You know what bothers me?

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by Big, Sep 26, 2009.

  1. Big

    Big TPF Noob!

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    You know what bothers me? No this has nothing to do with TPF as some others have complained on here before... I find it very frustrating knowing that most of the pictures that are good are mostly done with editing. I could be wrong but I am looking at some shots from the weekly email I receive from DPS and it's obvious that there is editing. It seems like the only way to get a good shot today is by editing it. It's a buzz kill to think that the majority of the shots I take will only look good after being run through in photoshop with a fine tooth comb. I'm not saying I don't like editing but some pictures I've seen look like a cartoon cause the colors are so boosted or whatever. It doesn't seem like there are many true photographers anymore. Think of the people who shoot film. They had no editing programs years ago. They perfected the shot in the camera and thought more about pushing the shutter button. It's just something that I have been bothered by lately.
     
  2. Buckster

    Buckster Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Their editing program was called a dark room, and they did pretty much everything we still do today. In fact, they invented pretty much everything we do today.
     
  3. Dagwood56

    Dagwood56 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Yes, but most labs didn't do all the little tweaks to photos that get done today. The average hobbiest, dropped their film at a lab and the lab developed and printed it and when the hobbiest got it back, they had their images, end of story. They were either good or they were bad. People didn't get to sit and pick apart every little aspect of their image on the computer screen and enhance this, and tweak that and over saturate something else. The little tweaks and such that were done in the darkroom years ago were done only by\for the pros or by those hobbiests who developed their own film.
     
  4. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

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    At the pro level not only was there post processing in the lab (darkroom), there was pre-processing before the shutter was released.

    Pre-processing took the form of film selection and lens filtering.

    My Kodak Professional Photoguide (fifth edition) lists 18 color films for print, 21 films for slides and transparancies, 18 films for continuous-tone, high-contrast and special purposes, and 8 films they called Laboratory films.

    Add to all that the different chemical processes and timing sequences for developing the various negatives and chromes, a wide range of paper choices that could have a big influence on contrast and color rendition and all the filters used to control contrast pre-process, a range of flash bulbs could be selected...........

    Ansel Adams was more a master of the darkroom, than he was a master of the camera. For many of his images there are several different versions of print that reflect his experimentation at differnt times with darkroom technique and chemicals.

    At least at the advanced amateur and pro level the notion they perfected the shot in the camera is a romantic ideal of how it really happened.
     
  5. Buckster

    Buckster Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Doesn't change the fact that "back in the day", as now, "most of the pictures that are good are mostly done with editing". Most of the "good ones", like the stuff we saw in magazines and advertisements, came from the pros and hobbyists who were editing.

    Adobe didn't invent unsharp mask ya know. ;)

    And to KmH's point - yeah, I've still got a bunch of filters and masks and modifiers from back in the day when I had to get as much at the time of the shutter as possible. I don't see why it should be so wrong that instead of putting a graduated sunset filter on my lens, now I do it in Photoshop.

    I agree that this whole notion of how photography "back in the day" produced some kind of untouched, unspoiled, unedited perfection of reality straight out of the camera is a romanticized ideal that has little resemblance to actual reality and history.

    Maybe I shouldn't have read Ansel's books and those like it from other photographers from "back in the day" regarding how to deal with the camera, the negative and the print. Then I could buy into that dreamy, romanticized version as well, and I'm pretty sure life would be better. :hugs:
     
  6. LokiZ

    LokiZ TPF Noob!

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    I tend to not link a good shot by what it looks like after post processing. I shoot raw so I tend to judge my captures from how they come out as a raw image. The better the shot is in raw the more potential it has for me no matter which direction I take with it.

    Seems to me it's like the potter and his clay. You don't just say, "well, the clay is good, there we go a masterpiece!" Someone has to develop it whether it is you or someone else. Who do you think develops an image if you do not post process when using a digital camera? Why the camera does of course. I myself do not think that the best move, but to each his own I suppose.
     
  7. Randall Ellis

    Randall Ellis TPF Noob!

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    I still work in the darkroom, and I can say that I don't put anywhere near that much work into my prints in there as people seem to do with their digital images these days. That said, I think that the essence of the issue at hand in this thread is not (thankfully) another generic approach to the tired arguments of film v. digital, but rather how much processing goes into an image these days, and why.

    Marshal McLuhan once stated that "the medium is the message", and I think that that is part of what is being discussed here. While these effects were indeed first done in the darkroom - we can look at the work of people like William Mortensen (who was a Master craftsman when it comes to editing in the darkroom as well as editing negatives) and see that. Rather it is the level of manipulation that is the issue. Software makes it far, far easier and faster to do this now than it was before (Mortensen would sometimes work for weeks on a single negative). This is part of the medium and therefore often becomes part of, or in many cases all of, the message, but is that necessarily a good thing? Can we not make powerful and/or meaningful images with this new technology without the need for that level of post-processing?

