Realism vs Expressionism

Discussion in 'Photographic Discussions' started by jjmcd123, Apr 2, 2016.

  1. jjmcd123

    jjmcd123 TPF Noob!

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    Below are pics from my first proper photoshoot. The objective was to do principle photography at a location for a film company. I have attached a few sample pictures which I feel best capture the essence of the area.

    What I'm asking is: in terms of post-production - these are untouched - what would be the principle behind altering these images? What ideas come to mind? Are they technical? Aesthetic? Artistic?

    As a newcomer to this craft it's my gut instinct that photography (and all art) should be about capturing the true essence of a thing and illuminating what it already there. Alterations to me seem counter-productive to the goal. However, I would love to hear the opinions of others who hold a different view on the matter.

    My primary craft is writing so I am familiar with ideas of artistic form.

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  2. 480sparky

    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator Supporting Member

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    First thing that I'd do is level all the uneven horizons.

    After that, it's a matter of how much you want to change in terms of saturation, curves and sharpness.
     
  3. snowbear

    snowbear . Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Since I shoot raw, my images always look "flat" so I always tweak the exposure, contrast, white balance and crop. I generally edit enough to get the images close to what I think I remember seeing.

    I hope you don't mind . . . I cropped it and tried to bring up the details in the black-faced lamb (or goat - I'm a city boy & can't tell the difference here) and bumped up the saturation and contract a little bit.

    B40 - 1_zpse8gldkmw_Edit.jpg
     
  4. Ysarex

    Ysarex Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    No they're not. They are already extensively manipulated in multiple steps by you and others.

    You're making some false assumptions about the process you used. These photos were taken with a digital camera. They are as such manipulated images and it shows. You used a Canon camera to take these photos. Canon cameras are typically supplied with 5 different camera input profiles that all look different one from another. You selected one of them (required) and so you manipulated the photos. This list goes on and on and on, one manipulation after another. You can't take a digital photo without processing the image and the processing is manipulative.

    Joe
     
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  5. AlanKlein

    AlanKlein Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    "OP Quote: Below are pics from my first proper photoshoot. The objective was to do principle photography at a location for a film company. I have attached a few sample pictures which I feel best capture the essence of the area.

    What I'm asking is: in terms of post-production - these are untouched - what would be the principle behind altering these images? What ideas come to mind? Are they technical? Aesthetic? Artistic?

    As a newcomer to this craft it's my gut instinct that photography (and all art) should be about capturing the true essence of a thing and illuminating what it already there. Alterations to me seem counter-productive to the goal. However, I would love to hear the opinions of others who hold a different view on the matter."


    What does the film company want your photos to show?

    Leaving that aside, capturing the true essence is different between let's say a painting and a photo. With a painting, the artist starts with a blank page and adds what's in his mind and heart. The photographer often has a more difficult challenge. He starts with a filled-in canvas and must learn how to eliminate those items that he doesn't want in the picture, that may confuse the viewer, and detract from its aesthetic value. If you look at your photos, many have too many subjects or items that butt into other items making for a confusing scene that detracts from its true essence. Photographers usually have to simplify by changing the perspective, or moving to another location before you snap the picture. Dramatic lighting such as before sunset adds to the impact. Midday lighting is boring because of its flatness.

    You ought to read some books on how to compose and get better photographs. Also, look at the work of good photographers and see what makes their work interesting and effective. Good luck.
     
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  6. cherylynne1

    cherylynne1 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    In my opinion, you're thinking about post processing all wrong, and it's because you don't understand the limitations of the camera.

    The point of photography is to capture a scene before you and convey it to either someone that wasn't there or to yourself at a later date. But the problem is that even the best cameras are total crap compared to the human eye.

    We have incredible dynamic range. Our inner "auto white balance" doesn't get fooled until we get into extreme situations. We can adjust to darker and brighter situations than cameras can and we can do it almost instantaneously. We can see a 3D scene and tell distance and size with surprising accuracy.

    Cameras can't. Cameras look at a 3D image and squash it down to 2D while losing a crapload of color and exposure information and totally screwing up perspective. As photographers, we learn to combat those shortcomings by correcting for exposure, saturation, highlights, etc. We even try to recreate the 3D effect by increasing contrast and adjusting aperture.

    Now it's true that some try to take this a step further. They try to not only convey the scene as it was presented, but also the emotions that accompanied it. They do this by having an understanding of the relationship between the human psyche and color. They use color to manipulate the photo and convey emotion. This is when photography crosses the line into art.

