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  1. #111
    Ken Nadvornick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maris View Post
    I always feel uneasy when offered pictures where one medium is exquisitely contrived to resemble another. Unwelcome words like counterfeit and forgery come to mind. Most people, I guess, don't see it that way. Forgive me but I have a (possibly unique) personal anxiety about engaging in an art where success is equated with successful deception.
    The act of deception generally requires malice aforethought, I think. Deception without realizing or intending it is merely accidental. And in all the debates I've had with 'blanksy' I've never known him to hint that his intention was true deception. Rather, he simply wishes to make the best quality print for his customers that he can, within the business constraints he must labor under.

    If one wants the best print possible, my feeling is one chooses true (chemical) photography. If constraints preclude that, one does the next best thing possible within those those constraints. That's digital imaging. And if one wishes to then make the best digital print possible, one aims for photographic quality as the desired baseline.

    There is nothing deceptive about that progression. Unless one intentionally tries to pass off a digital print as a chemical print. And to the best of my knowledge 'blanksy' doesn't do that. Instead, he generously gives us the boundary threshold at which the perception of similar quality begins to break down. Namely, less than 4-feet and/or not under glass.

    If he were trying to deceive, those would be the last data points he would share with us, not the first ones.

    Ken
    "When making a portrait, my approach is quite the same as when I am portraying a rock. I do not wish to impose my personality upon the sitter, but, keeping myself open to receive reactions from his own special ego, record this with nothing added: except of course when I am working professionally, when money enters in,—then for a price, I become a liar..."

    — Edward Weston, Daybooks, Vol. II, February 2, 1932

  2. #112
    Ken Nadvornick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ntenny View Post
    I hope you don't mind my jumping in...
    Absolutely not...



    When it comes to primary definitions, I throw out all of the considerations other than the physical laws of nature. Interpretations dealing with whether or not the meaning of a photograph was real, deceptive, incorrect, misleading or inaccurate are human-generated baggage borne of each individual viewer's past history and agenda.

    For me, the defining characteristic is that the subject was rendered and preserved on the medium in situ (thanks, Maris) in real-time by the light reflected from that subject. And the medium, in order for that to happen, must have been in direct line-of-sight proximity to that subject at the instant the rendering was realized.

    Thus the two are inexorably linked forever. The moment came and went, and will never repeat in exactly the same way. And the medium, having faithfully recorded that unique moment, can never be exactly duplicated because that now-past moment can never be originally repeated. And thus is born that first-generational state of provenance.

    Now, 'blansky' once challenged me with the Weegee example. Weegee was well known for "rearranging the bodies" before his tabloid photos were exposed. Didn't this alter the reality of the scene on the resulting negative? No, I responded, because the resulting negatives were accurate first-generational renderings of those rearranged bodies. The deception, intended or not, was the photographer's, not the camera's.

    To the extent that I trust the LOC, I too am comfortable accepting that linked scan as a representation of the glass plate it depicts. But I do so in recognition of the fact that I am also aware it does not—and cannot—absolutely prove that representation. The acceptance of the scan is a matter of convenience, not a matter of provenance.

    I mean, if I were bidding to buy that plate I might up my bid based on what I saw in that scan. But I would never sign the final check until I had seen the physical plate in person and held it in my own hands.

    Ken
    Last edited by Ken Nadvornick; 08-23-2013 at 12:21 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    "When making a portrait, my approach is quite the same as when I am portraying a rock. I do not wish to impose my personality upon the sitter, but, keeping myself open to receive reactions from his own special ego, record this with nothing added: except of course when I am working professionally, when money enters in,—then for a price, I become a liar..."

    — Edward Weston, Daybooks, Vol. II, February 2, 1932

  3. #113
    blansky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Nadvornick View Post

    There is nothing deceptive about that progression. Unless one intentionally tries to pass off a digital print as a chemical print. And to the best of my knowledge 'blanksy' doesn't do that. Instead, he generously gives us the boundary threshold at which the perception of similar quality begins to break down. Namely, less than 4-feet and/or not under glass.

    If he were trying to deceive, those would be the last data points he would share with us, not the first ones.

    Ken
    Thanks for the printing offer.

    Firstly I don't consider a digital print second class. Not in any way.