    I think that it certainly can be (and already is by some), but the ubiquity of this new technology and the ease of its use has altered the message in much of what is being created with it. Is it an improvement when the technique overrides the subject, and often the message as well, sometimes to the point of entirely supplanting the message with the technique? The point of many images seems to be no more than 'look what I can do!' rather than being an attempt to send a more complex message to the viewer. Even Mortensen, who I am an unashamed fan of, used the techniques he used to very heavily manipulate his prints to further their message, not replace it.

    I could be completely off base here, but this is, I think, something that should be discussed rather than clumped immediately into a film v. digital category, for it is more complex than that...

    - Randy
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2009
  8. Buckster

    Buckster Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    A very thoughtful and relevant post Randy. Makes one wonder what the darkroom magicians of yesteryear would have done with Photoshop to simplify and expand their workflow...?
     
  9. epp_b

    epp_b No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Post-processing is half of what makes a good photo. Don't fall into the rockwellian myth that "pros get it right in the camera". It's baloney. I have only one photo in recent memory (as in, within the last several months) where the only adjustment I made was a 10% increase in contrast.

    ORLY?

    Post-processing has been around for as long as photography itself has. Instead of changing the water temperature and the development chemicals, we adjust the the gamma and tone balance.

    This is one reason I don't often shoot film: I can't afford a darkroom, chemicals and the tons of other equipment and materials required to do the same sort of processing techniques that are a lot cheaper to do with a computer and software.
     
  10. Garbz

    Garbz No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    That depends entirely on the lab and a level of service. Hobbiest is also not what I assume a "real photographer" is in the terms of the OP's post. At the very least this photographer would drop his prints off at a prolab (of which there are plenty around). I once dropped a roll of Kodak HIE off at a lab, and asked me if I wanted to come in and guide them on any developing I wanted done.

    Also even mom and pop labs quite typically please the consumer by cranking the brightness and the contrast of the picture. The only difference is it's all computerised these days, and the adjustments are all done on the way to the printer rather than at the printer.

    Go to the library and get a book called "The Darkroom Handbook by Michael Langford" Don't need to hire it, just look through it. You'll be amazed to find that some of the most detailed and advanced editing you will see in photoshop was done in the darkroom too.

    Unsharp mask, dodge, burn, all dark room terms. The blended soft overlay effect used a lot by wedding photographers was the result of duplicating the slides, one out of focus, layering them and then exposing a photo through both slides at once. That LOMO effect that is popular now with the washed out blues and magentas and low contrast, that's nothing more than using C41 chemicals in an E10 film process.

    It was the real photographers like Ansel Adams who spent days in the darkroom working on a single picture, probably more so than you do now in photoshop. The only thing that has changed is that there are many more mediocre photographers with cheap digicams now. The best work still comes out of a carefully planned, and edited image.
     
  11. Dao

    Dao No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I just started my photography hobby last year. So I do not know too much about film. However, I went to a studio in the past with my wife and took some photos there. I do not know what kind of camera they use at that time. I believe it is a medium format now. (And he used film as I saw him put a film in and took it out)

    Anyway, the studio ask me do I want some of the photos looked a little bit different and showed me some samples. And I do like them so I say yes. And now, I know those are "Cross-processing". And that was before the session.

    After I went through the whole session, and I came back a week or 2 later to see the sample. At that time, we selected the one we want (part of the package that we can select certain number of photos out of the whole stack without paying extra). Once we decided which one we want and which one we want it as poster size, 8x11s 5x7s then we were told we need to wait for few weeks to a month.

    I ask the staff why and she told me that the photographer need to Post processes the photos that we want. He would not just gave us the print with process them first.

    So based on that experience, I know film photographer do a lot of PP as well. But I will say it is so much easier with digital now.

    By the way, I remembered one technique the photographer used was, we stood in front of a screen (forgot what color the screen is). And I saw the photographer picked a slide from the stack and put it inside a device (maybe right below the camera). Then he took a shot and replaced it with a different slide and took another shot again.

    When I came back to see the sample, I saw the result is pretty neat. It seemed that the equipment projected a image on the screen and took the photo. So we were standing in front of some high tech buildings, a bed of rose and ... very interesting. I do not know what that called.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2009
  12. Big

    Big TPF Noob!

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    Ok, maybe I slipped, mostly because I know crap about film but it just made sense since no one had computers 30 years ago like we do now. I just got frustrated that's all. It's like taking a completely crappy singer and running their voice through a vocalizer or whatever they use and make them sound like a pro...
     

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