Does anyone do "as shot" photos any more?

pez

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I just finished reading a Photography magazine I picked up at the airport. Gorgeous photos of landscapes, people, flowers etc. Yet, as I read the discussions of the photo I found the Aurora was enhanced to appear larger, the mountain was moved to balance the scene, the shadow effect was added to make the flower petal close ups "pop"?

It made me wonder if anyone posts picture as they were shot.

I am not talking about the age old exposer, contrast, color balance and filtering methods that have been around since the days of black and white film to capture and image closer what the eye sees. But rather the creation of an image, based on a real object, but only existing in the camera pixels, never to be seen in real life.

There is absolutely no doubt that these photos were fine pieces of art that the maker can be justly proud of. But it made me wonder, "Is there any interest in photos that depict what the eye sees?'

I use a digital camera now. How do I get an "as they were shot" photo?

Thirty years ago I used to shoot color transparency film and that was pretty much the photo as it was shot.

Thirty years ago I used to also shoot negative film and I never took my negatives and framed them. So what was "as they were shot" when I used negative film? I took the negative film into the darkroom and made a print. You say you're "not talking about the age old exposure, contrast, color balance and filtering methods that have been around since the days of black and white film to capture an image closer what the eye sees." I always used those darkroom methods to get an image that was better than what the eye sees. Nobody told me I was supposed to be trying to get closer to what the eye sees -- I must have missed that lecture.

Were the slides "as shot" but the prints from negatives weren't? And how do I get an "as they were shot" photo from a digital camera?

Joe

Exactly right!
 
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Grandpa Ron

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Yserex, yup you sort of nailed it, what does not show, does not count in todays photography. When you see the perfect photo, you have to ask if the person was extremely luck or were they compelled to improve on what nature gave them?

Which is why I asked my original question, "Does anyone do "as shot" photos anymore"

There is nothing wrong with trying to show the photo the way you think it ought to be and modern technology makes that easier. However, when it begins to look like a model train set or museum diorama I begin to get suspicious.

My personal preference is to frame the shot as best I can and shoot it. I have no issue with weeds growing where weeds grow, cloud forming where they form or bird landing where they land. I like it when the object appears front a center, that is a definite plus but appearing within its natural elements is not necessarily a minus. Unless the elements obscure the object.

Gosh, after four pages of response to a simple question, we can assume folks are not hesitant to express their photographic preferences.

May your photos be many.
 

Fred von den Berg

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I think it depends whether the photographer wishes to add their own ideas or simply to document the scene. Should the image be poetic or prosaic?
 

Ysarex

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Yserex, yup you sort of nailed it, what does not show, does not count in todays photography. When you see the perfect photo, you have to ask if the person was extremely luck or were they compelled to improve on what nature gave them?

Which is why I asked my original question, "Does anyone do "as shot" photos anymore"

There is nothing wrong with trying to show the photo the way you think it ought to be and modern technology makes that easier. However, when it begins to look like a model train set or museum diorama I begin to get suspicious.

My personal preference is to frame the shot as best I can and shoot it. I have no issue with weeds growing where weeds grow, cloud forming where they form or bird landing where they land. I like it when the object appears front a center, that is a definite plus but appearing within its natural elements is not necessarily a minus. Unless the elements obscure the object.

Gosh, after four pages of response to a simple question, we can assume folks are not hesitant to express their photographic preferences.

May your photos be many.

Your suspicion leaves me suspicious. You say there's nothing wrong with trying to show the photo the way you think it ought to be but you follow that with a "However" and get suspicious. People mostly use the word suspicious when they think something is amiss. Earlier in the thread you said; "From the artistic stand point this is a good thing, we can eliminate the clutter and enhance the subject." But again you immediately follow with a qualification; "Still, in our effort to improved on an image have we, like the painter, have we created an entirely new an non-existent scene?" You leave the question unanswered but say it used to be called "trick photography."

