Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2002/05/14

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Subject: Re: [Leica] Re: Photoshop dilemma
From: Mike Cahill <mcahill@laurelgroup.com>
Date: Tue, 14 May 2002 11:36:07 -0400

on 5/14/02 10:58 AM, Darrell Jennings at darrell_jennings@yahoo.com wrote:

> No I haven't been on the list very long.  About six
> weeks so far. 
> 
> B.D.  I do "grasp" what you are trying to say. The
> fact that I don't agree with your point of view
> doesn't mean I don't understand it. I just draw the
> line between photography and a peice of graphic art at
> a different spont than you and some others.
> 
> The reason I have continued the dialog is that I think
> it is a difficult subject to get consensus on, and you
> and I taking opposing roles in the discussion may get
> us and others to think about where the line between a
> photo and a piece of graphic art is.  I suspect that
> the line is hard to define, and a bit different for
> everyone.  We can probably all agree on the extremes,
> but the shades of grey in between that are hard to
> agree on. 
> 
> Examples: 
> 1.If you merge two photos of the same group of people
> and same pose to get the best expression on each
> persons face, is it now not a photograph?
> 
> 2.If you delete a person from a photograph is it now
> not a photograph?  Does your answer change depending
> on how prominent the person is in the original photo?
> What about if the "person" was a tiny spec in the
> background? 
> 
> 3.If a photo journalist alters a photo, but not the
> truth it portrays is it not a photograph? If a
> advertisment has an altered photograph to try to more
> effectively get us to buy something is it not a
> photograph? Why are the standards different for many
> of us on these two examples?
> 
> 4.How would your critique of Sonny's photo with the
> wagon change by knowing he had put two photos
> together?  
> 
> These may seem like picking nits, but are probably
> important if we are trying to interact with each other
> on some common basis.
> 
> BTW: What I objected to in your response was you
> appeared to dismiss my view because of my limited
> experience with Photoshop...which I see as irrelevant
> to this discussion. We aren't discussing Photoshop, we
> are discussing photography, an area where I have
> pretty deep experience having been a photographer for
> almost 30 years. 
> 
> As far as Uelsmann, there are enough gallery owners
> and museum curators that think he is a photogapher
> (plus I believe he is a professor of photography at a
> university in Florida) that you should at least agree
> that there are a range of differing opinions on the
> subject. 
> 
> I have no problem with differing oppinions.  I do have
> a problem with lack of respect. If we can't show
> respect in dealing with each other then we have
> greatly diminished the value of the interaction. And I
> don't believe you lessen the impact of a barb by
> putting a wink on the end of it...
> 
> I hear and respect your opinion.  I don't agree with
> it, but I don't have to. I think it is interesting
> enough that there are extreme points of view to merit
> discussion and thought by the group. DJ
> 
> --- "B. D. Colen" <bdcolen@earthlink.net> wrote:
>> First, try reading what I have written, and you will
>> see that I have never,
>> in any post on this subject, suggested that
>> photographers can't be artists.
>> 
>> Second, if you think that my comments have
>> constituted "personal attacks" on
>> you you haven't been on this list very long. ;-)
>> 
>> Next, as to the subject at hand =
>> 
>> I agree with you completely that there are
>> photographers who are artists,
>> and photographers who are craftsmen.  Where we
>> disagree, Darrell, and what
>> you seem unable to grasp, is that in the view of
>> many photographers, someone
>> who builds artistic pieces out of photographic
>> images is not producing
>> photographs, but rather is producing works of art
>> built from photographic
>> images. That artist may well be a photographer, who
>> in addition to producing
>> photographs, also uses his or her own photographs as
>> materials with which to
>> do other kinds of art: but the fact that the person
>> is a photographer does
>> not mean that the images they produce through
>> construction/alteration
>> methods are what we speak of when we call something
>> a photograph.
>> 
>> And, similarly, a photographer who produces what are
>> called photographs may
>> be an artist, or may be a craftsman - but that
>> judgment would probably be
>> made on the quality/originality/artistic merit of
>> their work, not on whether
>> it is or is not manipulated beyond the ways in which
>> one normally
>> manipulates photographic images in the printing
>> process.
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: owner-leica-users@mejac.palo-alto.ca.us
>> [mailto:owner-leica-users@mejac.palo-alto.ca.us]On
>> Behalf Of Darrell
>> Jennings
>> Sent: Monday, May 13, 2002 10:21 PM
>> To: leica-users@mejac.palo-alto.ca.us
>> Subject: RE: [Leica] Re: Photoshop dilemma
>> 
>> 
>> There are photographers that are artists, and
>> photographers that are craftsmen.  I think there is
>> room for both.  You obviously don't and can only
>> respond by a personal attack on me...pretty
>> unprofessional in my view.
>> 
>> --- "B. D. Colen" <bdcolen@earthlink.net> wrote:
>>> 
>>> 
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: owner-leica-users@mejac.palo-alto.ca.us
>>> [mailto:owner-leica-users@mejac.palo-alto.ca.us]On
>>> Behalf Of Darrell
>>> Jennings
>>> Sent: Monday, May 13, 2002 1:16 PM
>>> To: leica-users@mejac.palo-alto.ca.us
>>> Subject: RE: [Leica] Re: Photoshop dilemma
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 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
>>> www.uelsmann.net
>>> for examples).  I still see this kind of work as
>>> photography.
>>> 
>>> ------------------
>>> 
>>> Well then, given that you have been scanning and
>>> using Photoshop elements
>>> for two full weeks, and given the fact that you
>>> consider a cut and paste
>>> image of lips emerging from a dirt road a
>>> "photographs," I guess there's
>>> really nothing I can add to the discussion.;-)
>>> 
>>> B. D.
>>> 
>>> --
>>> To unsubscribe, see
>> http://mejac.palo-alto.ca.us/leica-users/unsub.html
>> 
>> 
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> 
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My 2 worth,

I own a graphic design firm.  I'm also a photographer.  A photograph is what
you take with a camera.  Short of adjusting contrast, color and cropping or
cleaning up dirt and scratches, altering the content of the image would seem
to change it from a photo to a piece of digital art, no less a piece of art
in the purest sense, but a piece of digital art.

I have artists working for me than can take an image and create something
completely different than the image's original content. They're not photos,
never will be photos, they're digital art.

MC


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