Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2002/05/13

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Subject: RE: [Leica] Re: Photoshop dilemma
From: Darrell Jennings <>
Date: Mon, 13 May 2002 10:15:32 -0700 (PDT)

And I completely disagree....  I am NOT a Photoshop
expert.  In fact I had never scanned a photo before
two weeks ago, and only have Photoshop Elements which
I have very limited expertise with. 

That said, I don't limit my view of photography by
expecting that what I see in a photo is exactly what
was there. There are many great photographs that were
enhanced by use of filters and traditional darkroom
techniques. I don't see Photoshop or it's competitors
as different than that, they've just gone another
step. In fact photographers like Jerry Uelsmann have
done very altered realities for many years without
using a computer to do so (check out
for examples).  I still see this kind of work as

As far as this list is concerned, I expect that
anything created with a Leica is of interest to the
group.  Am I wrong in that?  Surely if we embrace
Leica "clones" (I use the term broadly with no offence
intended to owners of Konica and Voigtlander cameras)
then we should also embrace any worthy work created by
a Leica camera.  

Photoshop appears to let you change it in more radical
terms than a wet darkroom traditionally has done, but
I see that as progress.  You seem to see it as a
threat. I say judge the image.  For me (I won't
presume to speak for the group), how it got there is
of interest in learning something new technically. I
don't think it is not a photograph just because I
can't count on it representing what I can see with my

As far as I am concerned all aspects of producing the
final image are important. If someone is so good at
Photoshop that they mask flaws in the original
photograph, how is that different that the fact that a
master printer in a tradtional darkroom is able to
print a better image from a negative than I am? I
believe that the whole process is important, not just
clicking the shutter button. 

To go back to Sonny's image.  If he made a more
interesting background for this photo, why does that
make it less of a photo.  He simply improved the image
(from his point of view) to make it closer to what he
wanted us to see. It doesn't bother me that he did so,
I don't think of it as less of a photograph.  

If we limit our discussions on what we can do with a
photograph, then we limit our ability to fully
understand the craft. By simply putting it out there,
Sonny has done us a service by generating dialog and
getting some of us to think about this subject...and I
think that is a good thing. 

- --- "B. D. Colen" <> wrote:
> The issue isn't journalism - the issue is
> photography.
> When most people look at photographs they believe
> that they are looking at a
> reasonably accurate representation of what, for an
> instant in time, WAS. The
> have this expectation whether they are looking at a
> photo of your baby, my
> dogs, or Peggy's Cove. And they believe they are
> looking at an accurate
> representation of what WAS because they are looking
> at a photograph.
> If, as some of you contend, there is no reason to
> label grossly manipulated
> photographs as some other form of art - such as
> photo illustrations, photo
> montages, what ever - then the basic understanding
> of photography and
> photographs is altered.
> And, BTW, Mr. Jennings, if we don't know that you
> are using Photoshop to
> alter the reality of your photos, then how are we to
> judge your
> photography - which is one of the things we do on
> this list. After all,
> anyone who is an accomplished Photoshop
> craftsperson/artist, can take a
> badly flawed photo and turn it into what will appear
> to be at least a good,
> if not excellent, photo.
> My feeling is that if one wants to display altered
> photos - without alerting
> the viewer to the fact that they are altered - one
> should go do it on a
> Photoshop list, not on a Leica photography list.
> B. D.
> -----Original Message-----
> From:
> []On
> Behalf Of Eric
> Sent: Monday, May 13, 2002 5:50 AM
> To:
> Subject: [Leica] Re: Photoshop dilemma
> B.D.:
> >those
> >who care about the integrity of photography should
> insist that altered
> >photos be labeled as such.
> That's what I don't understand.  The integrity of
> photography?  We're not
> talking about crime scene images.  We're not talking
> about putting flying
> saucers in the sky and selling the images to a
> tabloid.
> I do agree that if the context is that of
> journalism, we should indicate if
> pyramids have been moved around.  I'd go one step
> further and stay that if
> the context is journalism, we shouldn't be changing
> the contents of the
> image at all...with or without labeling.
> Eric
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