Just what is a photograph

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Pat, Nov 25, 2008.

  1. Pat

    Celcius Guest

    Be the judge of this one. We walked part of the way to Compostela (250 km)
    this Fall. Back at home, we looked at our photos and my wife loved one
    particularly, because it showed the immensity of the plain and the route we
    had to follow. My wife was the closest person we could see on that dirt
    road. I was the one who took the photo. (Canon A650). She said it was too
    bad that I wasn't in the photo. After all, I was there... She wanted to blow
    up the photo and have it laminated. So I took my wife and myself "out" of 2
    other photos where we were dressed the same way and pasted us in the one
    where she appeared very small at the forefront. I added our shadows and
    VoilĂ ! The final photo was cropped at 1920 x 1200 for our desktop.
    Take a look at the "before and after":
    Is this a photograph? I think so. Had someone else taken the photo, it would
    have been this way. We were both walking, she in front, and the scene was
    exactly as taken. Of course, I tell those who look at it that it was
    tricked. ;-)
    Take care,
    Celcius, Nov 28, 2008
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  2. Pat

    Peter Guest

    Why is the definition so important to you.
    I applaud the comment of Surfer in the immediately following posting

    "But really it's much more fun to get on with producing photographs or
    whatever, or go flying, than discuss what is an is not a photograph, or
    Peter, Nov 28, 2008
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  3. Pat

    Peter Guest

    Do they give you a critique, or just a score?

    We have a pool of about 50 judges from different local clubs. I have become
    friendly with a professional photo artist from another area. She had been
    requested to judge a CC competition. Neither she nor the club was happy with
    the result because as all too often happens, CC "rules" and "standards" are
    inconsistent with the concept of art, when they slavishly followed, rather
    than being used as guidelines.

    Too many CC judges slavishly follow the "rules"
    <\end mini rant>
    Peter, Nov 28, 2008
  4. Pat

    Celcius Guest

    I guess it's like making love: there's room to actually DO it or TALK about
    Sometimes TALKING about it leads to DOING it ;-)))))
    It's not mutually exclusive.
    Celcius, Nov 28, 2008
  5. Pat

    mianileng Guest

    Please remember that I was not the one who started this thread
    and brought up the issue. But since the question did arise, I
    just stated my viewpoint. And the definition can be important in
    some situations, such as when trying to judge how good a camera
    or a person is at *taking* pictures, not creating them.
    Of course. I don't disagree with that. In fact, I couldn't agree
    more. Nevertheless, it doesn't mean that the definition is not
    important and does not merit discussion.
    mianileng, Nov 28, 2008
  6. Pat

    Peter Guest

    If the maker is making a documentary shot, I totally agree with you.
    Otherwise, I think
    that's a distinction without a difference,
    Peter, Nov 28, 2008
  7. Pat

    Roy G Guest

    Because what you state above is only your opinion. It is in no way a "Rule"
    or "Law of Nature".

    The rest of us believe that the amount of manipulation applied, or not, is
    of no relevance whatsoever to the end product being a Photograph.

    If you care to read the rules of the Photographic Society of America, (PSA),
    or Photographic Alliance of Great Britain, (PAGB), regarding photographic
    competitions I think you will find that there are no restrictions on
    processing or manipulation in any of the general categories.

    If those august bodies have no objections what gives you the right to object
    when someone does not conform to your narrow qualifications.

    Roy G
    Roy G, Nov 28, 2008
  8. Pat

    tony cooper Guest

    Both. Some judge's critiques are better than other's.

    The problem with a large club and a lot of entries is that each must
    be critiqued. Some entries really can't support a critique other than
    "It's an uninteresting subject that was poorly photographed". It's a
    social club too, though, so the judges have to come with something
    good about it.
    tony cooper, Nov 28, 2008
  9. Pat

    David Guest

    Very nice. I think today the term photograph is mis-understood and mis-used,
    especially in digital. As far as im concerned if someone uses programs such
    as photomatix to produce what is basically a computer generated 'image' from
    a photograph. The final image is definately not a photo. Why trust a program
    like this which is like a photograph mangle!

