The Myth of the Unmanipulated Image

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Ryan McGinnis, Jan 18, 2011.

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    A rather quick and provocative article -- and one that I fully agree
    with. While one can certainly defensively hold a position that there is
    a line to be drawn where manipulation takes a photograph beyond truth,
    it's very difficult to maintain a position in which only images farted
    directly out of a camera qualify as "real" photographs.

    http://www.bhinsights.com/content/myth-unmanipulated-image.html

    I recently went to a talk put on by a Natty Geo photographer who went to
    great lengths to describe how he never digitally corrected any of his
    images (or cropped them), and how everything we saw on the screen was
    right out of the camera. His audience of mostly college students ate
    this crap up. As someone who used to work pre-press, it astounds me how
    ignorant even top-notch first-in-their-field photographers are of how an
    image goes from slide to a magazine or a digital projector screen. They
    get how a camera uses light to create an image on film or a sensor, but
    after that, they close their eyes and everything is Magic to them That
    Must Not Be Spoken About. Unless you are holding the undeveloped slide
    in your hand, the image has been processed. Scanning an image requires
    processing it by definition; how it is processed is up to the scanning
    technician and the scanning hardware/software. Getting images to look
    good even on good a Flexo press printing on heavy slick paper requires
    quite a bit of post processing -- it's just done by prepress folk, not
    photographers (who merrily go on their way thinking that their 'virgin'
    image remains unsullied).

    - --
    - -Ryan McGinnis
    The BIG Storm Picture: http://bigstormpicture.com PGP Key: 0x65115E4C
    Follow my storm chasing adventures at http://bigstormpicture.blogspot.com
    Images@Getty: http://bit.ly/dJSi08 Images@Alamy: http://bit.ly/aMH6Qd
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    Ryan McGinnis, Jan 18, 2011
    #1
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  2. Ryan McGinnis

    Eric Stevens Guest

    On Mon, 17 Jan 2011 21:58:04 -0800, Savageduck
    <savageduck1@{REMOVESPAM}me.com> wrote:

    >On 2011-01-17 21:20:31 -0800, Ryan McGinnis <> said:
    >
    >> -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
    >> Hash: SHA1
    >>
    >> A rather quick and provocative article -- and one that I fully agree
    >> with. While one can certainly defensively hold a position that there is
    >> a line to be drawn where manipulation takes a photograph beyond truth,
    >> it's very difficult to maintain a position in which only images farted
    >> directly out of a camera qualify as "real" photographs.
    >>
    >> http://www.bhinsights.com/content/myth-unmanipulated-image.html
    >>
    >> I recently went to a talk put on by a Natty Geo photographer who went to
    >> great lengths to describe how he never digitally corrected any of his
    >> images (or cropped them), and how everything we saw on the screen was
    >> right out of the camera. His audience of mostly college students ate
    >> this crap up. As someone who used to work pre-press, it astounds me how
    >> ignorant even top-notch first-in-their-field photographers are of how an
    >> image goes from slide to a magazine or a digital projector screen. They
    >> get how a camera uses light to create an image on film or a sensor, but
    >> after that, they close their eyes and everything is Magic to them That
    >> Must Not Be Spoken About. Unless you are holding the undeveloped slide
    >> in your hand, the image has been processed. Scanning an image requires
    >> processing it by definition; how it is processed is up to the scanning
    >> technician and the scanning hardware/software. Getting images to look
    >> good even on good a Flexo press printing on heavy slick paper requires
    >> quite a bit of post processing -- it's just done by prepress folk, not
    >> photographers (who merrily go on their way thinking that their 'virgin'
    >> image remains unsullied).
    >>
    >> - --
    >> - -Ryan McGinnis

    >
    >I have to agree. The RAW NEF files as they come from my camera are not
    >a representation of the reality of the scene as I see it, or as I
    >visualize the image I would like to present.
    >Manipulation of some type has always been a part of photography, from
    >the magnificent accident in the developing tank, and darkroom print
    >work, to enhancing information contained in a digital file, using
    >whatever tools are available to achieve a pleasing result.
    >As to who finds that result pleasing whether it was a result of wet or
    >digital processing will always be subjective.


