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Thread: are photographs still photographs...

  1. #11

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    Re: are photographs still photographs...

    The old-timers said it best: - "Photo Illustration." When they would create heavily contrived or staged scenes followed by airbrushing and other altering techniques, they would proudly call the results, "Photo Illustration." It would be hard to find the definitive point in the continuum from untouched negative to heavily altered digital image, but at some point the result becomes a Photo Illustration, best understood by "feel" than by external metric.

  2. #12
    Claudio Santambrogio
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    Re: are photographs still photographs...

    Quote Originally Posted by willwilson View Post
    I would say on average for me personally: 30% Darkroom - 70% Camera. But with the darkroom there is a lower ceiling, with digital the ceiling is almost limitless.
    I see what you mean - personally, I prefer work done in camera, rather than in darkroom. But truth is that in the darkroom you can go at least as far as Photoshop - and photographers have done so. Photoshop is just the digital version of a darkroom. It's "easier" to use; as in - anybody can click those buttons…

  3. #13
    Claudio Santambrogio
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    Re: are photographs still photographs...

    Quote Originally Posted by PViapiano View Post
    most photographs in magazines are digitally enhanced, ie, in an issue of Vogue 144 images were digi-retouched, all by Pascal Dangin of Box Studios. Thirty celebrities keep him on retainer to retouch all photos reaching the media.
    This is nothing new, and retouching was standard practice in portrait photography. Until they invented lenses that made it easier to hide those blemishes on the skin…

  4. #14

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    Re: are photographs still photographs...

    I noticed this phenomenon as early as 5 years ago when friends who had sold out to the all digital path were beginning to get to their ultimate distination and were triumphantly showing me photographs that looked more like a Pixar animation than a photograph. Whether apparent at the time I have realized in the mean time that this phenomenon is precisely why I've gone down the 8X10 and larger soft focus path.

    Please note that I haven't said any "look" is either good or bad, only that I've chosen a road less traveled. Also noteworthy, theirs sells, mine does not. Not this month any way. Look down the road 25 years. Will we get to a day where someone picks up one of my photographs (I'll be dead of course) and gasps, this is real, look at the dirt in the corners. This was done in a wet darkroom. OK, probably not.
    He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep..to gain that which he cannot lose. Jim Elliot, 1949

  5. #15

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    Re: are photographs still photographs...

    Quote Originally Posted by csant View Post
    This is nothing new, and retouching was standard practice in portrait photography. Until they invented lenses that made it easier to hide those blemishes on the skin…
    Comparing mechanical retouching to the armentarium of digital tools available now is like comparing a pencil to a laser printer. It is no longer a good analogy.

  6. #16

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    Re: are photographs still photographs...

    My gosh, they're altering photographs? Why can't we just have real, honest photography, like William Mortenson and Jerry Uelsmann used to do...

    This is a current popular style, and it does catch the eye, until we see too much and become jaded, then we move on. I'm just wondering if it's too openly glitzy and commercial to catch on in the fine art galleries...
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

  7. #17

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    Re: are photographs still photographs...

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sawyer View Post
    I'm just wondering if it's too openly glitzy and commercial to catch on in the fine art galleries...
    You've made the false assumption that folk with coin who walk into galleries have some amount of taste / class...........
    He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep..to gain that which he cannot lose. Jim Elliot, 1949

  8. #18

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    Re: are photographs still photographs...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Galli View Post
    Will we get to a day where someone picks up one of my photographs (I'll be dead of course) and gasps, this is real, look at the dirt in the corners. This was done in a wet darkroom. OK, probably not.
    More likely, we'll get to the day when there's a pull-down menu on Photoshop CS9 where you can select whether the image from a 20-gig cell-phone cam should look like it was taken with an Artar, a Dagor, a Petzval, a Verito, a Struss, and Imagon, a Pinkham & Smith...

    For better or worse, we're getting there...
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

  9. #19
    Claudio Santambrogio
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    Re: are photographs still photographs...

    Quote Originally Posted by Toyon View Post
    Comparing mechanical retouching to the armentarium of digital tools available now is like comparing a pencil to a laser printer. It is no longer a good analogy.
    Why wouldn't it be? In the end, both produce some signs on some support material - and in this case we are still talking about a photograph in both cases. The digital darkroom offers many things the "real" darkroom couldn't offer - does it make it less of a production space for photographs?

    FWIW, I do agree with the stance Jim just expressed so nicely - personally I have chosen the way of film, of large format, of the darkroom, and now am even discovering soft focus. I don't care if this sells or not (at least not now…), I look for something that allows me to express what I have to say. And that something is definetly not where digital photography is.

  10. #20

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    Re: are photographs still photographs...

    Quote Originally Posted by cobalt View Post
    ...or, more specifically, do today's photographs look like photographs to you? I just got the latest Hasselblad Photographer newsletter in email today. I notice that all the potential "Hasselblad Masters" are represented by images that look... well.... more or less the same stylistically. Upon closer observation, perhaps it is not the style, but the fact that, to my eyes, all that digital medium format stuff looks more like high end illustration than photography. Please believe that I am not, by any means, trying to resurrect that age old debate that will remain nameless here, but it dawned on me that many, perhaps most, of today's high profile photography looks a lot like it was done by a master with an airbrush, rather than a photographer with a camera. This is not a criticism, rather and observation. Whether work can be done with MF digital is not the point here.

    I also noticed that the new H3DII-31 is available for about 13k....

    We live in interesting times.
    I think that what you are seeing is more a natural progression than a consequence of digital. After all, Hasselblad's been cultivating a certain "look" and showcasing photographers who get it long before they merged with Imacon and if you look at Hasselblad USA site, you can see for yourself in at least two places:

    1. User Showcase

    2. The Masters Archive

    My favorites are Steve McCurry (User Showcase) and Hans Strand (both links), both have been around long before digital and both are now shooting H3DII-39.

    Saying that Photoshop makes "the look" is like saying that pianos make the music. I don't see anything there that old-style photographers wouldn't have done in the darkroom if only they could. In that sense, I see Photoshop and digital processing in general as a liberation, not a diversion.

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