Your second sentence above fleshes out more your suspicion. "When you see the perfect photo, you have to ask if the person was extremely lucky or were they compelled to improve on what nature gave them." I'm putting it together and reading it all as when you see a photo that's too good you suspect trick photography and regardless of your protestations otherwise you don't approve. That perfect photo you note in the 2nd sentence above required "extreme luck" -- yeah right -- probably trick photography.

There's nothing in the three photos I posted above that should raise your suspicion. They're not that good are they? Does it bother you to know that they're all to a degree manufactured? I think it does. If you had encountered them in a different setting and later discovered that they weren't entirely "real" you'd disapprove of being tricked. I suspect you're expressing some disapproval of "trick photography."

The Issaquena is a pretty boat. I encountered her on the Mississippi. She was headed down river and I was headed up. I snapped the photo when I was off her port bow. In the photo above you see that it's taken off her starboard bow. The photo composition just works better if the boat is moving left to right in the frame. Of course you can still read Issaquena on the side of the boat.

The old shed door just didn't have the same feel with a newer bright metal clasp and shinny Master padlock attached. I removed them and while I was at it some of that euonymous growing up side of the shed. Oh, and I also flipped the image left/right as it works better with the light fixture on the right side.

The tree in the park -- I saw musical notes in the foreground leaves that are in focus. But I had to move them around to get the tune I wanted. That actually took some work.

Joe
 

limr

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So here's a question: where is the line between acceptable modifications and too much?

This line is different for everyone, of course, and it seems that many people in this thread are essentially saying the same thing, but it's just that their lines may be in different places.

For me, when the image has been changed to the point that it is completely unrecognizable to the original scene that was first photographed, that image is now in the realm of graphic art rather than "pure" photography." It's a hard line to define - similar to Justice Potter Stewart's definition of pornography - but the line exists for me. Do I care if other people engage in that level of editing and alteration? Not one iota. Will I modify my own work to that extent? No chance.

*shrug* To each their own.
 

Ysarex

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So here's a question: where is the line between acceptable modifications and too much?

This line is different for everyone, of course, and it seems that many people in this thread are essentially saying the same thing, but it's just that their lines may be in different places.

For me, when the image has been changed to the point that it is completely unrecognizable to the original scene that was first photographed, that image is now in the realm of graphic art rather than "pure" photography." It's a hard line to define - similar to Justice Potter Stewart's definition of pornography - but the line exists for me. Do I care if other people engage in that level of editing and alteration? Not one iota. Will I modify my own work to that extent? No chance.

*shrug* To each their own.

To draw that line we probably have to start with a definition of "pure photography." "Pure" is one of those superlative words; doesn't leave much room to wiggle. How about an image created using a lens for starters? Does the image have to be exclusively created by a lens? The fun can start right there. I've never done anything so extreme to an image with Photoshop as what a wedding photographer can do with a matte box and filters in front of a lens.

Joe
 

pez

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Lines? We don't need no stinkin' lines!
 

limr

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So here's a question: where is the line between acceptable modifications and too much?

This line is different for everyone, of course, and it seems that many people in this thread are essentially saying the same thing, but it's just that their lines may be in different places.

For me, when the image has been changed to the point that it is completely unrecognizable to the original scene that was first photographed, that image is now in the realm of graphic art rather than "pure" photography." It's a hard line to define - similar to Justice Potter Stewart's definition of pornography - but the line exists for me. Do I care if other people engage in that level of editing and alteration? Not one iota. Will I modify my own work to that extent? No chance.

*shrug* To each their own.

To draw that line we probably have to start with a definition of "pure photography." "Pure" is one of those superlative words; doesn't leave much room to wiggle. How about an image created using a lens for starters? Does the image have to be exclusively created by a lens? The fun can start right there. I've never done anything so extreme to an image with Photoshop as what a wedding photographer can do with a matte box and filters in front of a lens.

Joe

Which is why I put the word in quotation marks.

