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World Press Photo 2013 a fake ?
Old 05-14-2013   #1
Jan Van Laethem
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World Press Photo 2013 a fake ?

The World Press Photo winner of the 2013 award, Paul Hansen, may have applied too much manipulation to his winning entry.

http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/1...with-photoshop

I wouldn't go as far as to call it a fake, but it raises a question : how much Photoshop/Lightroom etc. can you apply to a picture that will compete in such a contest ? And is it any different than the dodging and burning that used to be applied in the darkroom ?

The photographer's refusal to send in his raw image certainly raises an ethical question.
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Old 05-14-2013   #2
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Well, probably back then they didn't submit lyth prints in Press category, such analogy comes to mind. Press photo editing certainly has to be constrained.
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Old 05-14-2013   #3
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For reference
http://www.spiegel.de/international/...-a-898509.html

Excessive "tweaking" of lights, shadows, midtones ... I dont like the movie poster look in press photos, but it seems to sell well.
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Old 05-14-2013   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSU View Post
Why not present both sides and hear directly from the photographer?

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013...?utm_hp_ref=uk
"Paul Hansen has previously explained in detail how he processed the image. World Press Photo has no reason to doubt his explanation. However, in order to curtail further speculation - and with full cooperation by Paul Hansen - we have asked two independent experts to carry out a forensic investigation of the image file."

Instead of simply handing out the RAW file...
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Old 05-14-2013   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bille View Post
Instead of simply handing out the RAW file...
hate to pillory the guy but this point bears repeating. If my reputation were on the line, you can bet I would give WPP my original file to examine. Can anyone verify that WPP does require original files for winners ? I've heard this floating around...
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Old 05-14-2013   #6
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For me everything that is the up to date LR equivalent to darkroom dodging and burning is OK.

Incorrect representation of :
- date, time and
- location
- information what is happening in the scene or
- removing or adding anything to the content of the picture

are not OK.

Therefore: heavily post processed yes, fake - no.
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Old 05-14-2013   #7
Peter Wijninga
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I don't think you have to be a PS forensic expert to notice the extensive shopping in this picture.
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Old 05-14-2013   #8
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I was uncomfortable with the photo when I first saw it - it just screams HDR - but then I thought it unlikely that such a dynamic scene could be a composite and just considered it unnaturally HDR-like processing.

If WPP rules state the photogs need to supply RAWs, why did they choose a photo with obvious heavy PP and no RAW present??
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Old 05-14-2013   #9
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As an FYI:
http://www.worldpressphoto.org/news/...hoto-year-2012

They are now going to review it with the blessing of Hansen via independent forensic investigators...

Cheers,
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Old 05-14-2013   #10
Jan Van Laethem
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Forensic investigators ?

The jury should just take a look at the RAW file, just as we used to look at a negative or slide on the light box. It shouldn't be more complicated than that. Would you inspect a photocopy of a contact sheet ?
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Old 05-14-2013   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jan Van Laethem View Post
Forensic investigators ?

The jury should just take a look at the RAW file, just as we used to look at a negative or slide on the light box. It shouldn't be more complicated than that. Would you inspect a photocopy of a contact sheet ?
Don't tell me man.. go talk to WPP about it
I'm just some guy on a forum somewhere .... the people whose minds you want to change are located here:
http://www.worldpressphoto.org/contact

That said, the comment is that the two "experts" are carrying out a "forensic investigation" (direct quotes from the link). For all we know, that investigation includes reviewing the RAW file but that is not explicitly stated.

Cheers,
Dave
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Old 05-14-2013   #12
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Hate to sound like a dick but I was saying that photograph was heavily manipulated from the moment I saw it. It looks as if it has been lit from multiple angles.
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Old 05-14-2013   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gavinlg View Post
Hate to sound like a dick but I was saying that photograph was heavily manipulated from the moment I saw it. It looks as if it has been lit from multiple angles.
Exactly, look at a properly lit picture here, photograph by Georges Merillon, World Press Photo Award from 1990. The shadowy areas actually add some drama to the picture as well. A much more natural looking result.

http://www.archive.worldpressphoto.o...oord/year/1990
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Old 05-14-2013   #14
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I think that it won is evidence enough that press photographers are obligated to do what they're doing.

Photography by itself doesn't cut it for photography: it's about cinematics and near to in-the-studio looks that draws the very stubborn editors (and judges) who are plagued by IADD (Image Attention Deficit Disorder) syndrome.

Armstrong felt he needed to game the system, press photographers feel to do the same. It is not right that they do this, and it is not right that they are being pushed to do this.
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Old 05-14-2013   #15
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A slightly different view (somehow influenced by the ethic statements of 10b Photography).
IMO not really wrong, not completely true. I have to accept we have not yet found the digital darkroom red line.
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Old 05-14-2013   #16
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This is the photographic equivalent of auto-tune and Pro Tools in the music business, where each and every note can be manipulated to the point of perfection--or surrealism. There is almost not a single song you hear on commercial radio in the last decade that is not processed to the point of near-perfection--especially vocals.

Personally, I don't have a huge problem with post-processing (editing) in either music or photography, as long as it's minimal. This has been done for ages, whether in a traditional darkroom, or, in music, by splicing and other forms of tape manipulation.

Where I draw the line is when things are manipulated to the point of being fake. If a vocalist uses auto-tune to correct a note he or she could otherwise sing if given another pass at a vocal take, that is fine, in my opinion. Likewise, if a photographer makes corrections to a photo that he could have achieved naturally if given the opportunity, again that is fine with me.

