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  1. #1
    Mainecoonmaniac's Avatar
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    "Darkrooms are Irrelevant and The Truth Matters"

    http://www.petapixel.com/2013/02/20/...truth-matters/


    I was in my darkroom last weekend and I think it's relevant.
    "Photography, like surfing, is an infinite process, a constantly evolving exploration of life."
    Aaron Chang

  2. #2

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    I read the article and looked at the pictures with interest but I couldn't see any essential difference in any of them in terms of what they conveyed which I took to be tragedy . I wasn't at all clear what the author was getting at in terms of "illustration" and "transparency"

    Was he saying that one was the truthful representation and not the others? I am puzzled

    Anyone else puzzled and if not let me know what I am missing in my observations of the pictures

    pentaxuser

  3. #3
    blansky's Avatar
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    He's saying that photojournalism should not be tarted up. And that the first image obviously is and the second looks more like reality. The first like a movie poster and the second like reality, and in doing so, has changed the picture from a reality based news story to an almost reality story.

    I probably agree. We've have discussions of photojournalists fired for photo manipulation here on this site and most agree that it is wrong because news photographs should be manipulation free.

    This instance is obviously subtle but the author makes a good point because it looks "too good" and because of that not exactly real, and by then you've moved from "news" to "illustration".

    Time had that instance on their OJ Simpson cover that some people took to be racist as he was darkened and made to look evil. In doing so they were taking a point of view instead of reporting the news. But that was a while back and obviously standards have slipped considerably in the case of news having a point of view.
    I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.

  4. #4

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    I believe I shoot film because ultimately, I'm interested in straight photography - yet my output isn't consistently 'straight'. There is a conflict for me in wanting to be 'relevant' (to speak the modern language of photography), which I think generally means creating an altered truth from 'raw material', as opposed to the traditional philosophy of realisation of intentions at the shooting stage, in hindsight, as a means to maintain clear communciation and intention throughout the whole process. The end product with this standard traditional ethic seems to present to the viewer a sense of 'wholeness' or dare I say... integrity. I think this is the best model for photojournalism and one that they'd do well to remember perhaps? With the the modern language of photography, I feel the almost subliminal effect caused by the fascination with or indulgence in 'altered truths' can very easily become 'affected truths', causing mixed messages. Post-processing needs to be standardised for journalistic work for this reason, because the computer is where the photographer can very quickly forget his job description. The main reason being, quite simply, is because the computer is primarily a place for entertainment - those expensive padded chairs don't help. Only last is it a place we associate with work and that takes quite a strained conscious effort for some*, who'd rather be watching movie trailers on YouTube and making film posters in Photoshop.

    * For photographers I'd say especially because of our addiction to visual stimulation. The computer can be the most counter-intuitive place for us in that way.
    Photojournalists should be provided with an automated means to process their work or have someone else do it.
    Last edited by batwister; 02-20-2013 at 06:56 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    'Cows are very fond of being photographed, and, unlike architecture, don't move.' - Oscar Wilde

  5. #5
    blansky's Avatar
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    I don't see where this has anything to do with digital vs analog. It's about print enhancement in photojournalism.
    I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.

  6. #6
    ic-racer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mainecoonmaniac View Post
    http://www.petapixel.com/2013/02/20/...truth-matters/


    I was in my darkroom last weekend and I think it's relevant.
    That is an article about a digital image. You can't see a digital image, it is an abstract entity. You need to convert it somehow to an analog image to view. The text reads like the writer believes one can somehow see the 'original' digital image.

  7. #7
    MattKing's Avatar
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    I think the statement about darkrooms isn't saying that darkrooms are irrelevant, but rather that comparisons to darkroom manipulations are irrelevant in the world of photojournalism and digital shooting.

    I cannot disagree.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  8. #8
    polyglot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ic-racer View Post
    That is an article about a digital image. You can't see a digital image, it is an abstract entity. You need to convert it somehow to an analog image to view. The text reads like the writer believes one can somehow see the 'original' digital image.
    You'll note that he was calling for RAW images. For any modern DSLR, the sensors are extremely consistent and accurate in their representation of tone and hue so a straight process off the RAW file will give you the "original" and an extremely accurate representation of what was in front of the camera, with no room for human interpretation. The fact that the medium is bits instead of dyes is not relevant. It can be very well-calibrated and therefore represent a chosen slice of reality more accurately than we can perceive with our eyes.

    I do kind of agree with him but he's pissing in the wind. Framing and perspective alone are a huge matter of interpretation and story-telling and he clearly thinks that a PJ image should be judged primarily on those merits. However there's just as much opportunity to misrepresent with "truthiness" just by defining what is and is not in the image as submitted. Restricting toning for the purposes of values like honesty and veracity is pointless unless you're willing to restrict everything else and have the recording be a 360-degree continuous-video representation of where the camera-operator stood... or better yet an all-encompassing view using surveillance cameras in all directions. Anything less and you are at the photographer's whim as to what is truth and what doesn't exist.

    So I think toning is a pointless red herring as far as PJ "honesty" goes. You can lie with toning but it's hard; you can lie trivially with framing and composition. If you want to judge compositional and story-telling skill, you have to accept that as soon as there's a human controlling the perspective that it's story-telling and not a direct recording of reality. Once you accept that, who cares that he made it a bit less saturated? It means nothing.

  9. #9
    Willie Jan's Avatar
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    When i first had a look at the image, i saw a photoshop paint filter which allows the image to go towards a painting feel.
    A lot of photographers do that these days because it is popular and looks different.

    I think it's a question of time before everybody is bored about this kind of images.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by polyglot View Post
    You can lie with toning but it's hard; you can lie trivially with framing and composition.
    +1

    It is possible to name a never-ending list of selective journalism that greatly skewed the public perception of reality. It happens with every war, with every scandal, with every natural or man-made disaster. By not photographing some aspects of reality, or not writing about them, the journalist is already telling a half-truth. As we know, half-truths are sometimes more dangerous than lies. Because it is impossible or at the very least impractical to cover all of reality, one must conclude that basing your opinion on photojournalistic reportage is akin to fitting a continuous curve on a number of dots and interpolating between the dots to fill in the rest of reality. I see no reason to glorify photojournalism and to elevate it to a higher credibility than the rest of journalistic media. It is what it is: Selective and flawed, but without which the world would be poorer and man's quest for power and wealth would not be held accountable.

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