    Mr Hardwidge will be rotating in his grave. :)



    Eric Stevens
     
    Eric Stevens, Jan 18, 2011
    #2
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  3. Ryan McGinnis

    peter Guest

    On 1/18/2011 12:58 AM, Savageduck wrote:
    > On 2011-01-17 21:20:31 -0800, Ryan McGinnis <> said:
    >
    >> -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
    >> Hash: SHA1
    >>
    >> A rather quick and provocative article -- and one that I fully agree
    >> with. While one can certainly defensively hold a position that there is
    >> a line to be drawn where manipulation takes a photograph beyond truth,
    >> it's very difficult to maintain a position in which only images farted
    >> directly out of a camera qualify as "real" photographs.
    >>
    >> http://www.bhinsights.com/content/myth-unmanipulated-image.html
    >>
    >> I recently went to a talk put on by a Natty Geo photographer who went to
    >> great lengths to describe how he never digitally corrected any of his
    >> images (or cropped them), and how everything we saw on the screen was
    >> right out of the camera. His audience of mostly college students ate
    >> this crap up. As someone who used to work pre-press, it astounds me how
    >> ignorant even top-notch first-in-their-field photographers are of how an
    >> image goes from slide to a magazine or a digital projector screen. They
    >> get how a camera uses light to create an image on film or a sensor, but
    >> after that, they close their eyes and everything is Magic to them That
    >> Must Not Be Spoken About. Unless you are holding the undeveloped slide
    >> in your hand, the image has been processed. Scanning an image requires
    >> processing it by definition; how it is processed is up to the scanning
    >> technician and the scanning hardware/software. Getting images to look
    >> good even on good a Flexo press printing on heavy slick paper requires
    >> quite a bit of post processing -- it's just done by prepress folk, not
    >> photographers (who merrily go on their way thinking that their 'virgin'
    >> image remains unsullied).
    >>
    >> - --
    >> - -Ryan McGinnis

    >
    > I have to agree. The RAW NEF files as they come from my camera are not a
    > representation of the reality of the scene as I see it, or as I
    > visualize the image I would like to present.
    > Manipulation of some type has always been a part of photography, from
    > the magnificent accident in the developing tank, and darkroom print
    > work, to enhancing information contained in a digital file, using
    > whatever tools are available to achieve a pleasing result.
    > As to who finds that result pleasing whether it was a result of wet or
    > digital processing will always be subjective.
    >



    What the f64 school means is not changing the image to add or subtract
    something that was not in the original image. e.g. digitally placing an
    Indian in a red canoe in the middle of that lake. That thought has been
    corrupted to a point of absurdity. According to the PSA, nature
    division, in a nature shot it's OK to put a cold insect on a flower and
    then shoot the flower, but it's not OK to put that insect there digitally.


    --
    Peter
     
    peter, Jan 18, 2011
    #3
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    On 1/18/2011 3:10 AM, bugbear wrote:
    > Ryan McGinnis wrote:
    >
    >>
    >> A rather quick and provocative article -- and one that I fully agree
    >> with.

    >
    > Provocative|? It's stating the very obvious.
    >
    > BugBear


    One would think, but I have had long and fruitless conversations about
    this topic with many people who believe that only a slide straight out
    of a film camera (or worse, a JPEG straight out of a digital camera) can
    truly be considered "manipulated". These folk usually have their noses
    held high, and say things like "Yes, I don't have nearly as many keeper
    shots over the years as a lot of people do, but I that's because I do it
    the hard way instead of taking shortcuts".

    - --
    - -Ryan McGinnis
    The BIG Storm Picture: http://bigstormpicture.com PGP Key: 0x65115E4C
    Follow my storm chasing adventures at http://bigstormpicture.blogspot.com
    Images@Getty: http://bit.ly/dJSi08 Images@Alamy: http://bit.ly/aMH6Qd
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    Ryan McGinnis, Jan 18, 2011
    #4
  5. On 1/18/2011 9:23 AM, Ryan McGinnis wrote:

    > One would think, but I have had long and fruitless conversations about
    > this topic with many people who believe that only a slide straight out
    > of a film camera (or worse, a JPEG straight out of a digital camera) can
    > truly be considered "manipulated".