But there is a line. If you are a terrible singer and use computers to make yourself sound amazing, to me that is blatant misrepresentation. If you are creating images that could in no way have been done organically by anyone, again, I find that phony.

I shoot film almost exclusively and do as little as possible in post-processing. Usually only things that one can do in a darkroom, such as adjust contrast, or cropping/straightening, etc. I don't really have any editing skills beyond that, fortunately. Most of the tools in Lightroom I don't even know how to use.

I am also a musician and have recorded multiple records. When I do, I try to do as minimal editing as possible. If that means the recording isn't perfect, then so be it. To me, that is real, and I prefer real to manufactured.
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Old 05-14-2013   #17
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I shoot film to avoid problems on that matter as well as I have "avoided" all possible awards around me too

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Old 05-14-2013   #18
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... the light looks odd even to me ... why would that have fooled expert judges?
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Old 05-14-2013   #19
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Not again such a discussion. We live in an infotainment world. I visited 2 world press photo exhibitions. Most photos (digital and film) are higly edited in digital or old fashioned darkroom. It's good that way because I'm not going to an exhibition to see boring, flat, unedited photos. For my taste this one is a bit too much but to speak of a fake is ........... forget it, I have no words.
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Old 05-14-2013   #20
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You could try to fake the words: so-called journalists do it all the time. H3ll, they hardly ever do proofreading online anymore; who(m)ever says differently, then there's the rub.
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Old 05-14-2013   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JSU View Post
Thanks for that.

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Old 05-16-2013   #22
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Quote:
“When I compare the RAW file with the prizewinning version I can indeed see that there has been a fair amount of post-production, in the sense that some areas have been made lighter and others darker. But regarding the positions of each pixel, all of them are exactly in the same place in the JPEG (the prizewinning image) as they are in the RAW file. I would therefore rule out any question of a composite image.”

- Eduard de Kam, digital photography expert NIDF (Nederlands Instituut voor Digitale Fotografie)

Looks like the main "issue" was the interpretation of "fake". And by how I understand "fake", they believe this was not "a fake". That it underwent heavy post-processing was one thing, but it was not "a fake". I at a time felt carried by the calls of "fake!" by looking at that photo under that ::cough:: light.

I'd also add that...adding salt to food is "faking" the flavour for some, and simple post-processing to others. Some people's views are more pur-o-fanatical than ethic-o-conscious.

Still, there should be guidelines about dumping a cup of it on this particular entrée without others muddling the issue by crying "fake!". And please take this back to the chef.
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Old 05-16-2013   #23
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I suspect that these discussions about how much post processing is too much have been going on for a very, very long time. Of course I wouldn't really know since I don't think I was there when it started!
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Old 05-17-2013   #24
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I certainly dislike the HDR-esque or Slumdog Millionaire-esqe look that some press photos have these days. But that's taste, and this isn't the first time I've been out of that loop.

I wonder how perspective correction and lens distortion correction would be viewed in this circumstance? A 16mm lens in a small room, corrected to feel as if one is in a large one...
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Old 05-17-2013   #25
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Assuming that every pixel is indeed where it should be I think the photographer has a right to be miffed about this furor.

That's not to say I like the image or what he chose to do with it in post! I remember I posted a link to the pic from our Oz ABC site ages ago and we discussed it in some detail.
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Old 05-18-2013   #26
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http://www.spiegel.de/kultur/gesells...-a-900383.html

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Old 05-18-2013   #27
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Having just read this thread from the beginning can it be clear now that the original RAW file has been submitted?
Having said that this is a RAW file that has been "opened" or "developed" even before the photoshop treatment.
There are numerous "treatments" of this shot as printed in various publications around to compare.
What a murky world this digital is. I suppose the World Press Photo plug-in is just around the corner?

My view? Glad you asked: Interpretation, even to the extreme is fine if you're "fine art" ; look what happened to Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico by Ansel Adams, over the years he had "visionary" changes: but lines in the sand are required for photojournalism.

Not that the history of that genre has been spectacularly pure: Yes it's time to drag up poor Roger Fenton and his movable cannonballs; Capa and his Spanish Civil War;Raising a flag over the Reichstag by Yevgeny Khaldei where the flag-bearer was wearing two watches, which could imply he had looted one of them so using a needle, he was able to remove one watch from the right wrist. He also copied the smoke in the background from another picture to make the scene more dramatic. No doubt you can find more efficient ways in Photoshop these days.
So, lines in the sand or pie in the sky: take your choice. It has happened before:it will happen again.
If anyone believes without question what they read or see in print, including the internet, without a healthy, and lets not go where the evidence for "five a day" is (hint:- it is very tenuous), dose of scepticism they require to be left quietly alone in their child like innocence.
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Old 05-18-2013   #28
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Just don't shoot RAW. Nothing wrong with what he did. My nikon and fuji cameras in JPG make all kinds of adjustments in shadow and highlight details and etc; my ricoh even makes different white balance adjustments in different parts of the photo. The fellow that accused him of compositing later redefined compositing in a bizarre way to "prove" his case.
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Old 05-18-2013   #29
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Oh yeah, and damn to hell whoever is responsible for the dead babies.
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Old 05-19-2013   #30
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Same pixels in RAW and submitted picture - case closed, no fake!
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Old 05-19-2013   #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Addy101 View Post
Same pixels in RAW and submitted picture - case closed, no fake!
I think you are taking a particularly narrow view; which you are fully entitled to do and the judging panel at the competition appears to agree with you, of what constitutes a fake.
The very bottom line is all photography is a fake in its representation of what we perceive as reality; the question is how much fakery are we prepared to accept? The case will never be closed:because opinions will vary.
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