At what point is photography not photography?

3 weeks 23 hours ago #713507 by Eliffman
I was just looking at what you can do with Skylums new Luminar software and it's amazing and scary at the same time.  Legit crappy shots can get transformed into stunning shots with a few clicks of the mouse button.  

Seems like this will change photography for ever.  But is this still photography when you change the sky, which changes all the foreground colors and overall tone of an image?


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3 weeks 23 hours ago #713508 by Nikon Shooter
… tricky question.

I make a distinction between photography and imagery, and an
other one between technique and artistic intent, and important
considerations between documentation, illustration and inspiration.

Coming from all the limitations of film, this is the point where it is
photography. Switching to digital will change the way pictures are
made but is the goal the same when the tools are others?

The actual and future profusions of approaches, techniques, and
tools will certainly bring new definitions to the art forms.

Light is free… capturing it is not!
This person is a posting maniac and deserves a #1 badge!Top Poster
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3 weeks 22 hours ago #713520 by Glen Mosley
At this point it's more digital art or composite photography.  


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3 weeks 20 hours ago #713528 by fmw
When you have composed an image, fired the shutter and captured the subject on your sensor, you have engaged in photography.  Anything else you do with the image is something else.  In the old days, the darkroom was a place where the image could be massaged into a final print.  I never viewed that as photography but rather image editing, creative though it might be.  Today, our darkroom is a computer and the editing software handles the massaging.  That too is image editing in exactly the same sense.  The resulting image is a combination of photography and the massaging of the image regardless of the method used.

Ansel Adams, the famous nature photographer did good photography.  It was his darkroom work, however, that made those images as impactful as they are.  He was a true genius in the darkroom.  I think the same thing holds true for digital imaging.  Whatever digital tools are available are good as long as they are used well.  Much less skill is involved than what we or Ansel Adams used to do in the darkroom.  For that reason digital editing tools are often used badly or just excessively.  Great images always have an interesting subject and that is the photography part.


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3 weeks 19 hours ago #713535 by Kelly Lambert
Photography is never going to be the same as it was 20 years ago.  To much technology and acceptance of this technology. 

Nikon D700: 50mm, 14-24mm, 85mm, 105mm 70-200mm, 150-500mm (Sigma), SB-900
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3 weeks 18 hours ago #713536 by John Landolfi

fmw wrote: When you have composed an image, fired the shutter and captured the subject on your sensor, you have engaged in photography.  Anything else you do with the image is something else.  In the old days, the darkroom was a place where the image could be massaged into a final print.  I never viewed that as photography but rather image editing, creative though it might be.  Today, our darkroom is a computer and the editing software handles the massaging.  That too is image editing in exactly the same sense.  The resulting image is a combination of photography and the massaging of the image regardless of the method used.

Ansel Adams, the famous nature photographer did good photography.  It was his darkroom work, however, that made those images as impactful as they are.  He was a true genius in the darkroom.  I think the same thing holds true for digital imaging.  Whatever digital tools are available are good as long as they are used well.  Much less skill is involved than what we or Ansel Adams used to do in the darkroom.  For that reason digital editing tools are often used badly or just excessively.  Great images always have an interesting subject and that is the photography part.


+1, well said


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3 weeks 17 hours ago #713537 by Kelly Lambert
Agree, just read  your post.  :agree:

Nikon D700: 50mm, 14-24mm, 85mm, 105mm 70-200mm, 150-500mm (Sigma), SB-900
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3 weeks 13 hours ago #713560 by db3348
My opinionated answer – pls excuse my pedanticness :

When  light is excluded from the digital processing routine –  if  light  is not used in the processing app. / tool / procedure / device …    to achieve  the processed result ,  then  it’s not photography .      
lf you’re not aware ,  look up (e.g, Wikipedia, dictionary) the original definition of photography ,  and  you  will see  the mention of the word “light”  as an essential ingredient in the formation of a photograph .                                                                         Apart from the backlight glaring off the screen of a computer or iPad or mobile cell phone device ,  how is light  being applied in using  a Photoshop (or any digital editing app for that matter) ,  procedure or tool ?                                                               A more suitable name  would be visual design ,  digital design , digital art .                                                                      
Was light  involved in your physical [digital) adjustment of those images ,  the physical application of a mouse or typing on the keypad ?  Probably not ,  so technically the digitally edited , processed results are not bona fide photographs ,   but merely digital transformations of the captured image .


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3 weeks 12 hours ago #713567 by TCav
Photography is the art and science of recording radiant energy.

The real question isn't "At what point is photography not photography?"

The real question is "At what point does a photograph stop being a photograph?"

The answer is: When the original photographic image is supplanted by the effects of post processing. That is, if all you're doing is altering the color and contrast, it's still a photograph. Once you start messing with content, it's not a photograph anymore.


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3 weeks 12 hours ago #713571 by John Landolfi

TCav wrote: Photography is the art and science of recording radiant energy.

The real question isn't "At what point is photography not photography?"

The real question is "At what point does a photograph stop being a photograph?"

The answer is: When the original photographic image is supplanted by the effects of post processing. That is, if all you're doing is altering the color and contrast, it's still a photograph. Once you start messing with content, it's not a photograph anymore.


A lot of arbitrariness in your definitions. Are you then saying that the tracks of subatomic particles in a cloud chamber are photographs? Or that the graphs of a calorimeter are? And why should altering color and contrast not constitute altering content? What do you mean by content? What do you mean by "original photographic image"? In a film camera, only what is on the negative qualifies? Because developing already changes things. In a digital image, is there such a thing as the "original"photograph, other than the raw file generated at shutter click? In which case, there is no original image, but only what the particular processing of the Raw file produces, which can hardly be called original.


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3 weeks 8 hours ago #713575 by TCav
Yes. No. By content, I mean the actual arrangement of the picture elements, so altering their color or contrast does not alter the content. The original photographic image is that projected by the lens and captured by the camera. What is on the film is a photograph, and what is on the print is a photograph of the photograph on the film, and therefore is a photograph. Digital photographs are the result of capturing radiant energy, and anything that happens after that remains a photograph as long as the content (the actual arrangement of the picture elements) isn't altered.


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2 weeks 6 days ago #713655 by John Landolfi
Again what you say seems arbitrary and inconsistent. If, as you say, a photograph is a recording of radiant energy, then the graph record of a calorimeter qualifies. Your definition of content is arbitrarily chosen to suit your thesis, because you give no reason why only the "arrangement" of "picture elements" constitutes content, nor why other components, such as color, do not qualify as element. .And it would seem that, by your definition, tracks in a cloud chamber are digital photographs, which dilutes the idea to the point of irrelevance


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2 weeks 6 days ago - 2 weeks 6 days ago #713656 by TCav
If I convert a photograph from a positive image to a negative image, it's still a photograph. Therefore, changing the color and/or contrast doesn't keep a photograph from remaining a photograph.

If I rearrange portions of the image in a photograph (with respect to one another), it stops being a photograph.

If I start with a Porsche 911 Carrera, remove the engine and install a small block Chevy V8, replace all the suspension components with I-beams, remove all the body panels and build a fiberglass shed on the underlying frame, at some point it has stopped being a Porsche, despite the logo on the steering wheel.

On the other hand, if I paint a Porsche 911 Carrera National School Bus Glossy Yellow, it's still a Porsche and not a school bus.


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2 weeks 5 days ago #713713 by John Landolfi
You decree these notions without any justification. An analogy has never been a proof. 


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2 weeks 5 days ago #713745 by TCav

John Landolfi wrote: An analogy has never been a proof. 


True, but it does serve to demonstrate how silly this discussion is becoming.


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