Truth stranger than fiction...

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by ic-racer, Jun 11, 2010.

  1. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    From my own personal standpoint, the truth has always been more interesting than fiction. Both in concept and in photography. That is one reason why I enjoy non-computer photography, and have no interest in computer generated/manipulated imagery.

    In keeping with "truth stranger than fiction" I wonder how others feel about the incredible social irony that 99 Cent II Diptychon (a representation of the interior of a '99-cent' store) and Untitled (Cowboy) (a photograph of a cigarette ad) are two of the highest selling photographic images at auction.

    I could not have come up with that!
     
  2. TSSPro

    TSSPro Member

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    I am familiar with the 99 cent image, and more recently familiar with the other, but I have always been partial to Stiechen's 'Pond Moonlight.' Also in the vein of most expensive and manipulated imagery, Gustave Le Gray's 'The Great Wave' is a manipulated multi-print. No adobe, but still in the pre-photoshop spirit. :-D

    And I agree, I would not have pegged those two for being in the top three if I didnt already know they were.
     
  3. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i guess everything is manipulated in one way or another ...
     
  4. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    I sorta like the "99 Cent" image, but I don't think I like it US$3.3M worth! (The cowboy series I don't get much out of at all---it seems like a one-trick pony to me. But obviously someone with a lot of money felt otherwise.)

    But fine-art auctions are a weird world anyway. It's not at all clear to me how much those prices are driven by aesthetic interest vs. intellectual interest vs. speculation vs. one-upmanship.

    -NT
     
  5. kossi008

    kossi008 Member

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    I firmly reject the idea that truth means lack of manipulation.

    I spend a lot of care (well, sometimes) to manipulate the image to reflect what I felt as true when spotting the subject. Admittedly I do most of the manipulation during exposure, and it's no fancy stuff either (focal length, choice of film, filters and so forth), but:

    to me it makes no difference at what stage and how much I manipulate an image. If it looks too artificial, I usually don't like it. But that might be just me...
     
  6. ic-racer

    ic-racer Member

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    To continue on the lines of what 'truth' in photography means to me; when I see an B&W image on a wall or magazine, I am unconsciously drawn toward it. As I view the image my interest level rises or falls depending on the content. If I sense content is fictitious, I totally lose interest (this is not something I can say I have control over). I can first like an image then I find I like it less if I find it was manipulated. For example I don't like some of Arthur Rothstein's work as much as when I first saw them. He is still high on my list of all-time favorites, but not as near the top.
     
  7. hec

    hec Member

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    I think that the most powerful manipulation in photography is CAMERA POSITION.
     
  8. kossi008

    kossi008 Member

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    There, I couldn't have said it better.

    There is *always* manipulation in photography. It's just a matter of taste how much is too much.
     
  9. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Of course, the copied cowboy pic (Richard Prince lifted Sam Abell's work) has been copied by someone else (Greg Allen copying Prince??) and has been offered for sale...

    http://www.20x200.com/art/2010/06/untitled-300-x-404.html

    Fools and their money... (frankly, I think the Marlboro cigarette company spent their money well with a great photographer, and probably got their money's worth.) Everyone else who buys these prints kinda make me scratch my head.:confused:

    And agreed... the photographers presence is a manipulation. It's a very subjective medium.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 12, 2010
  10. firecracker

    firecracker Member

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    That's totally subjective, and I respect your opinion. :smile:

    But in general, I don't really care if the photos look truthful to my eye or not, because I believe what communicates with the audience is something deeper than that.

    I mean, I like movies that are based on novels, and some novels are based on real stories, you know "true stories." And I really think sometimes instead of making a documentary, it is more effective to make a feature and have all the factual elements in it and let actors play the roles and create the story...
     
  11. Bateleur

    Bateleur Member

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    Perhaps the ultimate expression of manipulation is the use of the red filter and the resulting black sky, Ansel Adams' Monolith for instance. And I find that generally when printing a landscape image I add the sky by burning or using a different contrast filter. Mostly I'm pleased by the result but again this is subjective and not every one agrees on the result, particularly if the resulting sky is or approaches black.
     
  12. noumin

    noumin Guest


    I have a bit of a struggle : You talk of truth in photography, yet, in the same sentence
    you say your drawn towards b&w photography. How truthful can b&w photography possibly be, taking
    all the color away ? I'm not talking about accurate color rendition, but the lack of color per se.