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View Full Version : When is a photograph no longer a photograph?



bobainsworth
06-23-2011, 09:02 PM
I'v had a good discussion on a local photography group on this subject.
My question was why are heavily Photoshopped images allowed in the regular photographic categories. There is clearly an electronic image category, so how are these images allowed? My example was from our local PPA affiliate competition. The image was the winner in the masters wedding category and was 95% digital art with a small photographic element. So at what point is an photograph no longer a photograph? How much digital manipulation before it's no longer a photograph? Where is that line?

GregYager
06-23-2011, 09:13 PM
The issue here Bob is there is no line. Yes there is a line for EI because it MUST be altered in some way but the PO in the portrait category doesn't just stand for portrait, it's Portrait Open(actually enforced as Photograph Open because it doesn't have to be a portrait either) meaning it's open to anything.

I do foresee a time when there will be a category that only allows certain enhancements but for now that category simply does not exist. Our industry is evolving at a very fast pace. Keeping up with it can be challenging to say the least.

Keith_A_Howe
06-23-2011, 10:13 PM
Where is that line?

Bob, can you describe that line? Can you say, specifically enough that it's understood by anyone who wants to enter, how much PS is allowed and how much is not?

This is nothing new and it's not because our industry is evolving. I have been entering for 30 years. The first 20 years I entered I listened to this same objection, only then it was about traditional artwork and how the entry was really more about the artwork then what the photographer did. Plus then the vast majority of photographers did not do their own artwork. Before my time the objection was color. Photographers who entered B&W images complained that prints that were in color were scoring higher because they were in color and not because of the skill of the photographer. So this is an old objection just wrapped in new technology.

And the minute there is any kind of limitation or rule then members start complaining that their creativity is being limited. Years ago in NE we instituted a folio competition - unretouched non-artworked images. Well we started having photographers painting stuff on the folios themselves. Then people started complaining that they couldn't manipulate the images and were being stifled in their artistic visions. So now our folio competition is anything goes.

I understand your objections and I can't say I completely disagree with you but I don't see a solution that is fair, specific and won't have someone complaining because they can't do what they want. That's one ( but not the only) of the reasons the EI degree was changed to Master Artist. A few people wanted to be able to apply traditional art mediums to the surface of the prints. Anyway, how I deal with it is just to do what I feel is right. So when I go to bed at night I can sleep easy. I can't control anyone else's behavior, I can only make choices for myself.

Keith

Keith_A_Howe
06-23-2011, 10:21 PM
the PO in the portrait category doesn't just stand for portrait, it's Portrait Open(actually enforced as Photograph Open because it doesn't have to be a portrait either) meaning it's open to anything.


It's not portrait open . It actually is called Photographic Open. It's not just enforced as that. There are seperate catergories underneath that heading. they are portrait, wedding, illustrative, event album, and non-event album.

Maybe some clarification will help everyone -

PO - the maker has to have created the original photograph. Any artwork has to be done either by the maker or under the direct supervision of the maker. For example I did the artwork on Holly's PO entries this year - but she told me exactly what to do. Holly designed the layout for my album entry - but she did it following my directions. PO is judged on the image as a whole.

EI- the 12 elements still apply but the entrant is being scored on the work they did and how that work effected the 12 elements. While the overall image does effect the scoring, the most important thing is the work. The entrant does not have to have created the original photograph but they must have done the artwork.

When a panel scores a PO entry and it has been heavily worked the judges ask themselves " did this work improve the image or would it have been stronger without it?. Was it done just because it's trendy? Was it done to hide some other deficency in the print?"
Keith

GregYager
06-23-2011, 10:56 PM
I think a line could be drawn between EI and PO but it would be pointless. Open is open whether it's Photography Open or Photographic Open. I'm obviously the new guy on the block here but I feel the better move would be to create a category that limits the amount of digital enhancements to maybe density, color correction and blemish removal. It's not an issue I'm gonna lose sleep over though. I can deal with the current system just fine because I think the most important trait of a good print judge is common sense. Chances are good that if they're a judge at IPC they've probably displayed a lot of good common sense.

I think it's funny that people started decorating the portfolios. :). Defiance humors me.

I still say our industry is evolving at a rapid pace but the arguments that were made 30 years ago have evolved right along with it. Fred Flintstone had the same day to day issues to deal with as George Jetson. They just wore different outfits.

KirkDarling
06-24-2011, 12:45 AM
In my own parlance, if the image started in a camera, it's a photograph.

Sarah_Johnston
06-24-2011, 01:21 PM
This is a subject that gets discussed quite often. The issue is where the line would be drawn and how can it be policed. Honestly- it really can't be. Before digital there were photographers or artists that were masterful at altering prints. Between neg retouching, creative darkroom and surface art some images were completely transformed. Back then they did have the original version Master Artist Degree (white ribbon) and it's own competition like EI has today. Just like then they could also enter in PO. Now each image is to be judged on it's own merit, and is up until the point where state and locals do head to head for some awards. PPA Competition does not do head to head. SO perhaps if you really want a separate category, the suggestion should go to the groups that do. Just my thought on the subject.

bobainsworth
06-24-2011, 01:42 PM
Kirk by your definition of a photograph I could opened a photograph in photoshop fill the entire image with black and draw a red stick man with the brush tool and masked out a single eye from the original image, and I could enter it in the photographic category? I'm sorry I disagree!

The particular Image I was talking about was 95% computer generated art and a small photographic element placed in it. I'm sorry that is not a photograph!

Please tell me you see the difference in altering levels/WB/color saturation/B&W/Vignette? This is making adjustments to the pixels but not altering them in a way that is totally different from the original photograph as taken. Digital painting is actually changing the form of the image. Replacing backgrounds is changing the form of the image. When you do this it's no longer a photograph but digital art in which I'm totally okay with but to call it a photograph is just not an accurate statement. Call it a hybrid, call it digital art but there is no way it's still a photograph. There is a fine line between the two, but I guess my line is a lot farther back than PPA's line.

