The argument rages on about what exactly is a photograph in this age of digital photography.
Over on Popular Photography a couple of winners in a recent competition were composite images and the magazine’s editor-in-chief Miriam Leuchter had to publish an editorial on this after the two photos in question resulted in some controversy. Then just after this, David Pogue (New York Times) also published an article about when can a photograph be classed as real?
Most of the arguments against “manipulated” images seem to fall into two camps – either the image should be a shot taken of real life, or it shouldn’t be a composite of several images. But both of these views have their own problems.
In terms the real life argument, what about a model in a chosen costume and pose, shot within a studio built set. This certainly isn’t real life but most would classify it as a “real” (un-manipulated) photograph. As for the composite argument, what about a panorama comprised of several images stitched together?
Finally, check out the sad story of the original winner of the 2012 National Geographic Photo Contest. Harry Fisch took the decision to clone out a distracting plastic bag to the right of his photo. Officially this turned the image in a manipulated one and something the rules clearly disallowed. As a result he was stripped of his title in just 72 hours. Strangely, if he’d cropped the image, or even darkened/burned the bag so you could hardly see it he would have been okay. Check out the story to see the photo with and without the bag and make your decision on whether Harry should have been disqualified.
So what do you think makes a photo? And what changes would cause you to classify a photo as a manipulated image or invented reality?
Welcome to 2013 everyone!
To start the new year I’ve made some changes to the design of my site. The reason for these was mainly to try to standardise some things. As the site has grown over the years (can you believe I started this blog in 2007!) things have begun to get a little frayed around the edges and attempts to integrate some social links weren’t working too well due to the age of the template I’m using. Also, with the rise of mobile devices I wanted to make sure the site works well on those platforms.
Hopefully you shouldn’t see too many changes other than a small increase in the page width on desktop devices. I’m aware old comments aren’t showing at the moment. Not sure if this will be fixed but new comments seem to be showing just fine. If you do spot any issues, please drop me a line via the contact form and let me know.
I always get a little annoyed by those who look down their nose at Photoshop exclaiming that something that has been post-processed in the software is not a “real” photograph (whatever that is).
I started my journey in photography shooting black and white on film and developing the negatives and processing the shots myself. The main reason I wanted to do this was because when I first started I knew even less about taking photos than I do now (which still isn’t a lot!) and so printing the images myself allowed me to attempt to correct composition (by re-cropping) and exposure (using dodging and burning) so the final image more closely resembled my original vision. Because of this I know that there are many things that photoshop does that you can replicate in a dark-room. Even going as far as adding or removing elements from a negative. Of course its not as easy as clicking a few buttons in Photoshop, but its still possible.
So it was great to see the site Boing Boing link to a collection of 19th Century photographs that have all been manipulated in the darkroom when printed to turn ordinary portraits into novelty headless ones!
19th Century Headless Portraits (via Boing Boing)
I purchased the Lee Big Stopper filter the other day and today was a perfect day to test it. Very windy, with clouds scuttling overhead. The above shot is one of the Henry Moore pieces that sits within the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. I also took some of “Old Flo” (Moore’s Draped Seated Woman) as it’s currently the subject of a row about a proposed sale so I’m not sure how long it will stay within the park.
Of all the different facets of photography Travel Photography is the area that I’m closest to and I love exploring somewhere new, getting off the beaten track, and seeing what sights I can capture. Previously on this blog and elsewhere there have been discussions around Travel Photography – Is it dead? Does it exist when locals with greater knowledge of the areas near them are taking superb photos? If you act like a tourist in your local town can you take travel shots of it?
In the start of his new ebook “A Sense of Place”, Younes Bounhar discusses similar questions. He then breaks the book into two main sections – At Home and Abroad. In the former he advocates acting like a tourist in your local area. Living somewhere you often overlook attractions and features that others visit your local area to see. Also, we rarely just wander aimlessly when we’re at home. With appointments and things to do life is more structured but spending some time walking or driving around with no specific destination in mind may help you see your home in a new light. (more…)