Photo ethics

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by YDOD, Sep 21, 2009.

  1. YDOD

    YDOD Guest

    I have recently gone back to photography after an absence of 15 years or so.
    My previous hobby was usually pictures of flowers, leaves and insects
    typically with Kodachrome 64. I find that digital photography is not as
    challenging because it is so easy to change the exposure and the color
    intensity after the photo has been taken. I realize though that Kodachrome
    definitely did not display natural colors, but the exact same product was
    available to everyone. I sometimes think that it would be an idea for all
    viewing software to have an "undo" control which would show the original
    version of any picture so that you could see how it had been manipulated. I
    started off with the intention of not editing my photos at all but sometimes
    the temptation to change the exposure a little is overwhelming. Does the end
    always justify the means or should photography be more a matter of
    imagination with a camera rather than talent with editing software?
     
    YDOD, Sep 21, 2009
    #1
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  2. YDOD

    Charles Guest

    "YDOD" <> wrote in message
    news:VtOtm.64886$...

    > Does the end always justify the means or should photography be more a
    > matter of imagination with a camera rather than talent with editing
    > software?


    That's up to you. It would only be "unethical" if you used methods to
    delude others.

    I post-process very little but occasionally take out distractions (cars,
    tourists, power lines, signs) and when I am done I have a representation
    that is certainly not real. So what. If I did it to sell real estate by
    creating an illusion or unrealistic expectations, that would be unethical.

    Again, it is up to you. If you are having fun and expressing yourself, that
    is all that really matters.

    Welcome back to photography.
     
    Charles, Sep 21, 2009
    #2
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  3. "YDOD" <> wrote:

    I find that digital photography is not as
    > challenging because it is so easy to change the exposure and the color
    > intensity after the photo has been taken.


    People always did this with black and white, and only limitations with
    colour processes restricted them in doing this with colour too. Right
    back in the mid 20th century, famous colour photographers such as Eliot
    Porter were taking full advantage of their mastery of colour processing
    chemistry to accentuate colours.

    > I sometimes think that it would be an idea for all
    > viewing software to have an "undo" control which would show the
    > original version of any picture so that you could see how it had been
    > manipulated.


    To some extent you can do this yourself. I have sometimes seen
    eye-catching photographs online, but on saving them to disk and viewing
    with Irfanview, I find that if I reduce the colour saturation those sexy
    images suddenly take on natural hues and lose their magic. In such a way
    it is possible to distinguish "genuine masterpieces" from ordinary
    pictures with added monosodium glutamate.

    > I started off with the intention of not editing my photos at all but
    > sometimes the temptation to change the exposure a little is
    > overwhelming. Does the end always justify the means or should
    > photography be more a matter of imagination with a camera rather than
    > talent with editing software?


    Jazzing up images can add impact, but impact isn't everything. Just as
    adding sugar or salt to food can increase its appeal, those with a
    discerning palate (something which is acquired over your life) come to
    appreciate the subtleties of taste over "wow" sensations. So it is with
    photographs. The naive viewer may be "wowed" by increased saturation and
    contrast, but the experienced viewer will appreciate subtle harmonies of
    tone without requiring maximum white or black or saturated colours.
     
    Marty Freeman, Sep 21, 2009
    #3
  4. YDOD

    ray Guest

    On Mon, 21 Sep 2009 11:12:16 -0600, YDOD wrote:

    > I have recently gone back to photography after an absence of 15 years or
    > so. My previous hobby was usually pictures of flowers, leaves and
    > insects typically with Kodachrome 64. I find that digital photography is
    > not as challenging because it is so easy to change the exposure and the
    > color intensity after the photo has been taken. I realize though that
    > Kodachrome definitely did not display natural colors, but the exact same
    > product was available to everyone. I sometimes think that it would be an
    > idea for all viewing software to have an "undo" control which would show
    > the original version of any picture so that you could see how it had
    > been manipulated. I started off with the intention of not editing my
    > photos at all but sometimes the temptation to change the exposure a
    > little is overwhelming. Does the end always justify the means or should
    > photography be more a matter of imagination with a camera rather than
    > talent with editing software?


    Why do you consider it 'unethical'? Even in the days of film the
    processing could easily be 'tweaked' to correct for exposure, etc. - what
    you got if you had your film commercialy developed was the operator's
    best guess - or sometimes simply a machine's best guess as to how it
    should be. It's just a lot easier with digital images.
     
    ray, Sep 21, 2009
    #4
  5. YDOD

    Don Stauffer Guest

    YDOD wrote:
    > I have recently gone back to photography after an absence of 15 years or
    > so. My previous hobby was usually pictures of flowers, leaves and
    > insects typically with Kodachrome 64. I find that digital photography is
    > not as challenging because it is so easy to change the exposure and the
    > color intensity after the photo has been taken. I realize though that
    > Kodachrome definitely did not display natural colors, but the exact same
    > product was available to everyone. I sometimes think that it would be an
    > idea for all viewing software to have an "undo" control which would show
    > the original version of any picture so that you could see how it had
    > been manipulated. I started off with the intention of not editing my
    > photos at all but sometimes the temptation to change the exposure a
    > little is overwhelming. Does the end always justify the means or should
    > photography be more a matter of imagination with a camera rather than
    > talent with editing software?