GregYager
06-24-2011, 02:06 PM
PPA Competition does not do head to head. SO perhaps if you really want a separate category, the suggestion should go to the groups that do. Just my thought on the subject.

Excellent point.

Michael_Gan
06-24-2011, 03:29 PM
Kirk by your definition of a photograph I could opened a photograph in photoshop fill the entire image with black and draw a red stick man with the brush tool and masked out a single eye from the original image, and I could enter it in the photographic category? I'm sorry I disagree! Why not? You're capturing light, albeit very low level...now here is where you start drawing the line on what constitutes a photograph;). Photography is just a medium, don't get it confused with the art.

KirkDarling
06-24-2011, 04:29 PM
Please tell me you see the difference in altering levels/WB/color saturation/B&W/Vignette? This is making adjustments to the pixels but not altering them in a way that is totally different from the original photograph as taken. Digital painting is actually changing the form of the image. Replacing backgrounds is changing the form of the image. When you do this it's no longer a photograph but digital art in which I'm totally okay with but to call it a photograph is just not an accurate statement. Call it a hybrid, call it digital art but there is no way it's still a photograph. There is a fine line between the two, but I guess my line is a lot farther back than PPA's line.


People who start with a blank image on the monitor are creating "digital art."

I would not call Man Ray's "Rayographs" photography, but I would call Jerry Uelsmann's work photography.

Keith_A_Howe
06-24-2011, 04:29 PM
Please tell me you see the difference in altering levels/WB/color saturation/B&W/Vignette? This is making adjustments to the pixels but not altering them in a way that is totally different from the original photograph as taken. Digital painting is actually changing the form of the image. Replacing backgrounds is changing the form of the image. When you do this it's no longer a photograph but digital art in which I'm totally okay with but to call it a photograph is just not an accurate statement. Call it a hybrid, call it digital art but there is no way it's still a photograph. There is a fine line between the two, but I guess my line is a lot farther back than PPA's line.

Bob
I do understand your point and I agree that painting etc. alters the image from the original photograph. I wish more of the public could see it like you do as marketing "painter" type images would be a whole lot easier than explaining that it is a painting, we just use a different media to create with. Getting back to our competition and your question. Lets say we offered a basic photography type competition where the makers could only do basic adjustments "levels/WB/color saturation/B&W/Vignette". How would we police it? How would you answer the question of makers that tried say a Kim Anderson Style of color saturation adjustment with some soft spot color? What about those that are really good a PS work and fills in a bad spot in a background (a good artist can do this fairly easily without anyone being able to see that it was done). What about those that enhance eyes and hair on all their client images, is this enhancement allowed or not? Do we say you can not use any software filters like Lucis or Nic etc.? If so what about people that use portrait retouching filters for skin tones? How many pages of rules would it take to try to define the category? I am not trying to be antagonistic, I am searching for input on how this could be done, would it be practical financially to implement etc. Like we said this is not a new idea, it has been discussed back and forth for years.

Next question, would these merits for basic photography then apply toward the Master of Photography Degree or are we talking about creating a new degree?

Remember photography is an art. We use light, shadow, camera, computer and software as well as in some cases film, dyes, pencils, oils and pastels as our media and brushes. This concept is really the idea of limiting what tools an artist can use. Again I am not saying this is a bad idea but the real question is. . . How many people would want this and actually participate?
Keith

bobainsworth
06-24-2011, 04:34 PM
I'll guess we'll have to agree to disagree :)

Keith_A_Howe
06-24-2011, 07:10 PM
I'll guess we'll have to agree to disagree :)

Bob, I am not disagreeing with you. I think you have a valid point. I just want to hear how you would word the rules to accomplish what you suggest. It's pretty easy on the far ends of the spectrum but there is a whole lot of muddy ground in the middle. I don't know how to draw a line through that muddy shifting ground. I wasn't trying to discourage you with all my examples. I was trying to give you food for thought on how to word the rules for this kind of catergory.

I will tell you that you are probably fighting an uphill battle. I am sure this is not the case with you, but most the time in the past, when this objection has been brought up, it's because someone has sour grapes. Either they got outscored by someone who did a lot of PS or they are unhappy with their scores and want to believe it's because they didn't do a lot of razzle dazzle rather then their images were just weak. The other challenge is in the past when photographers have complained about this and said they would not enter because they didn't feel it was right, association have stepped up and created competitions without artwork/PS for those members. And guess what - those members still don't enter. So while it is unfair to you to have your motives scrutinized based on what people have done in the past, it's a fact of life that everyone makes judgement calls based on their experiences. And the experience with this isue is most often the objections are a result of someone not liking their results in competition. That being said, I still think that your ideas woill be seriously considered if you can make more specific suggestions on this would work and submit it in writing to PEC. Address how that muddy ground in the middle would be handled. Just by having a well thought out plan, you would seperate yourself from the guys that just want to complain.

Don't think I am discounting your ideas. I realize that's probably how it came off but what I really wanted is to tell you my concerns and get more details and specifics on how you would handle them.

Keith

bobainsworth
06-24-2011, 08:59 PM
People who start with a blank image on the monitor are creating "digital art."

I would not call Man Ray's "Rayographs" photography, but I would call Jerry Uelsmann's work photography.

