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DPChallenge Forums >> Photography Discussion >> Moment is lost through EDITING
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04/23/2003 03:35:17 PM · #1
Looking at alot of the entries, Editing takes away the natural quality and exterior of alot of the photographs i have seen, with exception to a little lightening or contrasting etc. "Capturing the moment" becomes tampered with and therefore is lost. . Does anyone agree? (or disagree).

04/23/2003 03:46:47 PM · #2
It would depend on the image i suppose...
04/23/2003 04:06:00 PM · #3
yes and no....

if you set out to purposely capture a moment then editing can improve it...

now if you are out and about and come across a moment (guy slips on a banana peal type thing), then editing will take away from the moment.... just my thoughts

James
04/23/2003 04:07:55 PM · #4
I guess to answer this question, you would have to define exactly what type of 'editing' you are talking about... If you are saying that only contrast/brightness adjustments can be used without ruining the 'moment' then I think you are entirely wrong...


04/23/2003 04:14:06 PM · #5
Gosh you must hate Adam's stuff then. He edited the heck out of his work as most major photographers have in the last 50+ years. Have you seen Fitzharris' works? He probably spends more time on his images in PS than he ever could have shooting them....

Like everything else the digital darkroom is part of the process. There are some who are good at it and enhance the image and there are others who go the other way.

So my answer is no I don't think editing loses moments. I think bad editing does...

Dave

Message edited by author 2003-04-23 16:15:31.
04/23/2003 04:23:46 PM · #6
Interesting question. I think editing a photo can help to visualise the moment you experienced. I even made the experience that without editing a photo can look very disappointing when you wanted to capture a certain moment. You see things differently with your eyes and other senses than your camera with it's lens.
04/23/2003 04:38:52 PM · #7
Interesting - is producing a "natural", out of the box so to speak, photograph more noble than if it is edited? Is there truth to photography? Is there goodness or badness in a photograph or simply differing points of view of the same subject?


You hit it on the head when you said, "with the exception to a little lightening or contrasting, etc". Well, that etc is the point. Where do you draw the line? A photograph is someone's creative interpretation of a subject. Just like we all see a mountain, flower, river identically (for the most part) our personalities do a lot of "development" internally to create the "mood" or "feeling". Some may fear a mountain or river based on their experience; while others may feel a sense of adventure and thrill. This is similar to the darkroom (digital or chemical): this is the place where the feeling or mood is created.

If your goal is to tell a non-interpretive story of that mountain, river or flower then I would say that any editing (including lighting and contrast, etc) would be a violation of the image. If, however, you want to convey an artistic or creative interpretation of an image then lighting, contrast, color adjustment, burning, dodging, development adjustment, exposure latitude, and a slew of other tools can be applied to achieve YOUR goals. If no editing was allowed the world of impressionist and abstract painting, photography, sculpture and fictional writing would be tossed aside.

Therefore, I say edit until YOU get your point accross. It's just like writing, if you do it well, it will be understood. The goodness or badness in an image is when you don't effectively communicate your message. I think it would be a very flat, uninteresting and unimaginative world if there weren't any editing allowed.

Great topic, by the way.

Message edited by author 2003-04-23 16:41:26.
04/23/2003 05:10:00 PM · #8
I guess Im not into the whole editing or "digital darkroom" thing like others are. To me editing can take too much away from an image. Sure they look real nice and pleasing, and editing can clean an image up a great deal, but then its not the same image you took.

to me a little brightness and contrast adjustment is fine, we are not all perfect photographers and sometimes lighting does not cooperate the way we want.

Its like pictures of models (male and female), in print they look very fine, in person they are not so pleasing to the eye....why??? the image has been modified way too much.

Just because I have a different out look on imaging does not mean Im wrong...just different.
these are just my personal preferences and the way I do things, and Im not asking anyone to feel the same as I do. I enjoy all the photos I see and want to keep seeing them.
04/23/2003 05:27:25 PM · #9
This is sort of along the lines of "is electronic music really music", or "do synthesisers belong in real music" or whatever of 20-30 years ago. It was a new tool, that did the same kinds of things some musicians had done for ages, but with new tools and techniques. Today we pretty much accept these tools as not only acceptable, but almost (ALMOST) essectial to music creation process. Not only that, they take the process of making music out of the hands of the elite, and make it available and accessible for "the masses". And now, you have a proliferation of tons of music. Not all of it, or even a lot of it, is great - but the true masters usually shine through.

The tools available to us now for images editing do the same thing. For ages, those of us without access to a darkroom, and all the expensive equipment therein, were essentially locked out of this phase of the creative process. That doesn't mean it didn't exist and that professionals didn't use it, we just had to make do with what we had, and depend on getting the image right in the camera. I had an early interest in photography, but never could get the knack of the development process, so I gave up on that side of things. Now, a whole new world is being opened up for me. So far, I'm sticking to pretty basic processing, and have pretty much ignored most of the filters, special effects, spot editing, etc., but as I learn, hopefully the quality of my finished product will get better, and digital processing will just become another part of the artistic process.