    Secondly the "under glass and 4 feet away" reference was to the way portraits of the 20x24 size are viewed. "Sniffing the print", is the humorous term often given to photographer types that when seeing a print have the need to look at it from 4 inches away while everyone else is looking at content from a proper viewing distance.

    I don't think any people and very few photographers can tell the difference in a good digital print and a good analog print holding it in their hand. I've seen many times top pros that were fooled by some of the best photographers demo on what digital is capable of and in the "blind taste test" they very often got some wrong.

    As for the deception aspect, well that's too far out to even mess with. As I alluded to previously, there is no such thing as THE analog print or look. And there is no such thing as THE digital print or look. And when most photographers migrated over from analog to digital we already had a style or look or a way we like the print to look and we merely duplicated that look.

    Granted digital is far more of a chameleon in terms or what you can do and I guess that bothers some people but calling that deception is pretty silly.
    I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.

  4. #114

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    The best "deceptions" I've seen are digital images printed on silver gelatin paper which is then processed in a traditional wet darkroom. One thereby has the look and feel of a traditional print. But is it missing the provenance of the original subject due to the nature of the initial capture? I personally would say so, but there is no visual clue to that deception.
    Last edited by doughowk; 08-23-2013 at 01:12 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    van Huyck Photo
    "Progress is only a direction, and it's often the wrong direction"

  5. #115
    blansky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by doughowk View Post
    The best "deceptions" I've seen are digital images printed on silver gelatin paper which is then processed in a traditional wet darkroom. One thereby has the look and feel of a traditional print. But is it missing the provenance of the original subject due to the nature of the initial capture? I personally would say so.
    Interesting point.

    Would you say analog capture, scanning and digital printing is deceptive or other hybrid types are.

    Just asking because I don't have a dog in this fight since my area of photography there is no concept of deception, being that it is entirely print oriented, and how it got there is of little/no interest to the customer.
    I couldn't think of anything witty to say so I left this blank.

  6. #116
    kb3lms's Avatar
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    No, the reason they are breathtaking is that while looking at them we suddenly come to realize that those fragile plates in our hands were, at the moment those four souls finally hung, physically present inside of Mr. Gardner's wet-plate camera, situated on the second floor of that building overlooking the gallows, only about twenty yards from the doomed prisoners, on that long ago March afternoon. And now we are holding those exact same glass plates in our hands 148 years later thus affirming, via these singular first generation objects, that those events did, in fact, really take place.
    Very, very well said, Ken. My feelings exactly. I use the lunar landing negatives as my example but it is exactly the same.
    Last edited by kb3lms; 08-23-2013 at 01:15 PM. Click to view previous post history. Reason: Added an extra thought.
    All this has happened before, and all this will happen again.

  7. #117

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Cole View Post
    An awfulmatic, as I call them, isn't even driving. At best it's "causing a four wheeled conveyance almost but not quite completely like a car to roll around."

    Seriously, it depends on why you drive. If you enjoy the driving, as I do, you'll probably like the stick, as I do. I've owned over a dozen cars (I think the total is about 14, I'd have to think about it) over the years of which only two were autos, both of which were kept less than six months, one for only about two WEEKS. If you drive only to get from one place to another as quickly and easily as possible you will probably like the automatic transmission.
    Indeed - I've been driving stick shift ever since I started making enough money to buy the car I want instead settling for a used one I could afford. Unfortunately, finding new manual transmission cars these days has become very difficult. After the recession when car manufacturers took such a big hit, most of them stopped producing manual transmission cars - they simply didn't sell well enough. Instead they now produce these idiotic "semi-automatic" cars where you shift, but don't have a clutch. What they fail to realize is that having a manual transmission isn't about the shifting, it's about having the clutch and the whole different way you control your car using it.
    Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery;None but ourselves can free our minds. - Bob Marley

  8. #118

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    Quote Originally Posted by doughowk View Post
    The best "deceptions" I've seen are digital images printed on silver gelatin paper which is then processed in a traditional wet darkroom. One thereby has the look and feel of a traditional print. But is it missing the provenance of the original subject due to the nature of the initial capture? I personally would say so.
    It seems sort of analogous to "lightjet" RA-4 printing, where the scanned stage functions as a kind of digital internegative. The hybrid practice of scan/enlarge/print to transparency/contact print, which a lot of people use as a way to get small-format images usable for contact-only alt processes, is another form of the same beast.