Again we'll have to agree to disagree. I would classify Jerry Uelsmann's Work "Photography Based Digital Art"

KirkDarling
06-24-2011, 09:21 PM
Again we'll have to agree to disagree. I would classify Jerry Uelsmann's Work "Photography Based Digital Art"

But his work is not digital--it was and is film and fiber paper.

bobainsworth
06-24-2011, 09:24 PM
Bob, I am not disagreeing with you. I think you have a valid point. I just want to hear how you would word the rules to accomplish what you suggest. It's pretty easy on the far ends of the spectrum but there is a whole lot of muddy ground in the middle. I don't know how to draw a line through that muddy shifting ground. I wasn't trying to discourage you with all my examples. I was trying to give you food for thought on how to word the rules for this kind of catergory.

I will tell you that you are probably fighting an uphill battle. I am sure this is not the case with you, but most the time in the past, when this objection has been brought up, it's because someone has sour grapes. Either they got outscored by someone who did a lot of PS or they are unhappy with their scores and want to believe it's because they didn't do a lot of razzle dazzle rather then their images were just weak. The other challenge is in the past when photographers have complained about this and said they would not enter because they didn't feel it was right, association have stepped up and created competitions without artwork/PS for those members. And guess what - those members still don't enter. So while it is unfair to you to have your motives scrutinized based on what people have done in the past, it's a fact of life that everyone makes judgement calls based on their experiences. And the experience with this isue is most often the objections are a result of someone not liking their results in competition. That being said, I still think that your ideas woill be seriously considered if you can make more specific suggestions on this would work and submit it in writing to PEC. Address how that muddy ground in the middle would be handled. Just by having a well thought out plan, you would seperate yourself from the guys that just want to complain.

Don't think I am discounting your ideas. I realize that's probably how it came off but what I really wanted is to tell you my concerns and get more details and specifics on how you would handle them.

Keith

Sorry Keith I was replying to Kirk.

@ Keith, I will think on it and try and come up with a good solution :)
And you're right I have never done the print comp. I was doing research on it and started looking at the winning photographs and kept wondering where the photographs were?? All I was seeing was what looked like digital art, then I realized these were the winning "photos" in the photographic categories :(

bobainsworth
06-24-2011, 09:27 PM
But his work is not digital--it was and is film and fiber paper.

Okay "Photography Based Paper Art" or "Photography Based Collage Art"

Michael_Gan
06-24-2011, 11:44 PM
Okay "Photography Based Paper Art" or "Photography Based Collage Art"So now I'm confused. Are you now saying that photography is not photography if it's on paper? Only on the negative? Or are you saying that photography is not art?

Cindi_K_McDaniel
06-25-2011, 01:11 AM
I'm with Kirk :-) Great topic!

bobainsworth
06-25-2011, 04:35 AM
So now I'm confused. Are you now saying that photography is not photography if it's on paper? Only on the negative? Or are you saying that photography is not art?

I guess technically what I'm saying is that the photo when done editing should look very close to what it looked like when it was taken. Digital darkroom enhancements are acceptable similar to what you could do to a film based photograph. Levels/ saturation/ dodge/ burn/ minor blemish retouching/ etc...

Some say it would be hard to draw a line on what would be too much but I think it would be pretty easy. If the photo is altered from the original form classify it as "altered" " enhanced" or whatever you want to call it. I would just use the old "I know it when I see it" rule.

If I was in charge I guess would have two main divisions each with the same subdivisions.

Division 1: Photographic
Division 2: photographic Enhanced

Division 1 would be for traditional photos with little or no photoshop work.
Division 2 would be for photoshop/painter enhanced images.

This would be the responsibility of the photographer to determine which division to place an image. Although it would be up to the group of judges to make the final call. If the judges felt it should be in division 2 because of too much alteration from the original capture it would just be moved to D2. If you disagreed with them it would be up to you to provide a RAW file for comparison.

Both divisions would both have close to the same sub divisions except Division 1. I would have a SOOC category and in Division 2. I would have an electronic art/digital art category. All the other categories would mirror D1 and D2 so that an image could be moved from D1 to D2 easily by the group of judges.

This is just a rough idea of how to do it but something along these lines.

Michael_Gan
06-25-2011, 05:10 AM
Having been involved in the art world of photography and the commercial end as well, let me pose my question to you in a different way: Why should the medium (photography) constrain the limitless boundaries of creativity and art? Are we to assume that photography is a means to an end to itself?

Keith_A_Howe
06-25-2011, 02:45 PM
Some say it would be hard to draw a line on what would be too much but I think it would be pretty easy. If the photo is altered from the original form classify it as "altered" " enhanced" or whatever you want to call it. I would just use the old "I know it when I see it" rule.

Can you imagine the uproar a policy of "I know it when I see it" would cause among the members? And who gets to be the final authority? Who decides this image has too much but this image doesn't? Because I have entered a lot of images that have tons and tons of PS work, I have a loan image where the top two inches of a 16x16 print was all greated in PS, including the tips of the eagle's wings. That's a whole lot of PS work, but you can't tell. I could easily enter that in straight photographic, but another image that simply has a filter run on it may under your suggestions , have to be called enhanced.


If I was in charge I guess would have two main divisions each with the same subdivisions.

Division 1: Photographic
Division 2: photographic Enhanced .
What is the end goal here? Are you wanting seperate divisions with seperate awards? Are you feeling that more straightforward images are getting scored lower because they are being compared to heavily worked images? Do you just want it aknowledged ( what is already obvious or there wouldn't be this discussion) that some images have a lot of computor enhancement and some don't? Why do you feel it is inappropiate to have the two styles in the same catergory? Maybe if I understood what you feel would be gained by soperating them, I could get a better grasp on how it could be achieved.



This would be the responsibility of the photographer to determine which division to place an image. Although it would be up to the group of judges to make the final call. If the judges felt it should be in division 2 because of too much alteration from the original capture it would just be moved to D2. If you disagreed with them it would be up to you to provide a RAW file for comparison.