    Erm, "unmanipulated". Oh what a different two letters make. :)

    The above post has now been manipulated.

    --
    -Ryan McGinnis
    The BIG Storm Picture: http://bigstormpicture.com PGP Key: 0x65115E4C
    Follow my storm chasing adventures at http://bigstormpicture.blogspot.com
    Images@Getty: http://bit.ly/dJSi08 Images@Alamy: http://bit.ly/aMH6Qd
     
    Ryan McGinnis, Jan 18, 2011
    #5
  6. Ryan McGinnis

    Paul L Guest

    On 1/18/2011 8:23 AM, Ryan McGinnis wrote:
    > -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
    > Hash: SHA1
    >
    > On 1/18/2011 3:10 AM, bugbear wrote:
    >> Ryan McGinnis wrote:
    >>
    >>>
    >>> A rather quick and provocative article -- and one that I fully agree
    >>> with.

    >>
    >> Provocative|? It's stating the very obvious.
    >>
    >> BugBear

    >
    > One would think, but I have had long and fruitless conversations about
    > this topic with many people who believe that only a slide straight out
    > of a film camera (or worse, a JPEG straight out of a digital camera) can
    > truly be considered "manipulated". These folk usually have their noses
    > held high, and say things like "Yes, I don't have nearly as many keeper
    > shots over the years as a lot of people do, but I that's because I do it
    > the hard way instead of taking shortcuts".
    >
    > - --
    > - -Ryan McGinnis


    The image has always been manipulated. In the old days we would start
    by deciding on film to use. E64 or K25 ? Both had their own way
    with the captured image.

    In the digital age, every single image we see has been manipulated, even
    if it is only by the in camera JPEG processor. Purists that avoid
    processing are the ones with the flat looking images :)


    Paul
     
    Paul L, Jan 18, 2011
    #6
  7. Ryan McGinnis

    Rich Guest

    On Jan 18, 12:20 am, Ryan McGinnis <> wrote:
    > -----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
    > Hash: SHA1
    >
    > A rather quick and provocative article -- and one that I fully agree
    > with.  While one can certainly defensively hold a position that there is
    > a line to be drawn where manipulation takes a photograph beyond truth,
    > it's very difficult to maintain a position in which only images farted
    > directly out of a camera qualify as "real" photographs.
    >
    > http://www.bhinsights.com/content/myth-unmanipulated-image.html
    >


    The guy could be lying. His sunset shot could very well have been as
    dull as his 1st rendition was. In-fact, unless the guy is completely
    clueless as to how to expose for a sunset, what his camera recorded in
    RAW was what was there and he tweaked it to show more colour. We've
    all done it, but it isn't realistic. Ever see those sunsets were
    everything is red, including the land, people, pets? Those are all
    heavily manipulated for effect. There are unembellished images, but
    most find them dull. Seems like only yesterday people where
    complaining about entry-level DSLRs and unrealistic, bright colours
    they produced.
     
    Rich, Jan 18, 2011
    #7
  8. Ryan McGinnis

    Paul J Gans Guest

    In rec.photo.digital bugbear <bugbear@trim_papermule.co.uk_trim> wrote:
    >Ryan McGinnis wrote:


    >>
    >> A rather quick and provocative article -- and one that I fully agree
    >> with.


    >Provocative|? It's stating the very obvious.


    Not to people who think their images are unmanipulated.

    --
    --- Paul J. Gans
     
    Paul J Gans, Jan 18, 2011
    #8
  9. Ryan McGinnis

    Paul J Gans Guest

    In rec.photo.digital bugbear <bugbear@trim_papermule.co.uk_trim> wrote:
    >Ryan McGinnis wrote:


    >> On 1/18/2011 3:10 AM, bugbear wrote:
    >>> Ryan McGinnis wrote:
    >>>
    >>>>
    >>>> A rather quick and provocative article -- and one that I fully agree
    >>>> with.
    >>>
    >>> Provocative|? It's stating the very obvious.
    >>>
    >>> BugBear

    >>
    >> One would think, but I have had long and fruitless conversations about
    >> this topic with many people who believe that only a slide straight out
    >> of a film camera (or worse, a JPEG straight out of a digital camera) can
    >> truly be considered "manipulated".


