What is a photograph?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Dennis Pogson, Dec 1, 2006.

  1. From the moment you press the shutter.
    Dennis Pogson, Dec 1, 2006
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  2. Dennis Pogson

    if Guest

    Since a digital image can be edited ad infinitum, at what point does it
    stop being a photograph?


    I can't understand it. I can't even understand the people who can
    understand it. -- Queen Juliana of the Netherlands.
    if, Dec 1, 2006
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  3. : Since a digital image can be edited ad infinitum, at what point does it
    : stop being a photograph?

    A photograph is an image created by capturing energy emissions or
    reflections (generally visible light) by the use of an energy sensitive
    material in such a way that the image can be reproduced later. A single
    frame of video or movie film is a photograph. In common practice the image
    so captured, even after some manipulations, is also called a photgraph.
    Even a composite image with elements from multiple photos is still a
    photograph. If an image is created from non photographic captured
    elements, it is not a photo.

    With the ease with which digital images can be manipulated and added to
    elements not captured by a photographic process (such as electronic
    paintbrush), the lines blur between artwork and photographs. Personally I
    tend to say that if there is more photographic elements than created
    elements it still is at least a composite photographic image. Others seem
    to be of the opinion that if any manipulation of the image has occured
    (even brightness/contrast) it ceases to be a photo. And others allow some
    slight manipulation of the data as long as it is just adjustment of the
    data without creating anything new.

    This is why I have forced myself to change my terminology from
    "photograph" to "image". An image can be almost anything, including almost
    totally created data. In this case a painting would be an image. And a
    pure photo would also be an image. And thus I don't worry about if my
    final stored image (or printed image) is a "photograph" or not. :)


    Randy Berbaum
    Champaign, IL
    Randy Berbaum, Dec 1, 2006
  4. Dennis Pogson

    Mike Russell Guest

    A photograph is an image that is true to the spirit of its original optical
    and chemical media. Photographs will continue to change as the underlying
    technology changes. It is thriving in the digital world.
    Mike Russell, Dec 1, 2006
  5. It is always a photograph. Digital images are subject to editing.
    Guess what silver photographs are also subject to editing. The tools are
    different, but the results are edited images either way.
    Joseph Meehan, Dec 1, 2006
  6. I strongly agree. Using Kodalith and compositing, I can make a film
    image end up looking nothing like the original negative.

    Let's face it- unlike some others, the English language has no final
    official arbiter on word meaning. It is pointless to argue about the
    meaning of ANY english word.
    Don Stauffer in Minnesota, Dec 1, 2006
  7. Now there's a question to which no one will ever be able to give an
    irrefutable answer.

    It's sort of like asking, At what point does a fertilized egg become a

    Neil Harrington, Dec 1, 2006
  8. Dennis Pogson

    Roy G Guest


    Just after you scrape the emulsion off the glass plate.

    Roy G
    Roy G, Dec 1, 2006
  9. It's a slippery slope, once you try that newfangled "roll film" instead
    of good, honest plates.

    I hang my head in shame every time I simulate real photography using
    one of these computerized whatzits.
    Scott Schuckert, Dec 1, 2006
  10. Dennis Pogson

    Marvin Guest

    A question like this brings out lots of opinions, but few -
    if any - informed responses.
    Marvin, Dec 1, 2006
  11. Without going into a full explanation as to why, once the shutter is
    mark_digitalĀ©, Dec 1, 2006
  12. Dennis Pogson

    Roy G Guest

    Next thing we will be having Colour - have they no shame??
    Roy G, Dec 1, 2006
  13. Dennis Pogson

    Roy G Guest

    And soon after that, do you realise, even the lower orders and common
    workers, and perhaps even domestic servants, will be allowed to use that
    sort of equipment.

    Do you really think that what they make, could really ever be called proper
    photographs ??

    Roy G
    Roy G, Dec 1, 2006
  14. Dennis Pogson

    Ron Hunter Guest

    When you add, or change the basic elements of the image.
    Photographs have long been printed with various tricks to get lighter,
    darker, areas, or with filters to change the colors. These are pretty
    much accepted practices, but adding a person to an image brings it into
    the realm of a digital image creation.
    Ron Hunter, Dec 1, 2006
  15. Words mean what I wish them to mean - neither more nor less.
    - Humpty Dumpty

    Duncan Chesley, Dec 1, 2006
  16. Glass plates are just a passing fad. They'll never replace metal.

    Daguerreotype forever!

    Neil Harrington, Dec 2, 2006
  17. Dennis Pogson

    Phil Wheeler Guest

    But who knows? I hear they are fussing with some
    new concept called "film" now. Nah .. can't ever
    replace good, solid glass.

    Phil Wheeler, Dec 2, 2006
  18. Dennis Pogson

    ASAAR Guest

    Wrong. It stops being a photograph when nobody is viewing it,
    especially when hung in a (silent) forest.

    ASAAR, Dec 2, 2006
  19. Right. But lots of strikes.... of the fishing kind, that is. Imagine a
    vessel proceeding at ca. five knots, long lines out the back, baited.
    John McWilliams, Dec 2, 2006
  20. <guffaw!>
    Neil Harrington, Dec 2, 2006
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