So are you thinking that each entrant would send along a RAW file of all of their entries in advance? I have a hard time imagining how it would work otherwise. Most competitions are one or two day judgings. What will you do if the maker is not available to produce a RAW file? "Tough luck, you thought it qualified in the straight photographic and now that we see the raw file, you are probably right, but the competition is over and trophies are decided and we can't change the score now." I know it seems like I am focusing on the exceptions to the rules, but that's what PEC has to do ( I am not PEC) before they make any dramatic changes. PEC has to ask all the "what if " questions and anticipate in advance how to handle the challenges that may come up. And just like we worry about bad word of mouth with our clients. one disgruntled entrant who doesn't like their outcome will talk and talk and talk. So PEC has to figure out in advance, every possible scenario and how it will be dealt with. And how they can keep the greatest majority of their clients ( the entrants) happy.

Keith

Keith_A_Howe
06-25-2011, 02:56 PM
Having been involved in the art world of photography and the commercial end as well, let me pose my question to you in a different way: Why should the medium (photography) constrain the limitless boundaries of creativity and art? Are we to assume that photography is a means to an end to itself?

The art world limits itself in competitions all the time. There are all kinds of juried shows or competitions that are limited to a specific media, art form or theme. For example I could not enter a traditional photograph in a watercolor competition or a art quilt show. I could include a photograph in those compeoaitions, but it would still have to mainly be a watercolor or an art quilt to be accepted. To have the PPA - which is a PHOTOGRAPHY association - limit it's competitions to photography is not anymore constraining then a sculpture competition saying the entries have to be 3-D. If you want to do mixed media, then find a mixed media competiton. PPA competitions is not the only artistic outlet available so it constrains no one. If we follow your logic to it's conclusion then we would have to allow sculpture with photos affixed, or fabric art with a photographic element or performance art where someone carries or wears a photograph. I think that the true artist doesn't need unlimited boundries. I believe a true artist can take any constraints and create an amazing vision while still still staying within the imposed limits.

Keith

Michael_Gan
06-25-2011, 05:31 PM
Oh, I don't disagree with you Keith. I understand where this argument comes from. It has existed in PPA competition for years. At least now, most of the entrants do their own artwork to finish an image as opposed to the old days where you're talents in art enhancements on your own images were a rarity.

I think Kirk and I (and correct me if I'm wrong) are getting at is photography in general. There's a broad base of photographers out there who declare that the only pure photography is just straight out of the camera. Typically, these discussions are started by a group of people without a single ounce photographic history to back their theories. Manipulations and enhancements have gone as far back as the beginning of photography. This is why I'm posing my questions from an artistic viewpoint.

bobainsworth
06-26-2011, 05:35 AM
In response to Michael - last time I checked one of the P's in PPA stood for Photographers. Not digital artists, not painters and not Photoshop. I see a true photograph as a photograph SOOC with very few modifications. When you replace backgrounds, combine multiple photographs into one, Paint over every pixel, and change the shape of the original form, for me it's no longer a true photograph. Again if you want to call it a piece of digital art, enhanced photograph, hybrid or whatever that would be fine but you will never convince me it's a true photograph. Manipulations may have always gone on but that still doesn't make it right. If a photograph is altered too much it's no longer a true photograph in my eyes.

Maybe a name change is in order from PPA to PPPA "Professional Photographers & Photoshoppers of America. ;)

bobainsworth
06-26-2011, 06:08 AM
@ Kieth - Everyone keeps telling me what does it matter if the photoshopped images are in the photographic categories? Well why would it matter to someone if a judge kicked their image to D2? Unless there is something less appealing for your "photograph" to be considered "enhanced"??

Yes I do think there is more of a disadvantage to strait photographs. Oh I know each print is scored individually on its own merits. But time and time again it's the heavily altered prints that win the top awards. I just think it would be nice for a true photograph to still be respected as much as one that has been entirely photoshopped, at least by a organisation of professional photographers. What are we NAPP?? NTTAWWT :)

Only if a photographer contested the judges decision to be placed in D2 would a RAW file be needed for an appeal. Again it would be up to the Photographer to be honest and place it in the proper category in the first place. Again I think a group of judges could easily spot Photoshop work. Would a few really good minor modifications slip in from time to time? Sure but it's on the photographer to be honest and follow the new rules. Maybe require all entries in D1 to have a RAW file on hand to verify if the need arose.

There is never going to be a perfect system but at least PPA should make an effort for the second P actually stand for Photography and not Photoshop which it may as well be now.

KirkDarling
06-26-2011, 02:10 PM
In response to Michael - last time I checked one of the P's in PPA stood for Photographers. Not digital artists, not painters and not Photoshop. I see a true photograph as a photograph SOOC with very few modifications. When you replace backgrounds, combine multiple photographs into one, Paint over every pixel, and change the shape of the original form, for me it's no longer a true photograph. Again if you want to call it a piece of digital art, enhanced photograph, hybrid or whatever that would be fine but you will never convince me it's a true photograph. Manipulations may have always gone on but that still doesn't make it right. If a photograph is altered too much it's no longer a true photograph in my eyes.

It's not a moral issue, Michael. Art is the philosophy of aesthetics, not ethics or epistemology--we're not dealing with "right" and "true" here.

And even if it were a moral issue, the very etymology of "morality" means "community values." Manipulation of the image was done by the people who originally developed photography--manipulation of the image has been "right" as a photography community moral standard from the very beginning--and has been part of the photographic community's values ever since, for over a hundred and fifty years.

"Straight out of the camera" is, in comparative moral terms, a cultish concept practiced by only a fringe. Not even the f/64 group believed in it.

Keith_A_Howe
06-26-2011, 02:56 PM
Well why would it matter to someone if a judge kicked their image to D2? Unless there is something less appealing for your "photograph" to be considered "enhanced"??

