photoshop tricks.

Ansel Adams quote: “The film is the score, but the print is the performance.”


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7/5/2013 3:12:23 PM

 
Nicholas Semo
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2008
  This wasn't meant to become a debate, I was only interested in finding out how many people would be interested in a new category for the contest. Those not interested could continue to enter in the existing category's.

Now I have 6 photos to put on disc and taken to be printed for our state fair photo contest. After printing I have to cut Matt's for them then mount them per instructions. I will be entering these in the traditional photo category ( only minor adjustments allowed) as opposed to the non-traditional photo category (manipulation to your hearts content is allowed) LOL
I'll check this thread next week to see if there is any interest for a new category. Maybe then I can contact bp about it.
Dayna, you mentioned maybe start a club. It sounds like that may be the way to go. I wouldn't know where to begin....perhaps someone with the know how and ability to run one could get it going.
If I've offended anyone by suggesting this...it wasn't my intention. If my replies offended anyone, that also was not my intention.
Have fun and keep on clicking.

Nick


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7/5/2013 3:46:24 PM

 
Gregory LaGrange
BetterPhoto Member Since: 11/11/2003
gregorylagrange.org
  Nobody's offended. It's just a discussion on the topic, which is what this is here for. And you also did ask for anybody's thoughts.
Using photoshop isn't inherently an advantage, like being without the proper number of players on a team. Although I will acknowledge that there can be factors that come from the direction of the viewer of the photos. Like the common made-up term of Flickr effect. Which is the propensity for a seemingly plain photo on Flickr to get numerous "great shot" comments due to the maker of the photo just increasing the saturation of the color. If you bake with a lot of butter, you may get a lot of "ooh this taste good" no matter what you make.
But there's always an element that is not afforded to all entries of a contest. A photo of an elderly woman in Cambodia is just a photo of my next door neighbor to somebody in Cambodia. What's the big deal. But that same photo could be lauded as National Geo quality to a stateside judge of a contest.
So any perceived advantage of photoshop may not be an advantage that the photographer has but something on the other side of the viewer or judge. And that happens. Could you have black and white compete with color if you wanted nothing done to render the image other than how it is as you see it in front of you.


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7/5/2013 7:38:36 PM

 
Nicholas Semo
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2008
  Oops.....you're right Gregory... I did type "thoughts" I meant to say would anyone else be interested. My bad.


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7/6/2013 7:11:36 AM

 
Bojan Bencic
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/29/2005
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  Sorry.


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7/6/2013 11:09:46 AM

 
Christopher Budny
BetterPhoto Member Since: 10/3/2005
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  My two cents; the editing ultimately doesn't matter, as I tend to disagree with your opening statement that photography is about getting it right, in-camera. Rather, I agree with Usman's response, the end visual result achieved is the key factor for a displayed photograph. Does the displayed photograph tell the story, or convey the feeling, or meaning, or emotion, or concepts that the artist was trying to get across to the viewer? If the answer is yes, the photographer (like all artists in the history of art) has used his or her available tools and skills, whatever those may be at the time, effectively.

I tend to agree that Photoshop cannot fix a truly "bad" photographic capture---but what that really says to me, is Photoshop can't fix photographs that weren't first captured with the various elements deemed crucial to the success of communicating the photographer's vision to the viewer. Getting a scene right, in-camera, is often a big first step towards a successful image, but it has never really been the one and only step. (Even the "straight" photographers in the Wikipedia article you mentioned, had to choose (beyond their wet-darkroom choices!) their monotone pigment values and their paper types & surfaces for their prints - which subtly alter the way the viewer perceives the printed image.) And for some photographs, getting the scene right, in-camera, means producing a capture that at least initially, could look like garbage to some, but is the correct capture for achieving the envisioned end result.

On top of all that, today's cameras carry a veritable Photoshop suite of tools, already built-in. In-camera HDR, in-camera photo-stitching or pano, in-camera multi-exposure/single frame, in-camera adjustments to color, saturation, sharpness, creative filters, toning, borders, etc.---those are all now available "in-camera" on many models; yet I'm guessing for your category idea, contestants would need to leave all of those settings out of an image capture. Perhaps if the contestants had to gather together, shoot the exact same scene at essentially the same moment, all with the same focal length, same subject focus point, using their camera's most-neutral-settings... just maybe you'd have the basis for a judge to then evaluate which of those images, in the judge's opinion, is closest (to the judge's ideal) of "getting it right in camera"---and really, the judge needed to be present on the day of shooting! But when you let the contestants enter anything (trusting they will honestly abide by no editing), they still have many, many tools at their disposal to potentially create a more compelling image than their neighbor; depth of field choices, panning techniques, long-exposures, double-exposures---none of which slip into "editing" territory, but all of which "heavily alter" the scene...

The tool sets for all artists have evolved over time; the good artists throughout history have always known which tools to use, when to use them, and how to best use them to their advantage, to produce art that appeals to their audience.

My two cents... ;) Not trying to give you any flack! ;)


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7/19/2013 9:06:18 AM

 
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