    > "unmanipulated", I assume you meant ;-)


    >It might be an unmanipulated negative(or slide), but reality/nature/the thing
    >in from of the lens has already been beaten to a pulp!


    >w.r.t the scene, what are exposures, apertures, filters, focal lengths
    >if not manipulations?


    >Let alone (this is more journalistic than artistic)
    >deciding *where* to point the camera and *when* to press the shutter.


    I wear glasses. Everything I look at has been manipulated.

    --
    --- Paul J. Gans
     
    Paul J Gans, Jan 18, 2011
    #9
  10. "Ryan McGinnis" <> wrote in message
    news:4d352323$0$12280$c3e8da3$...

    > A rather quick and provocative article -- and one that I fully agree
    > with. While one can certainly defensively hold a position that there is
    > a line to be drawn where manipulation takes a photograph beyond truth,
    > it's very difficult to maintain a position in which only images farted
    > directly out of a camera qualify as "real" photographs.
    >
    > http://www.bhinsights.com/content/myth-unmanipulated-image.html


    Had a post drafted then nuked it. Someone is just after page hits and any
    discussion is just a time sink.

    --
    Charles E Hardwidge
     
    Charles E Hardwidge, Jan 18, 2011
    #10
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    On 1/18/2011 3:22 PM, Charles E Hardwidge wrote:
    > "Ryan McGinnis" <> wrote in message
    > news:4d352323$0$12280$c3e8da3$...
    >
    >> A rather quick and provocative article -- and one that I fully agree
    >> with. While one can certainly defensively hold a position that there is
    >> a line to be drawn where manipulation takes a photograph beyond truth,
    >> it's very difficult to maintain a position in which only images farted
    >> directly out of a camera qualify as "real" photographs.
    >>
    >> http://www.bhinsights.com/content/myth-unmanipulated-image.html

    >
    > Had a post drafted then nuked it. Someone is just after page hits and
    > any discussion is just a time sink.
    >


    Thanks for letting us know, we were all wondering why you started to
    reply and then didn't. Also, please adjust the webcam up a bit, you're
    cutting off the top of your head.

    - --
    - -Ryan McGinnis
    The BIG Storm Picture: http://bigstormpicture.com PGP Key: 0x65115E4C
    Follow my storm chasing adventures at http://bigstormpicture.blogspot.com
    Images@Getty: http://bit.ly/dJSi08 Images@Alamy: http://bit.ly/aMH6Qd
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    Ryan McGinnis, Jan 19, 2011
    #11
  12. Ryan McGinnis

    Noons Guest

    Charles E Hardwidge wrote,on my timestamp of 19/01/2011 8:22 AM:
    > "Ryan McGinnis" <> wrote in message
    > news:4d352323$0$12280$c3e8da3$...
    >
    >> A rather quick and provocative article -- and one that I fully agree
    >> with. While one can certainly defensively hold a position that there is
    >> a line to be drawn where manipulation takes a photograph beyond truth,
    >> it's very difficult to maintain a position in which only images farted
    >> directly out of a camera qualify as "real" photographs.
    >>
    >> http://www.bhinsights.com/content/myth-unmanipulated-image.html

    >
    > Had a post drafted then nuked it. Someone is just after page hits and any
    > discussion is just a time sink.
    >


    bingo...
     
    Noons, Jan 19, 2011
    #12
  13. Ryan McGinnis

    Whisky-dave Guest

    On Jan 18, 8:56 pm, Paul J Gans <> wrote:
    > In rec.photo.digital bugbear <bugbear@trim_papermule.co.uk_trim> wrote:
    >
    >
    >
    > >Ryan McGinnis wrote:
    > >> On 1/18/2011 3:10 AM, bugbear wrote:
    > >>> Ryan McGinnis wrote:

    >
    > >>>> A rather quick and provocative article -- and one that I fully agree
    > >>>> with.