Yes I do think there is more of a disadvantage to strait photographs.

I think you answered your own questions here. It would matter to someone if their catergory was changed for the same reasons that make you feel they should be seperated in the first place. Some people feel that heavily PS'd images have an advantage over straight photographs. So for some reason they want their images in the straight catergory because they feel they will do better being compared (which doesn't happen except in head to head judging for state or regional awards) to other straight images. I still don't understand what you feel we would gain by having the catergories seperated. The only possible conclusion I can draw is that you think there should be two sets of awards - one for D1 and one for D2. If that's what you want to accomplish PEC & PPA is the wrong tree to bark up. PEC & PPA have absolutely nothing to do with any awards given at the local, state, regional or district level. Those awards are created by those associations. If they want to seperate D1 & D2 as you suggest, they are completely free to do so. So maybe what you need to be doing is talking to the people in power at your own state. Because even if PEC implemented all your ideas tomorrow, your own state could still group everything together for the top awards if they wanted.

As far as I am concerned, the benefit of awards is the marketing value. I would rather have the Best of Show award then the Best of Show non-enhanced or the Best of Show enhanced. So I would personally rather see one top award then top awards in two catergories. It dilutes the prestige.

Here are some of my past loan collection images. Obviously if these went loan, there is a misconception that an image needs a lot of PS to do well.
http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p308/imager410/Keith_Howe_B_Footloose.jpg
http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p308/imager410/TooCloseForComfortcr.jpg
http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p308/imager410/Emotional_Entanglement_stroked.jpg
http://i131.photobucket.com/albums/p308/imager410/Itallcomesdowntoher.jpg

Keith_A_Howe
06-26-2011, 03:00 PM
I think Kirk and I (and correct me if I'm wrong) are getting at is photography in general.

But that's not what the discussion is about. Bob isn't suggesting that photography in general be divided into D1 & D2 photographers. He is addressing specifically competition.

Keith

Keith_A_Howe
06-26-2011, 03:02 PM
I just thought I'd mention - Isn't it nice to have a discussion on this forum, from widely diverse opinions, and not have it go down in flames? Ahhh, grown-ups. Thank you gentlemen!

Keith

Michael_Gan
06-26-2011, 03:25 PM
In response to Michael - last time I checked one of the P's in PPA stood for Photographers. Not digital artists, not painters and not Photoshop. I see a true photograph as a photograph SOOC with very few modifications. When you replace backgrounds, combine multiple photographs into one, Paint over every pixel, and change the shape of the original form, for me it's no longer a true photograph. Again if you want to call it a piece of digital art, enhanced photograph, hybrid or whatever that would be fine but you will never convince me it's a true photograph. Manipulations may have always gone on but that still doesn't make it right. If a photograph is altered too much it's no longer a true photograph in my eyes.

Maybe a name change is in order from PPA to PPPA "Professional Photographers & Photoshoppers of America. ;)Again,as I believe Keith mentioned, where do you draw the line? Who has the power to determine that? Let's suppose you're a judge an you see an image but you can't tell how much it's Photoshopped but the creator did a ton of work on it. The work is done so well that it's not apparent. What will you do?

Keith, I know. But whenever a "group" of photographers get together, you know there's a subgroup of "purists" who are interjecting their feelings about what photography should be without a sense of history. ....and they have a tendency to should on other people.

GregYager
06-26-2011, 03:28 PM
I just thought I'd mention - Isn't it nice to have a discussion on this forum, from widely diverse opinions, and not have it go down in flames? Ahhh, grown-ups. Thank you gentlemen!

Keith

That's the difference between a debate and an argument. A good debate is refreshing because it deals in facts and ideas whereas an argument is mostly about the emotion behind those facts and ideas.

I like the idea of a purest category but the can of worms it would open up is unimaginable. We're actually halfway there if you think about it. We have a category that requires significant enhancement(EI) but we don't have one that forbids it. Instead of calling for a raw file when enhancement is in question do it the same way EI does... Show the unaltered image along with the finished image on the same print. Another idea would be to require and unaltered 4x6 to be attached to the back as a reference.

Michael_Gan
06-26-2011, 03:28 PM
It's not a moral issue, Michael. Art is the philosophy of aesthetics, not ethics or epistemology--we're not dealing with "right" and "true" here.

And even if it were a moral issue, the very etymology of "morality" means "community values." Manipulation of the image was done by the people who originally developed photography--manipulation of the image has been "right" as a photography community moral standard from the very beginning--and has been part of the photographic community's values ever since, for over a hundred and fifty years.

"Straight out of the camera" is, in comparative moral terms, a cultish concept practiced by only a fringe. Not even the f/64 group believed in it.Dang it Kirk! You know I hate it when I have to go to my dictionary app:D Were you addressing me, or Bob's quote. I never said it was a moral issue;). Just a perspective from where I've been and where I studied. It's always the cultish who screams the loudest.

Keith_A_Howe
06-26-2011, 03:34 PM
Instead of calling for a raw file when enhancement is in question do it the same way EI does... Show the unaltered image along with the finished image on the same print. Another idea would be to require and unaltered 4x6 to be attached to the back as a reference.

Uhm, because if they simply have to put the before and after images on the entry, what's to stop an entrant from just putting two after images? Or one mostly completed and one completed. So it wouldn't really prove anything.

Keith

Keith_A_Howe
06-26-2011, 03:59 PM
I just thought I'd mention - Isn't it nice to have a discussion on this forum, from widely diverse opinions, and not have it go down in flames? Ahhh, grown-ups. Thank you gentlemen!