So, no, I don't think that digital processing in itself ruins a picture or "destroys the moment" in and of itself. As Davenit said, bad editing, just like bad technique when taking the picture, can ruin the shot. But then, that's the wonderful thing about digital processing: as long as you backed your original up, you can always go back and try again!
04/23/2003 06:09:50 PM · #10
Do I dare? Why not...

I don't think there's a single image out there (digital or film) that could not be improved in some way, shape, or form by a little post-processing. Be that color balance, saturation, contrast, burning, dodging, or spotting (removing hot pixels/dust spots), etc, etc, etc.

In a manner of speaking, I work at a private school -- and this school has a B&W photo department that could probably give 90% of the photo departments at universities across the US a run for their money. The seniors are currently working on their AP portfolios and boy are these kids good. In very simple terms: step one, selecting a printing time to get the highlights right using test strips and trial and error. Step two, picking the right filter in conjunction with speed matched paper to get the contrast right. Step three (slightly out of order), picking a developer and paper combination that gives them a warm tone (browns and reds) or a cold tone (blues and purples and straight B&W) look. Step four, pulling out their print and deciding on what areas to burn and dodge -- I daresay there isn't a single image that they produce that doesn't get at LEAST a little of one or the other, and probably has quite a bit of both. (I've seen some of the notes on their work -- quite the dodge/burn maps.) Step five, once they get a "final" print, it's time to sit down with some spotting pens and touch up their prints to remove the almost-impossible-to-avoid dust spots that are on almost every single darkroom print.

How do I think all this applies to the digital darkroom? If you can't see the correlation, then I fear my arguments will be lost on you anyway. Does it ruin the moment? I say no -- I think post-processing nearly always supports and enhances the moment.

If you want a test, find the negative for a photo that you took with a film camera and which you think is relatively perfect. Take it in to have it processed, but ask that you get a straight print -- no color adjustment or contrast or anything else. I'll be willing to bet, that what you get back has no relation to the original print you had made and thought perfect.

Ultimately, I think it comes down to the ability of the person doing the post-processing in relation to the taste of the person viewing the final image. Someone who's able to hide the post-processing well and make it look naturally a part of the image will please someone who does not like manipulated photos. On the other hand, a heavily and obviously manipulated photo may be thoroughly enjoyable to someone who doesn't mind the manipulation.

Eh -- off the soapbox....

Message edited by author 2003-04-23 18:10:39.
04/23/2003 06:43:25 PM · #11
Hmmm. I was going to respond to this but was about to go out. I come back to find Patella has responded just as I intended to!

Thanks Patella :D

<bounce>

I have used black and white darkrooms on and off since I was 13 - a few of us got permission to set one up in a disused kiln room at school and took an extra, untaught exam in photography - now I get access by signing up to evening classes at local colleges - this also gives me projects to complete which help me develop.

Anyway - I wanted to say the same thing - many of those old old images that you look at and probably admire wistfully, assuming that they are printed to be just as they were taken - were no doubt worked over in the darkroom by experienced photographers.

Most professionals in times gone by spent more time in the darkroom processing the negs (which can also be done in ways that affect the result) and printing the image than they did on capturing it.
04/23/2003 07:03:46 PM · #12
Define "Natural quality" :)

Most digital camera images from the camera doesn't "look" natural, if your natural definition is the same as mine, which is what FILM records :-) Most digicams look like "video camera" images, IMHO.

It's true that editing is done on older B&W photographs, but it's less accomplished with SLIDE films as once the exposure is taken you really can't dodge/burn without suffering some image quality issues (i.e. making a duplicate slide with the right contrast will reduce original quality). Is that what you mean?

As far as what I'd do -- I want the look of film. That's what I am after, and i can't get that from the camera by itself. If there is a camera that can simulate Velvia ISO 50 film, i'd sell my 10D and get it :) Most likely, to get Velvia-like "look", you'd have to adjust color balance, etc. after the RAW file is converted. What's good about digital is the ability to simulate whatever you want -- if you want it tlook like Velvia, crank up the red/greens/blues (differently for shadows/midtones and highlights and different level for each color) so that you get the warm yellow color that Velvia is famous for, and increase contrast a bit.

I think i'd be ecstatic when i can get in camera results that matches what the Velvia can produce in any situation, but until then, i'll have to do photoshop processing, which is actually pretty easy with some actions written.


Originally posted by kate_rio:

Looking at alot of the entries, Editing takes away the natural quality and exterior of alot of the photographs i have seen, with exception to a little lightening or contrasting etc. "Capturing the moment" becomes tampered with and therefore is lost. . Does anyone agree? (or disagree).
04/23/2003 07:52:38 PM · #13
Seems to me that some of you, jab and kate, may be confusing digital darkroom editing with manipulating images. The first seems necessary to bring out the 'real' image whereas manipulating is 'extra'. At times, i really like manipulated images (composites, overlaying several images, radically altering the background) but generally it is nice to know that the image represents fantasyland.

I'm not so keen on presenting as reality (whatever that is) something that has been heavily manipulated, such as the cover pictures of the supposedly gorgeous models (whose bodies have already been manipulated from top to toe by plastic surgery), as mentioned by jab.
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