When does a photograph stop becoming a photograph?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by baker1, Dec 25, 2005.

  1. baker1

    Matt Ion Guest

    Well said :)

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  2. baker1

    baker1 Guest

    On 26 Dec 2005 05:02:30 -0800, "Celcius" <>

    I think: http://tinyurl.com/dslvx . He turned the photo into
    I love the shot! I agree with everyone in their responses and thank
    everyone for not ripping me apart. It seems a topic that is very
    personal for each of us.

    Happy holidays,

    baker1, Dec 27, 2005
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  3. baker1

    BobF Guest

    Police photos and news photos are 2 that I know you shouldn't manipulate.
    Whatever you get from the camera is it - right or wrong! That's why newspapers
    don't edit out the 'f**kyou' T-shirts way in the background, they just kind of
    make them less noticeable, or don't run the photo at all.

    I once took some pics for the cops of scratch's on the doorjamb of a train
    station that had been broken into - they were impressed by the fact I could
    E-mail the photos downtown within an hour... but I don't think the inspector
    appreciated the megabytes in his E-mail, this was during the Time of 14400
    Modems... :)
    BobF, Dec 27, 2005
  4. baker1

    Stacey Guest

    Digital art. Given that bird never was flying over that water, it never
    happened in front of the camera. When you start adding or removing
    elements, it's no longer a photograph IMHO.
    Stacey, Dec 27, 2005
  5. baker1

    Tony Guest

    Adams spent many hours in the darkroom creating his pictures. Most of them
    were as manipulated as fashion ads in Elle.
    As to your question - the answer would depend on the use. At least one
    photojournalist lost his job this year fro combining two pictures taken
    about a second apart onto one print. Meanwhile other guys are getting the
    big bucks for turning dull reality into beautiful fantasy.

    home of The Camera-ist's Manifesto
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    Tony, Dec 27, 2005
  6. baker1

    Stacey Guest

    Yet they were exactly what he pre-visualized them to be and most were
    representative of things that were there in front of the camera when he
    tripped the shutter. He didn't like add a bird into an image to make it
    Which wasn't a photograph.
    Stacey, Dec 27, 2005
  7. baker1

    PcB Guest

    Hi Marcel,

    <<To my way of thinking, this is the difference between taking snapshots
    (which I do) and photography (which I try to do at times).>>

    IMO the snapshot can be a very strong medium, particularly snapshots taken
    around holiday times. They tell a story and are open and honest.

    <<By the way, I like what you do.>>

    Thanks for looking.


    Paul ============}
    o o

    // Live fast, die old //
    Gallery at http://homepage.ntlworld.com/pcbradley/NewGallery2.htm
    PcB, Dec 27, 2005
  8. baker1

    One4All Guest

    Well, many words are needed. Millions, if not billions, of words have
    been written re: the OP's question ever since photography was invented.
    Most were concerned with whether photography can be an art form. That
    question has long been settled: Of course it is. Now, the question the
    OP is asking is whether digital photography has advanced the ability to
    manipulate images so far that "a photograph" is a nebulous term.

    The answer is that photography, digital and traditional, is an
    image-making medium. It's just a medium, period. Until photography,
    images were made by hand, and still are. Photography was suspect as an
    art form because its images were created by a machine, the camera. Over
    time, manipulation in film processing and printing by hand became an
    acceptable way of producing images. For the most part, what you saw in
    the image is what the photographer saw, or wanted to see. Manipulation
    was very expensive, difficult, and labor-intensive, to the extent that
    an original image by Ansel Adams commands top dollar. Jerry Uelsmann's
    images required a tremendous amount of investment in equipment,
    expertise, and hard work.

    With digital photography, ease of manipulation has gone up while cost
    has gone down. There were only a few Adams's and Uelsmanns. Now,
    Photoshop has enabled thousands. So, photography is in a machine
    environment, completely, with some exceptions.

    Notice the word, "images," instead of "photographs." "Photograph" is an
    ambiguous and loaded term. So is "photo." Both are also obsolete terms.
    Photographs and photos were made on film and manipulated only with
    extreme difficulty, expense, and expertise. When the OP talks about
    hanging a digital 8 x 10 image on his wall, he's not talking about a
    photo or photograph. He's talking about a print, or a picture, and
    that's what we must start talking about, prints or pictures.
    "Photograph" and "photo" carry a lot of baggage re: the OP's concern
    about authenticity. That's all out the window, now. We also don't
    "photograph"; we "record."

