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DPChallenge Forums >> Photography Discussion >> Great article in Outside magazine.
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09/22/2009 12:54:20 PM · #1
This Photo Is Lying To You

It's nothing that hasn't been bantered about these forums in the past, but I thought it was an interesting read.

If you get a chance, check out the hardcopy of the article as it shows the before and after of some of the shots discussed.
09/22/2009 01:42:37 PM · #2
Good read. Thanks!
09/22/2009 02:25:07 PM · #3
Interesting read.

I think it boils down to ,when do you go from shooting a shot to making it a piece of flawless artwork in post processing. At teh end of the article he points out that people are getting fed up with these digitally enhanced shots. And want to go back to 'normal' photography.

My question to this is, once you have gone to the flawless, are people really going to accept less than perfect shots.
09/22/2009 02:30:24 PM · #4
I think "normal" means "realistic".
09/22/2009 05:35:31 PM · #5
Originally posted by JulietNN:


My question to this is, once you have gone to the flawless, are people really going to accept less than perfect shots.


<deleted a lot of my own opinion that would have this end in a rant.>

At DPC, rarely. Sometimes they rise to the top and surprise everyone. Most of the time, no.

found the article highly amusing...thanks for posting!
09/22/2009 06:58:57 PM · #6
There's a reason why the entertainment industry is such big business and that's because to the vast majority of people, real life is just plain boring. You need spice and artists provide that, often by revealing how beautiful real life really is. The purist has a similar mindset except their vision is too narrow and their thought process too linear but the goals are the same. I doubt we would even have a debate if there wasn't a coin to be made in photography.
09/22/2009 07:42:46 PM · #7
I'd say it's all about whom you're marketing the photo to. If it's for a news type magazine, it should be real. If you're presenting it as a work of art, then I'm all for faking it.
09/22/2009 07:48:12 PM · #8


We all know what our photos look like in RAW, then we edit them.

Do you think people want the RAW or do you think they want the polished image. How far into editing do we go before it is not real?

That is what I got from the artical

09/22/2009 08:35:57 PM · #9
Originally posted by JulietNN:

We all know what our photos look like in RAW, then we edit them.

Do you think people want the RAW or do you think they want the polished image. How far into editing do we go before it is not real?

That is what I got from the artical

I think you're missing the extreme end of what was mentioned. Things like multiple photo collages (i.e. - monster waves with the surfer). To me polished isn't that far from the original, just cleaned up a bit with levels, contrast, etc...
09/22/2009 08:46:38 PM · #10
I am sorry, that is what I meant when I was saying flawless art work, I was not clear, my bad.

"Laymen" would probably prefer the Photoshoped one versus a ' RAW,normal one. Photographers would say " it is not a photograph, it is art work"

09/22/2009 08:57:33 PM · #11
I notice nobody's professional ethics are outraged by what fashion photographers are doing. If you're going for straight photography let's see a push for straight photography on Vogue's cover too.
09/22/2009 09:00:32 PM · #12
Originally posted by JulietNN:

I am sorry, that is what I meant when I was saying flawless art work, I was not clear, my bad.

"Laymen" would probably prefer the Photoshoped one versus a ' RAW,normal one. Photographers would say " it is not a photograph, it is art work"

Just dig up some past threads on DPChallenge thoughts on 'Expert Editing' challenges. There are people in both camps, and I'd consider the majority on both sides to be 'Photographers'. It really comes down to personal taste I think. The debate among 'Photographers' has been ongoing for awhile (article mentions Galen Rowell for example and his warnings about 'Nature Photography' and viewers).

I think the biggest shift in this issue has been with the non-photographers, and the casual shooter. Access to digital and various manipulation tools have made photo editing/manipulation accessible to everyone and it's almost second nature for people to see a photo and wonder what's fake about it. Which is a sad state of affairs IMO.

As far as your original question; yes, I think people are going to accept them (manipulated photos) as the norm and always with some speculation to authenticity.
09/22/2009 09:10:05 PM · #13
Glad you guys found it thought provoking! lol I had a 20 minute conversation with my non photographer girlfriend about it last night. If you think about it, we are constantly altering reality without even touching photoshop. Long exposures, filters, etc. When I started I didn't know anything about editing. Now that I've learned a tiny little bit, it's hard not to use the tools even though I know for a fact the photo looks better than the reality. Once you've tasted the fruit it's hard to go back! ;-)

What I really found interesting is that some of the images they reference were always "billed" as artwork and not straight photographs. But as they get spread around, those not in the know assume that they are real, and they aren't. The wave composite as a perfect example. The photographers goal was to create an image of what he thought surfing would feel like emotionally, not what it looked like realistically. I say mission accomplished. Is there anything wrong with that? I don't think so. But I get the point that when something is created that looks so amazing, a real shot appears less so.

No right answer I suppose, I just liked that it made me think a lil bit!

09/22/2009 09:43:01 PM · #14
Originally posted by Jaker:

But I get the point that when something is created that looks so amazing, a real shot appears less so.


I think that's true but only for the photographs that, lack for a better word, were just average to begin with. Take this image for example:

' . substr('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/0-999/23/120/Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_3114.jpg', strrpos('//images.dpchallenge.com/images_challenge/0-999/23/120/Copyrighted_Image_Reuse_Prohibited_3114.jpg', '/') + 1) . '

Not average in the least. It was one of the first photos I marked as a favorite when I registered. If I registered today I would still mark it as a favorite as the value hasn't changed. That's the thing with great photos. They stand the test of time regardless of what is competing against it.

Message edited by author 2009-09-22 21:46:01.
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