Yes, drawing lines involves definitions. However, I don't believe that for fuctional purposes, there is any urgency in delving so deeply into definitions. If I see an image that feels "too much" to me, do I really need to back it up with a precise definition of what a photograph is? I have no official capacity as a judge or curator of photography. I'm just someone who likes to snap some pictures. I am evaluating images for my own personal reasons - to decide if I want it on my wall, to decide if an image would influence my own work, or simply to decide if I like it or not.
 

AlanKlein

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I just thought of travel magazines and sales brochures of cruise lines and airlines and countries. The photography is done well but not overblown. They present scenes as a vacationer might see it, more natural and believable. I've always allowed those photos to "take me away" even as a kid. Exactly what travel photos are suppose to do in my opinion even though many consider them just "postcard" photos. I don;t know what travel magazines and brochures do today.

Any travel photography pros in the audience that sells their work who can comment on this?
 

smoke665

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To draw that line we probably have to start with a definition of "pure photography." "Pure" is one of those superlative words; doesn't leave much room to wiggle.

Five pages in this thread and it's coming back to the same thing I said on page one, "That depends on your definition of what the eye sees". Hmmm.
 

johngpt

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I recall when shooting landscapes with colour transparency film and colour negative film, we needed to use filters on the front of the lens for the film to reduce the inherent "coldness" of how the films would interpret the colour of a scene. I seem to recall using a Skylight 1B filter for this.
My dad was an advertising artist. He utilized photographers to shoot products for the catalogues he was creating. Those photographers used precise colour temperature lights and associated films for that light. We "civilians" would load our cameras with the appropriate colour temperature film for the appropriate location we were shooting within. We would use indoor or outdoor film. Remember when we'd have the wrong film in camera?
I also recall when shooting black and white film, using red or orange or yellow filters when shooting landscapes as those would subtly enhance contrast between sky and cloud.

Now I shoot digitally and primarily in raw so that fewer editing decisions are made by the camera and more by me. The image files have more information with which to work. The raw image looks rather bland and nothing like what I saw in the scene. Even in raw the camera makes guesses as to colour temperature.

Just like shooting in the days of transparency and film, when choices were needing to be made regarding colour temperature of the light and film, those same choices need to be made today in the digital realm. Now those choices are made in post processing.

I'm not speaking of compositing elements into images or cloning out offending elements. I am speaking of basic choices.
As one poster had shown with examples, contemporary cameras may have a blue sky with excessive green or magenta, even in a raw file. I find I need to correct colour on quite a few images, attempting to find something in that photo I know to be neutral. Often as with colour transparency and film the digital image shot outdoors tends to create a cooler image.

There may never have been a time when a photographic image that "as shot" depicted what the eye sees. Cartier-Bresson as an example spoke of what the photographer chose "not" to include in frame as being perhaps more important to the final image than what was chosen to be "in" frame. It is enlightening to read his opinions about photography. It's also interesting to read the opinions of Dorothea Lange or Joel Meyerowitz.

Grandpa Ron, thank you for creating this thread. It has been fascinating reading the opinions of our TPF members as we attempt to respond to your question. Your original question may have been so broad in scope that we all have responded to different aspects of that.

There is probably no real "answer," but the value is that we have all had to think about what your question means to each of us. And if that helps inform our photography from here forward, that too is important.
 
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freixas

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Do people still take photos with the intent of not manipulating them? All photos are manipulated, as people have pointed out.

Ok, do people still take photos with the intent of not moving pixels around (or removing pixels)? Well, if we allow for cropping, then I'm sure some do. Photojournalists in particular have some specific limits on what they can do to a photograph. If they violate these limits, people can justifiably get upset.

For everyone else, some people are interested in "documenting" a scene, some are interested in photos that mimic the emotional reaction one had when viewing the original scene and some are just into having fun or creating a specific kind of artwork. There's nothing right or wrong about any of these approaches. Do whatever makes you happy.