    Personally, I did a lot of darkroom editing. I was not shooting
    photo-journalism, but art photography. I did things like Kodalith
    derivatives that certainly destroyed any "realism" in the image.

    I viewed what I was doing as no different than painting with a brush.
    Few artists painted a scene precisely as they saw it (why include those
    power lines overhead). They paint an idylic interpretation of the scene.

    Sure, if you are shooting documentary stuff, don't edit much. But for
    shooting artistic stuff, digital is really no different than film. Many
    of us edit(ed) both.
     
    Don Stauffer, Sep 22, 2009
    #5
  6. YDOD

    mianileng Guest

    YDOD wrote:
    > I have recently gone back to photography after an absence of 15
    > years
    > or so. My previous hobby was usually pictures of flowers,
    > leaves and
    > insects typically with Kodachrome 64. I find that digital
    > photography
    > is not as challenging because it is so easy to change the
    > exposure
    > and the color intensity after the photo has been taken. I
    > realize
    > though that Kodachrome definitely did not display natural
    > colors, but
    > the exact same product was available to everyone. I sometimes
    > think
    > that it would be an idea for all viewing software to have an
    > "undo"
    > control which would show the original version of any picture so
    > that
    > you could see how it had been manipulated. I started off with
    > the
    > intention of not editing my photos at all but sometimes the
    > temptation to change the exposure a little is overwhelming.
    > Does the
    > end always justify the means or should photography be more a
    > matter
    > of imagination with a camera rather than talent with editing
    > software?


    I believe most people accept *some* amount of manipulation to
    produce a pleasing picture and to compensate for technical
    limitations or human error. Where opinions differ is in making
    major changes to content.
     
    mianileng, Sep 22, 2009
    #6
  7. YDOD

    Marvin Guest

    YDOD wrote:
    > I have recently gone back to photography after an absence of 15 years or
    > so. My previous hobby was usually pictures of flowers, leaves and
    > insects typically with Kodachrome 64. I find that digital photography is
    > not as challenging because it is so easy to change the exposure and the
    > color intensity after the photo has been taken. I realize though that
    > Kodachrome definitely did not display natural colors, but the exact same
    > product was available to everyone. I sometimes think that it would be an
    > idea for all viewing software to have an "undo" control which would show
    > the original version of any picture so that you could see how it had
    > been manipulated. I started off with the intention of not editing my
    > photos at all but sometimes the temptation to change the exposure a
    > little is overwhelming. Does the end always justify the means or should
    > photography be more a matter of imagination with a camera rather than
    > talent with editing software?


    Darkroom work was always a part of photography for those who
    had a darkroom. Now it is open to more of us. It is not an
    ethical issue, per se.
     
    Marvin, Sep 22, 2009
    #7
  8. YDOD

    Bob Williams Guest

    YDOD wrote:
    I started off with the intention of not editing my
    > photos at all but sometimes the temptation to change the exposure a
    > little is overwhelming. Does the end always justify the means or should
    > photography be more a matter of imagination with a camera rather than
    > talent with editing software?



    It's your photo. You can do whatever you want with it.
    If editing Photos "per se" was unethical, every user of Photoshop or
    other Photo Editing software would be unethical.
    Ethics only enters the picture when you decide what to DO WITH the
    picture. If you misrepresent it to someone for personal gain, (e.g.,sell
    it as an unretouched image), then yes. That is unethical.
    If you just display it as an example of your skill at creating images
    that evoke some emotion in the viewer,(ART), then I see no ethical issue
    in that.
    IMHO, there must be an unwilling VICTIM as a result of your action, for
    the action to be unethical.
    Editing a Photo, in and of itself, does not create a victim.
    Bob Williams
     
    Bob Williams, Sep 22, 2009
    #8
  9. Savageduck wrote:
    > On 2009-09-22 08:42:57 -0700, Marvin <> said:
    >
    >> YDOD wrote:
    >>> I have recently gone back to photography after an absence of 15 years
    >>> or so. My previous hobby was usually pictures of flowers, leaves and
    >>> insects typically with Kodachrome 64. I find that digital photography
    >>> is not as challenging because it is so easy to change the exposure
    >>> and the color intensity after the photo has been taken. I realize
    >>> though that Kodachrome definitely did not display natural colors, but
    >>> the exact same product was available to everyone. I sometimes think
    >>> that it would be an idea for all viewing software to have an "undo"
    >>> control which would show the original version of any picture so that
    >>> you could see how it had been manipulated. I started off with the
    >>> intention of not editing my photos at all but sometimes the
    >>> temptation to change the exposure a little is overwhelming. Does the
    >>> end always justify the means or should photography be more a matter
    >>> of imagination with a camera rather than talent with editing software?