Keith

When I wrote this I thought it was only men who had commented. I just went back through the thread and find I do have to apologize and amend my comments to Thank you ladies and gentlemen.

bobainsworth
06-26-2011, 04:50 PM
Again I'm not some cultist, I use Photoshop, I do all kinds of digital enhancements to clients images. I do whatever I think makes the image look better and the client will love. Sometimes it moves into the realm of digital art and that's what I call it when I tell my clients. I don't try to pass digital art off as a photograph. I don't see what the problem is calling the image what it is?

It's just my opinion but how I see it is if you are having a Photographic competition the entries should be Photographs not Photoshopped Digital Art. Maybe this would be hard to do, maybe PPA would have to scrap the entire set of current rules, maybe it would be too hard for people to enter a pure photographic competition and it would scare off potential entries and members.

I think Photographers have come to rely on PS too much and the "Art of photography" is going by the wayside. You would think PPA would be trying to preserve "The art of Photography" not merge it with other mediums.

Again thanks for the good debate and not turning it into a name calling flame post. I'm just expressing my opinions and frustrations. I respect all opinions and it helps me to see both sides of the debate. My frustrations don't start and end with PPA competition :) Don't get me started on Photographers using Purchased PS Actions. (my pet peeve)

GregYager
06-26-2011, 05:25 PM
Uhm, because if they simply have to put the before and after images on the entry, what's to stop an entrant from just putting two after images? Or one mostly completed and one completed. So it wouldn't really prove anything.

Keith

Any system can be cheated including our current one. I have people that perform some of my editing work and I could enter an EI image that was actually created by them. I would never do this because it would compromise my honor but it's still possible.

KirkDarling
06-26-2011, 07:20 PM
Dang it Kirk! You know I hate it when I have to go to my dictionary app:D Were you addressing me, or Bob's quote. I never said it was a moral issue;). Just a perspective from where I've been and where I studied. It's always the cultish who screams the loudest.

Ooops, I got confused. I was addressing Bob's assertion "Manipulations may have always gone on but that still doesn't make it right. If a photograph is altered too much it's no longer a true photograph in my eyes."

It's not an issue of "right" and "wrong," but if it were, manipulation would be "right" by simple fact that the very people who invented the art also manipulated it from the start.

Sometimes cults become mainstream, but only if they have actually discovered a larger, genuine truth that proved what went before it to become an unacceptable lie...and it might require a good deal of martyrdom before that happens ("It is always socially unacceptable to be right too soon"--Robert A Heinlein).

I remember back in the 70s when there were some photographers who filed out the edges of their negative carriers so that the film edges would show in their prints--to prove that they did no cropping. The larger audience frankly didn't really care about cropping...there was no "larger, genuine truth."

Sometimes a cult can continue side-by-side with the mainstream as an alternative path...as long as they accept being an alternative rather than the mainstream.

Stan_Lawrence
06-26-2011, 08:43 PM
I think Photographers have come to rely on PS too much and the "Art of photography" is going by the wayside. You would think PPA would be trying to preserve "The art of Photography" not merge it with other mediums.


Back when I first started we relied on neg and print retouchers, now we rely on PS. The initial capture is the score, the performance is really up to us....(with due credit to Ansel Adams) Competitions are judged on the final work, not the score. It's up to us to breath life into the image, and artwork is an integral part of that. Knowing that the image is SOOC just doesn't seem to be that important for a lot of us.... reminds me of my favorite saying... the world doesn't care about labor pains, it just wants to see the baby. For me, the finished piece is far more important that how I got there....:cool:

Keith_A_Howe
06-26-2011, 11:22 PM
Stan, I think that's a good analogy and correct to a point. But I think Bob is more talking about lazy or ignorant composers who write bad music and then rely on the musician to make it sound good.

Keith

Stan_Lawrence
06-27-2011, 12:13 AM
Stan, I think that's a good analogy and correct to a point. But I think Bob is more talking about lazy or ignorant composers who write bad music and then rely on the musician to make it sound good.

Keith

Keith, we're not discussing rap here... ;) That's really my point.... if the composition was that bad, it's likely not going to sound good no matter who plays it. Of course, it could be "produced" so far beyond the original that the original comp is really not evident.... If the original image was that bad, is any amount of ps going to make it good? Only if it's produced past the original. My feeling is it's all part of the final product, so there really is no advantage to separating it out.... having a sooc competition would seem a little pointless.... kinda like telling a painter he can use oils, just don't a apply a medium.....:cool:

bobainsworth
06-27-2011, 01:23 AM
I guess it just goes by what you consider "Photography"
For myself for example don't consider heavily photoshopped digital art "photography", just because it started out that way.

Say an image that is pulled into "Painter" and every pixel is smudged, altered to the point of looking like a painting, I don't consider that a photograph anymore. It's a digital painting. digital art or whatever you want to call it as an artist, but to still call it a Photograph is incorrect in my eyes and you will never convince me otherwise. So that digital painting should no be entered into the photographic categories. It really saddens me that a group of professional photographers don't get what I'm saying here :(

Stan_Lawrence
06-27-2011, 01:39 AM
Say an image that is pulled into "Painter" and every pixel is smudged, altered to the point of looking like a painting, I don't consider that a photograph anymore. It's a digital painting. digital art or whatever you want to call it as an artist, but to still call it a Photograph is incorrect in my eyes and you will never convince me otherwise. So that digital painting should no be entered into the photographic categories. It really saddens me that a group of professional photographers don't get what I'm saying here :(

It's not a matter of getting what you're saying, it's a matter of not agreeing....I understand you, I have a different opinion.... I would agree on painter images being in their own category, I don't agree with digitally enhanced images not in a photographic category. I heard someone years ago, complaining after their image got a 72.... "they have no idea how hard that was".... it ain't degree of difficulty, it's the final product... and this has been a good discussion....:cool:

bobainsworth
06-27-2011, 01:57 AM
But painter images are put in the same category as a photographs.

