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Just Curious
Old 09-02-2006, 02:25 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I was wondering what people think about the change to photography with the advent of digital and especially programs like Photoshop. Back in the film days, the options for making changes to photographs were a lot more limited or, at least, much more tedious to do by hand. Do you think the change has made photography less about what you actually shoot and more about what you can do in post production? Has it made photographers less skillful at the camera end (not all of them, of course)?
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Re: Just Curious
Old 09-02-2006, 05:01 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Photographer? What's that?
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Re: Just Curious
Old 09-02-2006, 05:32 PM   #3 (permalink)
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One thing is certain: a photograph is most definitely no longer evidence in a court - it is possible to fake anything. (Yes, there is that thing from Canon which is supposed to prove a photo is genuine, but...)

I am not a Photoshop genius (there are some here who are), but I have found that I need the original raw image to have the seeds of what I'm trying to produce. I've tried to rescue images that were badly flawed (out of focus, etc), and failed horribly. So I think the skills in taking the photograph are still needed, but yes, Photoshop skills are important now. Maybe the analogy is that Photoshop skills have replaced darkroom skills (today's Ansel Adams would be highly skilled at Photoshop?)

I guess a perfect photographer might need next-to-no Photoshop skills, and a Photoshop genius might need little in the way of photography skills, but I'm still working on developing both sets of skills - lots of scope for improvement
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Re: Just Curious
Old 09-02-2006, 09:15 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I think words like 'cloning' and 'layers' should be forbidden when working on an image post-production. When we compare ourselves today against photographers like Helmet Newton, Ansel....they had nothing of the tools we have today. I think a lot of photographers cross the lines when they call themselves photographers instead of 'post-production experts'....just my thoughts.
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Re: Just Curious
Old 09-02-2006, 10:51 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I think that the shift towards digital photogrpahy has sped things up. Let's face it, a bad photo is still a bad photo no matter if it was taken on film or digital. Granted, there are things that can make an average photo better, but there isn't a substitue for good composition and lighting. I do have one massive gripe about digital though. Now instead of somebody shooting a few hundred images on a shoot, they are taking several thousand images. I don't quite understand the logic or sense behind that one. Ok, you increase your odds of getting a good image. But you're bound to hit something with a semi automatic shotgun. I think there's something more to be said about somebody who is similar to somebody who shoots with a single shot, bolt action rifle. Take fewer images, but have a more sucsessful outcome.

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Re: Just Curious
Old 09-02-2006, 11:24 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I feel that the "digital" evolution has allowed photographers to play and experiment more readily (instant feedback) which will indeed lead to more photos being taken...but I agree that simply taking more photos because it is digital in order to increase your odds of getting that one photo is, at the very least, overkill....

As for the photoshop thing, yes, it is now necessary to be either proficient at this program or at least have a decent knowledge about it... Personally, I have taken any number of photographs that are properly exposed, cropped, and with good color saturation and white balance...but I still like to play a bit sometimes (using the "What if" concept)....I agree with a previous statement that a bad photo is still a bad photo whether it is digital or not...and in most cases, even a Photoshop guru can not save those shots!!!
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Re: Just Curious
Old 09-02-2006, 11:31 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheGoldy
I was wondering what people think about the change to photography with the advent of digital and especially programs like Photoshop. Back in the film days, the options for making changes to photographs were a lot more limited or, at least, much more tedious to do by hand. Do you think the change has made photography less about what you actually shoot and more about what you can do in post production? Has it made photographers less skillful at the camera end (not all of them, of course)?
I worked for advertising agencies back when photoshop did not exist, so
when a photo needed to be edited or enhanced it meant getting out the
airbrush and spending a lot of time mixing colors to make corrections to
the picture and then it had to be scanned for printing purposes. Now that
we have computers to do the same job, it takes a fraction of the amount of
time to complete the same work. Different tools, less time and faster to
fix mistakes.
Jim
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Re: Just Curious
Old 09-03-2006, 12:05 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CatCynic
One thing is certain: a photograph is most definitely no longer evidence in a court...
Oh? Would you care to back that statement up with some references, court rulings from the Supremes, etc?
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Re: Just Curious
Old 09-03-2006, 08:03 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by racket4life
I think words like 'cloning' and 'layers' should be forbidden when working on an image post-production. When we compare ourselves today against photographers like Helmet Newton, Ansel....they had nothing of the tools we have today. I think a lot of photographers cross the lines when they call themselves photographers instead of 'post-production experts'....just my thoughts.
While I agree that the tools didn't exist... BUT burning in a spot here and then there is exacty what "layers" in photoshop is... I love Adams work, maybe it would have been different or better if he had Photoshop????
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Re: Just Curious
Old 09-03-2006, 09:19 AM   #10 (permalink)
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As to my reference to layers and cloning and Adams' work. I agree, their tools were different. I was reading in what I belive was 'Pop Photo' in the past couple of issues. I saw a boy running across a sidewalk in front of a Coca-Cola sign. It was a great image in my mind until I read how it was made post-capture. The final proof was with the boy on the left, running into the sign and I was impressed to see the focus on the boy running at speed, etc. Later, after I read, I found out the original photo was with the boy dead in the center of the pic. The photographer used the cloning tools in photoshop to copy parts of the photograph, move them here, move them there, blend them in and created an image that was nothing like the original. Once I found out that the photo on print was nothing even close to the original captured at the moment--I lost all respect for the photo because it was a digital compilation and not an accurate image of what the photographer took.

I guess, I do not mind using things such as levels, dodge, burn, and layers as long as it is used in a way that keeps the photograph as close to the original image. But once we remove things completely from an image such as unwanted clutter, or impose something into a photograph that was not there--then we break the rules in my mind as to what is acceptable for digital enhancement or manipulation.

Getty Images knows all about this--as most of you know, a freelance photographer in Beirut enhanced his smoke clouds (very poorly) and cloned and moved buildings within the city (again, poorly).

What it comes down to, in my mind, is that with the digital technology--is an image that we see just an incredible photograph with slight fixings in photoshop? Or, was/is it not a photograph at all--rather a great compilation of digital manipulation by a computer genius?

The jury will always be out when it comes to this topic.....
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