View Full Version : Hola de España: A question of Ethics
Rhad the Man
I hope this thread finds everyone doing well.. enjoying their respective photo-cisty in their respective homes. As for me, I'm enjoying it up here in Spain (for the most part), learning spanish as best I can.
But that is not what brings me hear today. I have a question to ask.. I'm not really what kind of form answers will come in, but I am interested.
How much "photoshopping" is to much photoshopping? I know this is a rather equivocal question.. but, I guess what I mean is--
For a small time I use to take digital pictures with a LX7. I use to load them into my camera and photoshop the hell out of them (by that.. I mean taken to the extremes) and post them up on gfxartist.com.
But I find that here this sort of practice, whether because of the different medium or new forum, makes me feel a bit... unethical (?). Heh, I'm sorry but I don't really know what other word to use.
Maybe it's because of the mythology I have built around film photography and it's all-natural process (albeit, I realize that it is affected by labs and chemicals, etc etc.)... I don't know. All I know is that even though I wish I could photoshop a picture to more acurately portray the colors I saw on any particular day, I feel uncomfortable going beyond basic, small, adjustments of contrast and brightness.
So.. rationalize for me! Or just leave your thoughts.. I'm wondering now. :confused: :confused: Thanks.
Ola, Rahd! For me, if it LOOKS photoshopped, then it's too much.
Extreme photoshopping IMHO is often a sign of dissatisfaction with one's photos, with subsequent attempts to make "something out of nothing". Many people get past that after taking their fisrt successful photo, I mean, one that looks great without significant processing. Some though get stuck in kitsch forever as it seems.
I would not consider it a question of ethics, unless you are misrepresenting the final product. The point of photography is the image, and photographers have been manipulating images since day one, by the use of different developers, filters, paper, dodging/burning, etc. Photoshop and similar programs are just another way to do so.
I think it's a matter of what are you searching for in photography. If you want to make the photo more like the image you have in mind, it's ok, just keep in mind that we remember in "Velvia style" sometimes ;-) I mean we exagerate colours, etc.
Ansel Adams was a darkroom master for boosting photos, just like today computer geeks ;) so if he did, you can too..
Me instead, I'm trying to learn photography now, bare and simple, so I'm stripping bare from all the manipulations. This means that I leave photos like they're even if I could enhance them...
Probably I'm also growing tired of photoshop, since it's for 50% my daily work... :D
Do whatever and as much photoshop you want and disclose what you have done. It is up to you to set your own limits, as long as you do not hide what you have done. Just my opinion...
Probably depends on what your intent is. Ansel Adams certainly changed exposure and development, and dodged and burned as he saw fit. Jerry Ulsman combined several photographs into one and was successful at it. If your intent is to show obviously PS's photos then that is your thing and go for it.
If you could accomplish in the original photo what you are doing in PS, then perhaps it is as varjag says and you need to work on getting closer to what you want in camera.
But in the end, you have to decide what you like in a final photo and how you best like to get there.
If you are just taking film's limits and photoshopping them to reflect what your eyes and brain recall at the scene, I see no problems with that :)
If photoshopping adds elements that simply weren't there when you experienced it, then it is art, not journalism. Art is fine too, by the way. Just be honest about which is which and no ethical rules will be crossed.
Many here feel that "documentary" is a part of the rangefinder way. You'll often see phrases like "street photography", "candids" etc, that an RF is very good for capturing a moment in time. The key phrase being _capture_ rather than manufacture, so that PS work doesn't really flow with that philosophy.
Of course, there's nothing wrong with landscapes or "photographic art" either, just a different philosophy and style. Many people try to make the photo look like what the eye sees, which often requires PS work.
From its name, i suppose gfxartist is a graphic artist site. That's not (necessarily) photography.
Depends what you want to achieve.
For uploading anywhere digitally, a small amount of digital tweaking is always necessary. Sometimes alot is necessary to get back to the image you wanted to record on the film (or on the sensor), or the image that you get from a wet printing.
Sometimes you can get interesting results which could not be achieved without photoshop.
But it's easy to overshoot and get kitschy or weird images that do not appeal as photography, or that are very far from photography. In that case i would not upload it here.
Hola Rhad, espero que lo estés pasando bien en España.
IMO you can use all the "photoshoping" you like with your photos (I like doing only those basic and small adjustements in my photos). If you like the results using photoshop do it, but don´t hide it (that´s unethical).
Do you know the work of the spanish artist Ouka Leele (http://www.geocities.com/diogenes_atica/oukalele.htm)? She takes photos and paint them (no photoshop)
Read Ansel Adams if you wonder about "extreme". If it looks good it's not "too much.
There is a point of diminishing returns, but that has more to do with how you feel about your time.
Retouching is nothing new...
Life Magazine regularly enhanced negatives in the darkroom to produce its superb images...
So have other magazines and photographers, as others mentioned...
Portrait photographers routinely touch up their work, eliminating wrinkles, blemishes and facial hair, and, when necessary, slenderize their images...
[Wasn't some of that what happened with Katie Couric just recently?]
Newspapers regularly touch up photographs to show details or crop them to eliminate what it doesn't want...
Moreover, museums, galleries, cathedrals and others with famous paintings in need of work routinely spend years restoring them...
(Steve Wynn --the casino operator-- accidently poked a hole in a famous painting he was in the process of selling not so long ago, so he cancelled the sale and will restore the painting...)
So, do what you do and as long as you don't lie, don't ask and don't tell...
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