    As soon as a photograph becomes unrealistic by using 'cheats' in Photoshop
    such as basically anything which cannot be done in a darkroom then again
    that photo becomes an digitally generated 'image.

    A photograph should be pure with absolutely the minimum necessary

    Again its all about opinions.

    Last year a very badly and over manipulated 'image' won a local photography
    competition. After protesting against this, this years criteria has been
    tightened, but where do we draw a line. This is something i've often
    scratched my head over in disappointment. I remember another 'photography'
    competition where the winning entry was a 'image' which used a variety of
    complex photoshop techniques to get the final image, my arguement is that
    the winner was not a photograph but a digially generated and 'unreal' never
    happened scene. There is a huge difference and I wish photography was kept
    seperate from digially generated images from programs like photoshop and its
    huge array of wizadry pixel generators.
    David, Nov 28, 2008
  10. Pat

    J. Clarke Guest

    That ship has sailed, hit an iceberg, and sunk.
    J. Clarke, Nov 28, 2008
  11. Pat

    Surfer! Guest

    Some judges are kind enough to say something along the lines of 'I can
    see what you saw', or 'It's an interesting idea' before they hand out a
    score of 11 or similar - our marks are out of 20. Some judges give the
    best entry 20 regardless of quality (so in a better grade comp it
    wouldn't get 20), others give 18 or 19.
    Surfer!, Nov 28, 2008
  12. Pat

    Peter Guest

    Just a minor point. Somehow in your snipping you have me saying something I
    never said. In fact, my posting was probably in agreement with you.
    Peter, Nov 28, 2008
  13. Pat

    Peter Guest

    What he should have done was reverse the image on the right then we would
    see the face and the sun would have been in the correct position. <G>
    Peter, Nov 28, 2008
  14. Pat

    tony cooper Guest

    Oh, c'mon. If that photo was on a website or in an album along with
    several other photos taken on that trek, 99% of the viewers would not
    notice a thing. The Photoshopping is *not* obvious until you start
    examining the details. Then, only the viewers who have some knowledge
    of Photoshopping and photography would be able to spot the points you
    have listed.

    Photoshopped images that are "quite obvious" to "anyone" are the
    photos where the scene is improbable in itself...a photograph of an
    ordinary person being embraced by a well-known celebrity, for example.

    If Celcius had done this composite and omitted the walker's shadows
    entirely the 99% would drop, but not drastically. A single image
    might be scrutinized, but not an image in a series where the image
    fits in with the series in appropriateness of scene.
    tony cooper, Nov 28, 2008
  15. Pat

    Peter Guest

    We have about 65 members who may submit up to three images in each category.
    So I empathize. It's hard to get judges who manage to keep their comments
    interesting and pertinent, without insulting the maker.

    I entered a slide that the judge thought was slightly fuzzy. He shared a
    technique for shooting fish in an aquarium. The only problem was that the
    technique did not apply to shots taken on a wreck 40' below the surface. The
    judge became defense when I called this to his attention.

    There is one club that enters the same image in all competitions just to
    show beginners that judging is subjective. (The judges are not aware of
    which shot it is.)
    Peter, Nov 28, 2008
  16. Pat

    Pat Guest

    I've never quite understood the fascination with realistically
    representing an image -- especially when you consider that it isn't
    really possible. You are not seeing an object, you are seeing light
    bouncing off an object. So, as mentioned, colors are manipulated by
    nature. Shine a red light on a blue object and you get black(-ish),
    not blue or even red. But then again, a "blue object" is also
    subjective because under red light, it's not blue -- it's only blue
    under certain conditions.