    >>
    >> Darkroom work was always a part of photography for those who had a
    >> darkroom. Now it is open to more of us. It is not an ethical issue,
    >> per se.

    >
    >
    > Agreed the digital darkroom ethically is no different to the chemical
    > darkroom.
    >
    > There is a huge difference between photo manipulation (darkroom or
    > computer) with malicious intent, and adjustment for effect, be it
    > artistic effect or clean up of the image for a sharp presentation.


    And the intent doesn't have to be malicious; just dishonest, such as a
    PJ adding in extra smoke elements to show bombings, or removing anything
    significant from the frame (other than cropping, but arguably cropping
    can make a PJ dishonest. --

    --
    John McWilliams
     
    John McWilliams, Sep 22, 2009
    #9
  10. Savageduck wrote:
    > On 2009-09-22 14:30:29 -0700, John McWilliams <> said:
    >
    >> Savageduck wrote:
    >>> On 2009-09-22 08:42:57 -0700, Marvin <> said:
    >>>
    >>>> YDOD wrote:
    >>>>> I have recently gone back to photography after an absence of 15
    >>>>> years or so. My previous hobby was usually pictures of flowers,
    >>>>> leaves and insects typically with Kodachrome 64. I find that
    >>>>> digital photography is not as challenging because it is so easy to
    >>>>> change the exposure and the color intensity after the photo has
    >>>>> been taken. I realize though that Kodachrome definitely did not
    >>>>> display natural colors, but the exact same product was available to
    >>>>> everyone. I sometimes think that it would be an idea for all
    >>>>> viewing software to have an "undo" control which would show the
    >>>>> original version of any picture so that you could see how it had
    >>>>> been manipulated. I started off with the intention of not editing
    >>>>> my photos at all but sometimes the temptation to change the
    >>>>> exposure a little is overwhelming. Does the end always justify the
    >>>>> means or should photography be more a matter of imagination with a
    >>>>> camera rather than talent with editing software?
    >>>>
    >>>> Darkroom work was always a part of photography for those who had a
    >>>> darkroom. Now it is open to more of us. It is not an ethical
    >>>> issue, per se.
    >>>
    >>>
    >>> Agreed the digital darkroom ethically is no different to the chemical
    >>> darkroom.
    >>>
    >>> There is a huge difference between photo manipulation (darkroom or
    >>> computer) with malicious intent, and adjustment for effect, be it
    >>> artistic effect or clean up of the image for a sharp presentation.

    >>
    >> And the intent doesn't have to be malicious; just dishonest, such as a
    >> PJ adding in extra smoke elements to show bombings, or removing
    >> anything significant from the frame (other than cropping, but arguably
    >> cropping can make a PJ dishonest. --

    >
    > ...and dishonesty, with the intent of skewing interpretation of any PJ's
    > work isn't malicious?
    > In most cases it is not the PJ who is responsible.


    Regardless of who is ultimately responsible, it'd seem we have different
    interpretations of what constitutes malicious behavior. To me, the
    latter is with intent to harm another. Dishonesty can be "merely" for
    one's own benefit.

    --
    john mcwilliams
     
    John McWilliams, Sep 23, 2009
    #10
  11. YDOD

    Shawn Hirn Guest

    In article <VtOtm.64886$>,
    "YDOD" <> wrote:

    > I have recently gone back to photography after an absence of 15 years or so.
    > My previous hobby was usually pictures of flowers, leaves and insects
    > typically with Kodachrome 64. I find that digital photography is not as
    > challenging because it is so easy to change the exposure and the color
    > intensity after the photo has been taken. I realize though that Kodachrome
    > definitely did not display natural colors, but the exact same product was
    > available to everyone. I sometimes think that it would be an idea for all
    > viewing software to have an "undo" control which would show the original
    > version of any picture so that you could see how it had been manipulated. I
    > started off with the intention of not editing my photos at all but sometimes
    > the temptation to change the exposure a little is overwhelming. Does the end
    > always justify the means or should photography be more a matter of
    > imagination with a camera rather than talent with editing software?


    Photography is what you want it to be, but that's always been true.
    Before the advent of digital photography, you could still make lots of
    adjustments on a photo through chemistry and light filters that would
    change a photo into something totally different than the original image.
    Digital photo editors make the process of adjusting photos a lot easier
    than with film, but the capabilities to adjust photos have existed since
    the early days of photography.
     