And it's allowed in because no one is willing to draw a line. Everyone just says "you cant draw a line" or "What's too much editing" I could draw a line pretty dang easily.

For example this image won the top prize in the Photographic Wedding category in our local PPO organization. This image is 90+% pure digital art. http://www.ppok.org/page3/files/pasted-graphic-41.jpg

What are your opinions about whether or not it's Digital art or a Photograph?
Should it be allowed in the Photographic categories?

GregYager
06-27-2011, 02:06 AM
That image is obviously not in the gray area. The question I would have is did they have a EI category for it to be entered in?

bobainsworth
06-27-2011, 02:11 AM
Yes they have a EI Category and follow PPA rules or so I'm told.

bobainsworth
06-27-2011, 02:16 AM
By the way does someone have a link to the PPA rules? Because I cant find it. The pages that they should be on just loop back to each other.

Stan_Lawrence
06-27-2011, 02:44 AM
But painter images are put in the same category as a photographs.

And it's allowed in because no one is willing to draw a line. Everyone just says "you cant draw a line" or "What's too much editing" I could draw a line pretty dang easily.

For example this image won the top prize in the Photographic Wedding category in our local PPO organization. This image is 90+% pure digital art. http://www.ppok.org/page3/files/pasted-graphic-41.jpg

What are your opinions about whether or not it's Digital art or a Photograph?
Should it be allowed in the Photographic categories?

I would agree with that, painter images should have their own category.... drawing the line would be a challenge, because your opinion and mine might not be the same line, and there might be couple of hundred other lines.... I would not have entered that as a photograph, and that's just my opinion. The reason I wouldn't be too quick to draw a line is then we start putting rules on the creation of art....and that's just not a good ideas... as Miles once said, their ain't no wrong notes....:cool:

Keith_A_Howe
06-27-2011, 03:02 AM
If the original image was that bad, is any amount of ps going to make it good?
Yes, I have seen it happen many times. I am not going to name names because that would be inappropiate. Do I think it's right? Not really, but that's what comes from not putting rules on the creation of art.


I would agree with that, painter images should have their own category....

What I still don't understand is why anyone wants them in a seperate catergory? What possible benefit is there to do so? It's not going to change any scoring. It's just paperwork.

Keith

Adrian_Henson
06-27-2011, 03:40 AM
"Kirk by your definition of a photograph I could opened a photograph in photoshop fill the entire image with black and draw a red stick man with the brush tool and masked out a single eye from the original image, and I could enter it in the photographic category? I'm sorry I disagree!"

Bob, the real question is, is the resulting image great? The red stick man would not likely score well just because it was manipulated.

My goal for my PO case this year was to create great images that needed little to no photoshop (all adjustment were made in ACR altering levels/WB/color saturation/B&W/Vignette). All four images got merits and one went loan, so it is possible to do well in competition using true "photographic" techniques . My point is that it does not matter how the image was created. The judges have eyes and minds and can recognize good work when they see it. The criteria that allow us to determine what is masterful work has changed very little. If the work is deserving of a merit, a merit will be awarded no matter how it was created. If the work sucks that will reflect likewise. We should worry less about how images are created and work on creating great images any way possible.

Stan_Lawrence
06-27-2011, 03:58 AM
What I still don't understand is why anyone wants them in a seperate catergory? What possible benefit is there to do so? It's not going to change any scoring. It's just paperwork.

Keith

Being ever so slightly competitive, my thought would be an equal playing field. A lot of folks consider competition a matter of competing against yourself, getting better at what you do. Some folks consider competing to be, for example, scoring higher than anyone else. For the first group, your're right, no difference. For the second, I can see the difference. Is it worth changing the system, likely not, even though I can see the reasoning...:cool:

KirkDarling
06-27-2011, 11:27 AM
Being ever so slightly competitive, my thought would be an equal playing field. A lot of folks consider competition a matter of competing against yourself, getting better at what you do. Some folks consider competing to be, for example, scoring higher than anyone else. For the first group, your're right, no difference. For the second, I can see the difference. Is it worth changing the system, likely not, even though I can see the reasoning...:cool:

I may misunderstand how it works, but although there may be rough guidelines as to what percentage of prints may merit, PPA competition not a direct head-to-head competition in which "there can be only one"--PPA competition is a matter of that first group.

bobainsworth
06-27-2011, 12:34 PM
"Kirk by your definition of a photograph I could opened a photograph in photoshop fill the entire image with black and draw a red stick man with the brush tool and masked out a single eye from the original image, and I could enter it in the photographic category? I'm sorry I disagree!"




Bob, the real question is, is the resulting image great? The red stick man would not likely score well just because it was manipulated.


My point here is why would something like that be allowed in a photographic competition?? Of course I know it wouldn't score high but the fact that it would even be considered a photograph is ridiculous.

bobainsworth
06-27-2011, 01:24 PM
What I still don't understand is why anyone wants them in a seperate catergory? What possible benefit is there to do so? It's not going to change any scoring. It's just paperwork.

Keith

So by that reasoning PPA should just do away with all categories, that would be a lot less paperwork.

Or better yet have on big category that allows all art, photographs, digital art, digital painting, sculpture, oil painting, etc... We wouldn't want to draw and lines.

That may sound ridiculous to you but it sounds just as ridiculous to me to allow digital painter files and digital art in a photographic competition ran by a professional photography organisation. PPA's current rules sound more like rules from NAPP.

Stan_Lawrence
06-27-2011, 02:29 PM
So by that reasoning PPA should just do away with all categories, that would be a lot less paperwork.

Or better yet have on big category that allows all art, photographs, digital art, digital painting, sculpture, oil painting, etc... We wouldn't want to draw and lines.