    >
    > >>> Provocative|? It's stating the very obvious.

    >
    > >>>    BugBear

    >
    > >> One would think, but I have had long and fruitless conversations about
    > >> this topic with many people who believe that only a slide straight out
    > >> of a film camera (or worse, a JPEG straight out of a digital camera) can
    > >> truly be considered "manipulated".

    > >  "unmanipulated", I assume you meant ;-)
    > >It might be an unmanipulated negative(or slide), but reality/nature/the thing
    > >in from of the lens has already been beaten to a pulp!
    > >w.r.t the scene, what are exposures, apertures, filters, focal lengths
    > >if not manipulations?
    > >Let alone (this is more journalistic than artistic)
    > >deciding *where* to point the camera and *when* to press the shutter.

    >
    > I wear glasses.  Everything I look at has been manipulated.


    Everything anyone looks at sees a manipulated image as that's what our
    brain
    does to make sense of it. Our eyes adjust for colour correction and
    brightness
    to within certain limits of course. Other creatures see things
    differently too.
     
    Whisky-dave, Jan 19, 2011
    #13
  14. Ryan McGinnis

    Paul J Gans Guest

    In rec.photo.digital N <> wrote:
    >On 19/01/2011, Paul J Gans wrote:
    >> In rec.photo.digital bugbear <bugbear@trim_papermule.co.uk_trim> wrote:
    >>> Ryan McGinnis wrote:

    >>
    >>>> On 1/18/2011 3:10 AM, bugbear wrote:
    >>>>> Ryan McGinnis wrote:
    >>>>>
    >>>>>>
    >>>>>> A rather quick and provocative article -- and one that I fully agree
    >>>>>> with.
    >>>>>
    >>>>> Provocative|? It's stating the very obvious.
    >>>>>
    >>>>> BugBear
    >>>>
    >>>> One would think, but I have had long and fruitless conversations about
    >>>> this topic with many people who believe that only a slide straight out
    >>>> of a film camera (or worse, a JPEG straight out of a digital camera) can
    >>>> truly be considered "manipulated".

    >>
    >>> "unmanipulated", I assume you meant ;-)

    >>
    >>> It might be an unmanipulated negative(or slide), but reality/nature/the
    >>> thing in from of the lens has already been beaten to a pulp!

    >>
    >>> w.r.t the scene, what are exposures, apertures, filters, focal lengths
    >>> if not manipulations?

    >>
    >>> Let alone (this is more journalistic than artistic)
    >>> deciding *where* to point the camera and *when* to press the shutter.

    >>
    >> I wear glasses. Everything I look at has been manipulated.


    >Not as much as it would be if you didn't wear them.


    True, but still...

    --
    --- Paul J. Gans
     
    Paul J Gans, Jan 19, 2011
    #14
  15. Ryan McGinnis

    Paul J Gans Guest

    In rec.photo.digital Whisky-dave <> wrote:
    >On Jan 18, 8:56 pm, Paul J Gans <> wrote:
    >> In rec.photo.digital bugbear <bugbear@trim_papermule.co.uk_trim> wrote:
    >>
    >>
    >>
    >> >Ryan McGinnis wrote:
    >> >> On 1/18/2011 3:10 AM, bugbear wrote:
    >> >>> Ryan McGinnis wrote:

    >>
    >> >>>> A rather quick and provocative article -- and one that I fully agree
    >> >>>> with.

    >>
    >> >>> Provocative|? It's stating the very obvious.

    >>
    >> >>>    BugBear

    >>
    >> >> One would think, but I have had long and fruitless conversations about
    >> >> this topic with many people who believe that only a slide straight out
    >> >> of a film camera (or worse, a JPEG straight out of a digital camera) can
    >> >> truly be considered "manipulated".
    >> >  "unmanipulated", I assume you meant ;-)
    >> >It might be an unmanipulated negative(or slide), but reality/nature/the thing
    >> >in from of the lens has already been beaten to a pulp!
    >> >w.r.t the scene, what are exposures, apertures, filters, focal lengths
    >> >if not manipulations?
    >> >Let alone (this is more journalistic than artistic)
    >> >deciding *where* to point the camera and *when* to press the shutter.