    Shawn Hirn, Sep 24, 2009
    #11
  12. YDOD

    Robert Coe Guest

    On 21 Sep 2009 22:14:38 GMT, ray <> wrote:
    : On Mon, 21 Sep 2009 11:12:16 -0600, YDOD wrote:
    :
    : > I have recently gone back to photography after an absence of 15 years or
    : > so. My previous hobby was usually pictures of flowers, leaves and
    : > insects typically with Kodachrome 64. I find that digital photography is
    : > not as challenging because it is so easy to change the exposure and the
    : > color intensity after the photo has been taken. I realize though that
    : > Kodachrome definitely did not display natural colors, but the exact same
    : > product was available to everyone. I sometimes think that it would be an
    : > idea for all viewing software to have an "undo" control which would show
    : > the original version of any picture so that you could see how it had
    : > been manipulated. I started off with the intention of not editing my
    : > photos at all but sometimes the temptation to change the exposure a
    : > little is overwhelming. Does the end always justify the means or should
    : > photography be more a matter of imagination with a camera rather than
    : > talent with editing software?
    :
    : Why do you consider it 'unethical'? Even in the days of film the
    : processing could easily be 'tweaked' to correct for exposure, etc. - what
    : you got if you had your film commercialy developed was the operator's
    : best guess - or sometimes simply a machine's best guess as to how it
    : should be. It's just a lot easier with digital images.

    Consider the 17th and 18th century portrait painters. Do you seriously believe
    that most of the dukes and barons and princes that they painted actually
    looked as dashing and svelte in real life as they came out on the canvas?

    Bob
     
    Robert Coe, Sep 26, 2009
    #12
  13. YDOD

    eNo Guest

    On Sep 21, 10:12 am, "YDOD" <> wrote:
    > I have recently gone back to photography after an absence of 15 years or so.
    > My previous hobby was usually pictures of flowers, leaves and insects
    > typically with Kodachrome 64. I find that digital photography is not as
    > challenging because it is so easy to change the exposure and the color
    > intensity after the photo has been taken. I realize though that Kodachrome
    > definitely did not display natural colors, but the exact same product was
    > available to everyone. I sometimes think that it would be an idea for all
    > viewing software to have an "undo" control which would show the original
    > version of any picture so that you could see how it had been manipulated. I
    > started off with the intention of not editing my photos at all but sometimes
    > the temptation to change the exposure a little is overwhelming. Does the end
    > always justify the means or should photography be more a matter of
    > imagination with a camera rather than talent with editing software?


    The only time I would say an ethical boundary is crossed is when
    documentary/journalism photos are tweaked or manipulated to distort
    the subject the image portrays. Beyond that, how do you think Ansel
    Adams felt about it? Do you think he lay awake at night after having
    spent hours upon hours in the dark room tweaking an exposure? Do you
    realize that his dark room work is equivalent to image post-processing
    (PP) in software? I really get a little tired of the "get it right-in-
    camera" crowd that looks down upon anyone that doesn't just want the
    JPG the camera produces, some of them suggesting that we are somehow
    altering "what should be." BTW, same is true of RAW PP'ers that look
    down at people who choose to try to get good JPGs out-of-camera as if
    the latter group is somehow lazily missing the full potential of their
    images. Both are valid means to an end. At the end what matters is how
    _you_ envisioned the image and whether it turns out that way.

    ~~~
    eNo
    http://esfotoclix.com
     
    eNo, Sep 28, 2009
    #13
  14. YDOD

    Marvin Guest

    eNo wrote:
    >
    > The only time I would say an ethical boundary is crossed is when
    > documentary/journalism photos are tweaked or manipulated to distort
    > the subject the image portrays. Beyond that, how do you think Ansel
    > Adams felt about it? Do you think he lay awake at night after having
    > spent hours upon hours in the dark room tweaking an exposure? Do you
    > realize that his dark room work is equivalent to image post-processing
    > (PP) in software? I really get a little tired of the "get it right-in-
    > camera" crowd that looks down upon anyone that doesn't just want the
    > JPG the camera produces, some of them suggesting that we are somehow
    > altering "what should be." BTW, same is true of RAW PP'ers that look
    > down at people who choose to try to get good JPGs out-of-camera as if
    > the latter group is somehow lazily missing the full potential of their
    > images. Both are valid means to an end. At the end what matters is how
    > _you_ envisioned the image and whether it turns out that way.
    >
    > ~~~
    > eNo
    > http://esfotoclix.com


    It seems to me that, in many of these instances, the
    intention is to claim superiority by virtue of owning
    expensive equipment.
     
    Marvin, Sep 29, 2009
    #14
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