Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2008/03/12

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Subject: [Leica] Re: Not Buying M8
From: pklein at (Peter Klein)
Date: Wed Mar 12 16:58:34 2008
References: <>

This discussion really interests me. I think that any relatively new 
medium (e.g. digital photography) spawns a number of ways of using it,with 
respect to the old medium (e.g. film). They boil down to three basic 

1. You use the new medium to do things you did with the old, but now it's 
easier, faster, more precise.  This is the Photoshop-as-darkroom metaphor, 
or Nathan Wajsman's Rules of Photoshop Ethics.

2. You do things that are still in the realm of the old medium, but with 
techniques from the new visbly added as "enhancements." Example:  Heavily 
Photoshopped photos that are still recognizable as photos, but with 
background textures and colors altered surreally.

3. You radically break with the old medium completely. One uses it only as 
a starting-off point.  Example:  Unreal composites of several photos, 
human-created and photographically captured elements mixed together with 
impossible perspective.

With photography, there's another element:  Because people have looked at 
photography as a recording tool, we have to ask how much the photographer 
intends a photo to be a truthful recording of the photographed scene. And 
how much the viewer believes that he/she is seeing a basically true 
recording of that scene. Is what you see basically real, or is it 
imaginary?  Are you conveying information with some degree of 
subjectivity, or subjectivity with some degree of information?  We could 
argue many hours where that line is drawn.  I'd say it's more of a zone 
than a line.

In all this, perspective choice, focus, DOF, cropping, dodging, burning, 
exposure and contrast control, not to mention lens and film (or digital 
sensor) choice are all part of the old language that we accept as reality, 
as long as we don't stretch too far and break the acceptance and trust of 
the viewer (or is it suspension of disbelief?).

Me: I'm basically of the first category mentioned above.  I like to take 
reality as I find it, using traditional photographic vocabulary. I pick 
digital techniques that are in line with that vocabulary.  So I might use 
distorted wide-angle perspective, but I won't heavily "warp" a picture. I 
might enhance the color saturation of a high-contrast scene to match what 
my eye perceived, but I'm not going to paint people green.

Here's where I go a little farther than darkroom equivalence--I would not 
clone out a central element of a photo, but I do occasionally remove a 
distracting background element whose whose presence or absence did not 
change the basic truth of the image.


Replies: Reply from luisripoll at (Luis Ripoll) ([Leica] Re: Not Buying M8)