    They're all technically off-topic for APUG, of course, but whether the Curse of the Hidden Pixel breaks "provenance" depends on what concept of provenance you subscribe to. In Ken's model it seems like one would say yes (broken chain of custody), in the accumulative model one would say no by definition (because provenance can't really be broken, it can only be added to). I don't really think one alternative is right and the other wrong---they both mean *something* valid.

    -NT
    Nathan Tenny
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    The lady of the house has to be a pretty swell sort of person to put up with the annoyance of a photographer.
    -The Little Technical Library, _Developing, Printing, And Enlarging_

  9. #119

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    in the accumulative model one would say no by definition (because provenance can't really be broken, it can only be added to).
    All conversions include the loss of data information. This is true whether its making the initial conversion from an analog electrical current in the sensor to digital, or within digital from one file type to another. The final loss is when converting the digital representation into a physical object. To my way of thinking, provenance is part of that data info loss.
    van Huyck Photo
    "Progress is only a direction, and it's often the wrong direction"

  10. #120
    Chris Lange's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by doughowk View Post
    All conversions include the loss of data information. This is true whether its making the initial conversion from an analog electrical current in the sensor to digital, or within digital from one file type to another. The final loss is when converting the digital representation into a physical object. To my way of thinking, provenance is part of that data info loss.
    This is also true of optical aberrations and and processing degradation in an exclusively wet process.

    I love film, but I've seen both inkjet prints from digital originals as well as scanned film (the same goes for Lambda/Lightjet prints) that, on a purely visual technical level rival, or exceed the "best" darkroom prints I've seen (I think Steichen's platinums serve as a good example for the baseline I'm using here). However, this is only the case when the digital originals have been made with that sort of output in mind (full frame or larger (MF) sensor, good lenses, and exacting handling of the digital file as far as post-processing. I would also like to remind those of you that think otherwise that no 35mm negative will, at this point in the technological cycle, ever rival, or even come close to equalling a photograph made with an 80mp Leaf AFi-II back. Hell, neither will 645, but that's another can of worms.

    But I prefer Daido Moriyama's work to Ansel Adams, so what the fuck do I know about "good" printing...

    As I've said in the "Loss of Fine Art Photo Traditions" thread, anyone that doesn't accept the fact that digital techniques are indeed fully capable of exceeding the -technical- abilities offered by normal film (aka, not weirdos that use a 16x20" view camera and claim that they have 3 gigapixel images or what the hell ever...show me a situation where you can use that to make a photograph where you don't have 10 minutes to unpack your camera) is a luddite that refuses to grow up. As I also iterated in the same thread, anyone that disparages film because of its perceived lack of technical perfection, is as much of a dumbass as the film guy that says a cibachrome is the only kind of color print worth making.

    Because, you know, the supplies are so readily available and made frequently, right?

    Bringing it all around, Ken Rockwell's site is a waste of time for anyone that can actually use a camera. He massages the collective crotches of the internet "photo-enthusiast" community while in reality being just another talking head himself...

    I'm sorry but, he is a terrible photographer, his obsession with Velvia is nigh on nausea-inducing, and I have no problem saying that the -only- beneficial thing he has done as an internet personality is convey the idea that film is worth using, sometimes, if you're a "real photographer" (Sorry Pinocchio...)

    His sensationalistic attitude and pseudo-cocky/experienced tone are annoying at best, and we would all be a lot better off if for every click someone gives his site, they were to open a book by Walker Evans, or Penn, or for that matter, anyone who has ever actually pushed the medium forward, instead of whining about farting and what Canon's best DSLR ever made is.

    To top it all off, his sense of visual geometry is pretty mediocre, too...which is ironic because that's all he ever seems to brag about when it comes to composition.

    You can learn far more about color from looking at good painters than a hack like him.
    See my work at my website CHRISTOPHER LANGE PHOTOGRAPHY

    or my snaps at my blog MINIMUM DENSITY
    --
    If you don't have it, then you don't have it.



 

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