    Try to stop thinking of post processing as lying about what was in the scene. It's more about trying to be true to what your eyes actually saw and the camera failed to capture.
     
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  7. budget cruncher

    budget cruncher TPF Noob!

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    When you write, do you ever edit?
     
  8. pixmedic

    pixmedic I am the Lord thy Mod Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I dont know anything about realism or expressionism...
    but the horse and lamb pics are just friggen adorable!
    some good crop and post work and you'll have something frame worthy there!
     
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  9. vdmsr

    vdmsr TPF Noob!

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    What most of the above posters said and I'd add just a tad bit of saturation.
     
  10. Tim Tucker

    Tim Tucker No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    You have made some incorrect assumptions here concerning the integrity of the scene as photographed. You assume that the human eye sees things in absolute values and that the camera captures the scene in the same way your eye sees it.

    It doesn't.

    The human eye is a marvel, and also a quite poor optical instrument when compared to a camera lens. A single, uncoated organic lens (not precision ground), it sees continuously and has no shutter speed, the iris corrects for brightness only. If you were able to take a single frame with a human eye it would look worse than this:

    mod-1.jpg

    Yes, you only see the very centre of you vision as relatively sharp and your colour vision also fades at the periphery. (Stand 1m from a walk and concentrate on a point dead ahead. Without moving your eye become aware of your periphery vision and hold your arm up at 45 degrees from your line of vision. How many fingers are you holding up?)

    So how can I see wall to wall sharpness and colour when you say that the human eye is not capable of it?

    Because your eye continually scans a scene adjusting. The image you think you see is not the actual scene but a construct built up in the brain. It's been panorama stitched, focus stacked, white point corrected and tone-mapped. The camera takes a single frame through a fixed lens at a fixed exposure and the values recorded are how the material of the sensor reacts to light re-mapped by a computer program to they an approximate human vision.

    Add to this mix the very real fact that many are actually quite lazy with their vision and only really glance at things allowing the brain to fill the gaps from memory of other similar scenes. Also your memory of what you have just seen is immediately clouded and mixed with your memories of other similar scenes. 100 people looking at the same landscape will see the same thing, but their recollections of it will always be slightly different.

    Now you have your image on your computer screen ask yourself if it is even close to the range of brightness of the original scene.

    The camera does not (and cannot) record the scene the way your eye sees it, there is already a variation between the two. Ethics and realism exist but the camera is only a tool and does not provide them for you a the touch of a button. That is entirely down to the photographer and whether they looked at the original scene closely and carefully enough to reproduce a realistic rendition of it or more a partial truth/flight of fancy/distorted memory. ;)
     
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  11. 407370

    407370 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    In post production there are very few things to concern yourself with:
    1. is it what the customer wants? - Number one priority if someone is paying. Irrelevant if no-one is paying (see point 2)
    2. Is it what you want? - only priority if no-one is paying
    Ignore schools of thought on how various artistic ventures should look in "their" opinion. If you think a particular pic needs to have the minimalist possible processing then do it. If you think a particular pic needs to be tone mapped up the wazoo then do it.
    If you want to establish a style then create a batch process to do 50 pics at a time. If you like the slightly HDR look then its quite easy to set that up as a batch process.

    Its up to you.
     
  12. Tim Tucker

    Tim Tucker No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    To explore this a little further and hopefully show at least part of the nature of human vision I'll post one of my images that has been posted before. I'm in total agreement with cherylynne1 and her statement:



    The image below has been deliberately manipulated in a number of ways. I've deliberately tried to show the colour of the apples as accurate, but to do that have also deliberately highlighted the variation in low saturated hues and colours by contrasting them against a background of the opposite, high saturation and virtually no variation in hue. I've also contrasted high and low acutance to give a more 3D effect, something the eye does naturally and is lost in the camera very easily. So I've deliberately manipulated the camera's view to overcome it's limitations and give something that's more approximate to human vision.

    But this image also highlights another aspect of vision, that what you see is not absolute but corrected by the brain to follow the logic and memory of what you've seen before. When you glance at things your brain makes assumptions and corrections and what you remember is not necessarily what you've seen. Included in the image is another bold and visible distortion of the truth and those familiar with Cezanne will spot it instantly. But I wonder how many don't see it:

    _DSC0909_sRGB_sm.jpg

    What I'm trying to show here is that if you believe that either your eye or the camera is showing you absolute vision then you don't realise just how much they are deceiving you and that what you're looking at may be a considerable distortion of the truth. It all really comes down to how closely you look and observe what's around you. Images don't have to be correct, but do benefit by being convincing.
     
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