    >>
    >> I wear glasses.  Everything I look at has been manipulated.


    >Everything anyone looks at sees a manipulated image as that's what our
    >brain
    >does to make sense of it. Our eyes adjust for colour correction and
    >brightness
    >to within certain limits of course. Other creatures see things
    >differently too.


    Of course. As you realized, I was just trying to make the
    whole "unmanipulated" discussion go away.

    --
    --- Paul J. Gans
     
    Paul J Gans, Jan 19, 2011
    #15
  16. Ryan McGinnis

    dickr2 Guest

    Way back when I was using a Canon T90 film camera, it was easy
    to take double or even triple exposures. I have a double exposure
    shot of the moon over a California sunset ... somewhere.
    Since I'm still using film and digital P&S cameras, I would ask;
    can you take double exposures with a digital?
    Just curious,
    Dick
     
    dickr2, Jan 19, 2011
    #16
  17. Ryan McGinnis

    Pete Guest

    On 2011-01-19 23:09:09 +0000, Alan Browne said:

    > On 2011.01.19 17:50 , dickr2 wrote:
    >> Way back when I was using a Canon T90 film camera, it was easy
    >> to take double or even triple exposures. I have a double exposure
    >> shot of the moon over a California sunset ... somewhere.
    >> Since I'm still using film and digital P&S cameras, I would ask;
    >> can you take double exposures with a digital?

    >
    > I don't know of a digital camera that does.


    Mine can take up to 10, either gain adjusted or not. I have absolutely
    no use for the facility, I just remember reading about it in the manual
    and thinking "So what?"

    > OTOH, layers in PS (or other apps) will allow you to do so with relative ease.
    >
    > Or of course a multi flash exposure in a dark environment. Hold the
    > shutter open in the dark - pop flash(es) to make each exposure on the
    > sensor.



    --
    Pete
     
    Pete, Jan 19, 2011
    #17
  18. Ryan McGinnis

    Eric Stevens Guest

    On Wed, 19 Jan 2011 16:50:08 -0600, dickr2 <>
    wrote:

    >Way back when I was using a Canon T90 film camera, it was easy
    >to take double or even triple exposures. I have a double exposure
    >shot of the moon over a California sunset ... somewhere.
    >Since I'm still using film and digital P&S cameras, I would ask;
    >can you take double exposures with a digital?
    >Just curious,
    >Dick


    I can take n-tupal exposures with my D300.



    Eric Stevens
     
    Eric Stevens, Jan 20, 2011
    #18
  19. Ryan McGinnis

    Eric Stevens Guest

    On Tue, 18 Jan 2011 21:22:50 -0000, "Charles E Hardwidge"
    <> wrote:

    >"Ryan McGinnis" <> wrote in message
    >news:4d352323$0$12280$c3e8da3$...
    >
    >> A rather quick and provocative article -- and one that I fully agree
    >> with. While one can certainly defensively hold a position that there is
    >> a line to be drawn where manipulation takes a photograph beyond truth,
    >> it's very difficult to maintain a position in which only images farted
    >> directly out of a camera qualify as "real" photographs.
    >>
    >> http://www.bhinsights.com/content/myth-unmanipulated-image.html

    >
    >Had a post drafted then nuked it. Someone is just after page hits and any
    >discussion is just a time sink.


    How to express disapproval without actually addressing the topic.



    Eric Stevens
     
    Eric Stevens, Jan 20, 2011
    #19
  20. On 1/19/2011 2:50 PM dickr2 spake thus:

    > Since I'm still using film and digital P&S cameras, I would ask;
    > can you take double exposures with a digital?
    > Just curious,


    isn't that pretty much a moot point?

    After all, it's trivially easy to combine two or more digital images
    with practically any image-editing software, so why would you even want
    to do that in-camera?


    --
    Comment on quaint Usenet customs, from Usenet:

    To me, the *plonk...* reminds me of the old man at the public hearing
    who stands to make his point, then removes his hearing aid as a sign
    that he is not going to hear any rebuttals.
     
    David Nebenzahl, Jan 20, 2011
    #20
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