    Faithful reproduction reminds me of two things. First there are the
    Kodak picture spots at Disney where you can stand, point the camera in
    the direction they tell you to, and take a picture just like they want
    you to. It's very nice but 10,000 people already did it. So what's
    the big deal. Yes it's a photo, but so what? Then there's the Golden
    Gate bridge. Same thing. There are 2 or 3 "stock" shots of it. So

    In either case, its better to do something else -- add some
    interpretation or something interesting to the scene.

    I'll take this one step farther into the realm of wedding photography
    -- the bane of photography. The difference between a wedding
    photographer and a good wedding photographer is a wedding photographer
    takes pictures of what happens. A good wedding photographer makes
    things happen -- things that would not happen otherwise.

    Remembering that there are a lot of variables out there -- from light
    to your brain processing things -- it might be safe to say that a
    photograph may be the way you think something looked However, a
    "good" photograph is how things should have looked.

    I wonder why it is that I'm been doing something like photography (by
    most people's opinions, it's not photography) for a long time compared
    to most people. I started with film and a darkroom WAY before anyone
    ever thought of digital but I have one of the widest definitions of
    photography. As I said in the OP, I just did something that's far,
    far removed from what most people do -- a silhouette that is cut from
    the paper. I'm trying to figure out if that's a photograph. That's
    where the shape is the image and there is no tonality. That pushes
    beyond PS, but interestingly I could have done the same thing in my
    darkroom and it probably would have been easier because Litho
    internegs are easy to make.
    Pat, Nov 28, 2008
  17. Pat

    mianileng Guest

    I don't know if you're deliberately misinterpreting my words or
    just dense. Yes, my opinions are my own. It is shared by many
    others, but the point is not whether we are in the minority or
    the majority, or whether we are an authority.

    When I said "Why is it that the "anything goes" brigade often
    chooses to ignore the above qualifications which have been stated
    often enough?", the question was *not* about why some people
    don't agree with me.

    The question is this: when those who accept severely manipulated
    images as photos argue their case, they often cite in-camera
    processing and minor corrections as manipulations, and then
    extrapolate that argument to include ANY amount of manipulation.
    They ignore the distinction we make between minor correction and
    major manipulation. They ignore analogies made in an attempt to
    clarify our views. They may not accept our opinions, but they
    should at least recognise and respond to those points of
    distinction in their argument. That's how an intelligent
    discussion should go. *That* was what my rhetorical question was
    mianileng, Nov 28, 2008
  18. Pat

    Peter Guest

    When you use a term like "the anything goes brigade," there is a clear
    pejorative intent directed at those who share an opinion that is not yours.
    Do you really expect a clear response to a pejorative attack.

    For clarity, I repeat my [unanswered] question to you: Except for
    documentary photography why is this not a distinction without a difference.
    Peter, Nov 28, 2008
  19. Pat

    tony cooper Guest

    We are allowed one entry in color and one entry in black and white,
    and can submit in each category. There was a category for prints, but
    they've dropped that. All entries are now submitted by email. Still,
    the competition nights run two hours of critiques.

    Print competition was getting out of hand. Only a very small number
    entered that group because you had to either have extensive equipment
    at home or be able to pay big bucks for outside processing. I never
    saw an 8 x 10 or smaller entered; they were all huge, matted,
    blow-ups. No print-it-out-on-your-$150 Epson-stuff.

    We also have "A" and a "B" levels. "A"s are professional
    photographers and winners of three or more monthly competitions.
    tony cooper, Nov 28, 2008
  20. Pat

    Peter Guest

    Your members spend their money on travelling, we have a lot of gear heads.

    The number of entries and categories varies with the club. We used to have
    A, B & Salon. We eliminated salon and now have in each class: prints; color
    & monochrome; and digital, which we only started last year as a replacement
    for slides. Digital may be color, BW or any combination thereof.

    Our largest number of entries is in the monochrome print category. There
    have been quite a few nice entries that were 8x10, even though our maximum
    size is 16 ax 20, including the mounting board, I have not seen any larger
    than 13x18.
    Peter, Nov 28, 2008
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