The original question may have just been an out-of-curiosity question, but I'm not surprised that people feel there is an implied desire to validate a specific position. There are no totally unmanipulated images; the choice of how much you allow is an arbitrary choice (unless there are editorial constraints, of course).

The problem is that, maybe not for the OP but definitely for others, people do draw their manipulation line and then declare that their line is the right one and all others are wrong. Just recently, I heard a photographer declare that a background removal tool was "atrocious and totally against their aesthetic beliefs." Such a position seems absolutely ridiculous to me given that it's a totally artificial boundary.
 

Ysarex

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I recall when shooting landscapes with colour transparency film and colour negative film, we needed to use filters on the front of the lens for the film to reduce the inherent "coldness" of how the films would interpret the colour of a scene. I seem to recall using a Skylight 1B filter for this.
My dad was an advertising artist. He utilized photographers to shoot products for the catalogues he was creating. Those photographers used precise colour temperature lights and associated films for that light. We "civilians" would load our cameras with the appropriate colour temperature film for the appropriate location we were shooting within. We would use indoor or outdoor film. Remember when we'd have the wrong film in camera?
I also recall when shooting black and white film, using red or orange or yellow filters when shooting landscapes as those would subtly enhance contrast between sky and cloud.

Now I shoot digitally and primarily in raw so that fewer editing decisions are made by the camera and more by me. The image files have more information with which to work. The raw image looks rather bland and nothing like what I saw in the scene. Even in raw the camera makes guesses as to colour temperature.

No color temp/WB information is incorporated in the raw data. The camera always creates it's JPEG even if you save raw only and a copy of that JPEG is literally embedded in the raw file for reference and to allow previewing the image. The WB data the camera used to create the JPEG is stored along with it but it has no effect on the raw data in any way. Neither does the raw data appear bland at first viewing. Your raw processing software is responsible for how the raw file first appears and the image you first see when you open a raw file is already heavily processed and no longer looks anything like the raw data.

Just like shooting in the days of transparency and film, when choices were needing to be made regarding colour temperature of the light and film, those same choices need to be made today in the digital realm. Now those choices are made in post processing.

I'm not speaking of compositing elements into images or cloning out offending elements. I am speaking of basic choices.
As one poster had shown with examples, contemporary cameras may have a blue sky with excessive green or magenta, even in a raw file. I find I need to correct colour on quite a few images, attempting to find something in that photo I know to be neutral. Often as with colour transparency and film the digital image shot outdoors tends to create a cooler image.

That's typically the camera's auto WB algorithm doing that. Films had, as you noted, WB manufactured in when we loaded them in our cameras. We have a similar option with a digital camera and can disengage auto WB and set a fixed WB such as daylight or shade or fluorescent. But most people just leave the cameras set to auto WB and since the camera can't actually measure the color temp it makes an "educated guess" which is often pretty bad and often cooler. It's easy to just turn that off and either use one of the presets or set a custom WB in the field. None of which has any effect on raw data but is only an option to assist in getting a better camera JPEG.

Joe

There may never have been a time when a photographic image that "as shot" depicted what the eye sees. Cartier-Bresson as an example spoke of what the photographer chose "not" to include in frame as being perhaps more important to the final image than what was chosen to be "in" frame. It is enlightening to read his opinions about photography. It's also interesting to read the opinions of Dorothea Lange or Joel Meyerowitz.

Grandpa Ron, thank you for creating this thread. It has been fascinating reading the opinions of our TPF members as we attempt to respond to your question. Your original question may have been so broad in scope that we all have responded to different aspects of that.

There is probably no real "answer," but the value is that we have all had to think about what your question means to each of us. And if that helps inform our photography from here forward, that too is important.
 

bosuzoku27

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Everything I capture is "as shot" for various reasons:

- no skills/software on my part to change the images captured
- no time in my life to learn those skills (too busy with work and fun for that!!!)
- I want my photos to reflect true images from my life, not something that was altered/prettied
 

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