    When we want authenticity, we want a picture of the scene, person, or
    event. When we want art, we want a print. Does the OP want to hang a
    picture or a print? If a picture, he must be concerned about
    authenticity. If a print, he does not. The odd thing about his post is
    he's asking how he can know whether he has a picture or a print, when
    he's the one that recorded the image.
    One4All, Dec 27, 2005
  9. baker1

    rafe b Guest

    How about when you use the clone tool or cut/paste to
    remove a small unwanted element in the frame... let's
    say a piece of garbage on the ground that you missed
    when you clicked the shutter?

    rafe b
    rafe b, Dec 27, 2005
  10. baker1

    salgud Guest

    Yu tryin' to tell me my velvet Elvis paintin' ain't classey? I'ma gonna
    git me ma rabbit gun and chute you down like a dawg in the streat!
    salgud, Dec 27, 2005
  11. baker1

    Skip M Guest

    When I show work in galleries that I've done something like that to, I term
    it "Digitally Modified Photography" rather than "Black and White
    Photography" or "Silver Print," or some such thing.
    Skip M, Dec 27, 2005
  12. baker1

    Bill Funk Guest

    Well, yes, it was. It may not have been what *you* think a photograph
    is, though.


    Both of these use definitions of "photograph" that fit the description
    that you deny.

    I think we need to be careful of parochialism, or the idea that what
    *we* believe is the real truth.

    Did the abstract artists paint what they saw? If we look at their art
    with a litteral eye, the answer is no; but, they really did paint what
    they saw. They just saw it differently than I would.

    Is your definition of photography that only what *you* think is a
    photograph is a photograph, or is it that anythign that fits the
    dictionary and commonly accepted definitions?
    Bill Funk, Dec 27, 2005
  13. baker1

    Stacey Guest

    No longer a photograph. If you had walked over and picked up the piece of
    trash before you clicked the shutter it's still a photograph because what
    was in front of the camera when the shutter was pressed existed at that
    point in time. You could then put the piece of trash right back where it
    was if you like. :)

    I'm not trying to judge other people's work and I produce both photographs
    and digital art, I'm just personally more satified when I produce a nice
    "photograph" and ticked off when I have to use the clone tool because I
    didn't look closely enough..
    Stacey, Dec 27, 2005
  14. baker1

    Skip M Guest

    On the other hand, I just spent time with the clone tool taking out some
    silly tattoos and a few razor bumps on an otherwise photogenic model. I
    noticed 'em, but went ahead, anyway. The images only have a strong
    attachment to reality, but they aren't reality, themselves. So, I hesitate
    to call them photographs, since they don't really represent something that
    actually existed (a model with no tattoos and no reaction to a razor
    Thus, "Digitally Modified (or Altered) Photograph."
    Skip M, Dec 28, 2005
  15. baker1

    Doug Robbins Guest

    You get to define what's a photograph and what isn't? I don't think so.
    Doug Robbins, Dec 28, 2005
  16. baker1

    Nikon User Guest

    What would you call it if a darkroom technician removed the tattoo and
    razor bumps while enlarging the photo from a negative?

    Or if someone painted this model and left the tattoo and razor bumps out
    of the painting, what would you call it?
    Nikon User, Dec 28, 2005
  17. baker1

    dj_nme Guest

    I would call both efforts (digital and film) to be "retouching",
    assuming all they were doing is removing minor blemishes and marks.
    It is amazing what some retouchers can do with a B&W neg and a bromide
    If, on the other hand you were montaging images together (like that
    stork picture earlier in the thread) then it realy isn't a photograph
    (to me), but a piece of art or phantasy.
    dj_nme, Dec 28, 2005
  18. baker1

    Nikon User Guest

    And I'd call it "retouching" when someone uses software to achieve the
    same ends.
    I'd call it a photo-montage. They're nothing new.
    Nikon User, Dec 28, 2005
  19. baker1

    Skip M Guest

    A retouched photograph. One of the fascinating things about the
    photographers in the '30s and '40s was the lengths to which they went to
    eliminate flaws, especially those guys in Hollywood. I have a book on
    George Hurrell which details, and gives an example of, the work that went
    into some of the 8x10 negs he shot.

    A painting.
    Skip M, Dec 28, 2005
  20. baker1

    Matt Ion Guest

    Well, since a single picture IS worth a thousand words...

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