That may sound ridiculous to you but it sounds just as ridiculous to me to allow digital painter files and digital art in a photographic competition ran by a professional photography organisation. PPA's current rules sound more like rules from NAPP.

Actually, for the way comp is done now, it really doesn't sound that bad. In the past there were portrait with portrait judges, commercial with commercial judges, and on down the road. If all the judges were experienced in everything they'd be looking at, that might actually work. Of course, it wouldn't solve the issue you're concerned with....:cool:

GregYager
06-27-2011, 03:26 PM
Interesting thread...even philosophical at times. The one thing I'm seeing that would justify drawing the line and having a Portrait category is the fact that an EI image can double dip whereas a straight portrait cannot. The EI can be entered as EI or as PO but a straight portrait can only be entered as PO. Being that portraits is what makes up the bulk of what most of us do then maybe there should be a category for portraits that doesn't allow EI entries. Any line that gets drawn between the two is sure to be crossed on occasion but that's just a byproduct of the world we live in.

This obviously only becomes an issue in cases of head to head competition such as the image that this thread was started about but we do see head to head at the PPA level as well. Richard Sturdevant took the top award at Imaging this year with very heavily enhanced images. His work was truly amazing and worthy of the award but it was a completely different category from what most of us do on a day to day basis.

I don't think drawing the line would be difficult. I think getting people to stay within the lines would be the challenge.

Michael_Gan
06-27-2011, 04:36 PM
This was mentioned before. The difference between PO and EI/Artist is that EI/Artist is judged primarily on the artist's ability to enhance the image - the image is not necessarily photographed by the artist. This goes way back to the days of the retouch artists.

Also, there is this assumption that your images are competing against other images, which leads to the assumption that your image is at a disadvantage as a "straight" image. This is also a bad assumption as Keith and I can prove - we both merited heavily on client work throughout the years. The judges are very good at judging the images on their own merits.

Keith_A_Howe
06-27-2011, 05:07 PM
Interesting thread...even philosophical at times. The one thing I'm seeing that would justify drawing the line and having a Portrait category is the fact that an EI image can double dip whereas a straight portrait cannot. The EI can be entered as EI or as PO but a straight portrait can only be entered as PO.

The only real justification I've have read here so far. Unfortunately it's only sorta true. That being said - a little history about EI. When it was first created it was for video and slide shows. (for those of you who don't know, back in the dark ages before Animoto we used to do slide shows with 2 to 6 projectors and a disolve unit that faded from one image to the next. Each disolve was individually programed and timesd to music), Then as the industry evolved, it was the place to enter any image that was created with a digital camera. When digital cameras first were out, the image quality was below what a film camera could produce so those images were placed in the EI catergory. In the last 15 years since then, EI has further evolved to become about the digital artwork done to the image. So while its not a good idea to enter a straight image in EI competition, there is no reason you can't.

Also Greg, I know you know this but just in case someone else is reading this thread and misinterpets what you have said. Double dipping as in the option to enter as EI OR PO is fine. Double dipping as in entering the same image in BOTH PO and EI is a huge no no and can result in the loss of merits. Depending upon the circumstances it could also be considered an ethics violation. That's not hypothetical. It has happened.

Keith

Stan_Lawrence
06-27-2011, 05:32 PM
Also, there is this assumption that your images are competing against other images, which leads to the assumption that your image is at a disadvantage as a "straight" image. This is also a bad assumption as Keith and I can prove - we both merited heavily on client work throughout the years. The judges are very good at judging the images on their own merits.

Michael, in a perfect world, each image would be judged on it's own merits. We have humans judging, and they are to some degree going to be affected by the other images entered. I watched a comp years ago when they challenged one of my prints... it ranged from 79 to 86. The judge with the 79's critique was "it's been done before"....if it was judged on it's own merit, that wouldn't matter. (it got an 85) I believe the judges do a great job, and they are on occasion going to be influenced by the other entries.... it's just human nature. :cool:

Michael_Gan
06-27-2011, 06:20 PM
Michael, in a perfect world, each image would be judged on it's own merits. We have humans judging, and they are to some degree going to be affected by the other images entered. I watched a comp years ago when they challenged one of my prints... it ranged from 79 to 86. The judge with the 79's critique was "it's been done before"....if it was judged on it's own merit, that wouldn't matter. (it got an 85) I believe the judges do a great job, and they are on occasion going to be influenced by the other entries.... it's just human nature. :cool:
But have you gone to IPC and watched the judging there? It really is a completely different animal than the local affiliate judgings.

But, let's assume that "It's been done before" comments were made by an IPC judge. Let's say that a black and white of a child holding onto a Dad's arm. To me, I would be referencing the image to something that was "been done very well before" such as the images by Tim Walden that everyone else tries to copy. Most works of this genre don't even come close to what Tim does in terms of posing, storytelling, photographic technique and print quality, to name a few. I doubt that an IPC judge would ever make a comment like the one you've alluded to - and if they did, they shouldn't.

There has to be an element of reasonability (not sure if that's even a word, lol) to all this. We are, after all, a professional trade organization. A great number of photographers are now making a living - and in some cases a good living - doing digital paintings derived from original photographs. As mentioned before, change is inevitable, and we must embrace the change. Some of you younger people haven't a clue as to how hard and long it took for color to be accepted in the pro community. Let this be a historical lesson on how rules can stiffle an entire industry.

GregYager
06-27-2011, 08:12 PM
I highly doubt that creating a portrait category would stifle the entire industry. It would simply allow portraits to be judged in their own category the same way EI has the chance to be judged in it's own category. It's been said repeatedly here that our industry is evolving. It may be more accurate to say it's expanding. We may be adding many forms of digital art but the traditional portrait is still the mainstay of the majority of studios today. We properly expanded by adding the EI category but we fell short in preserving our roots by allowing those images to be placed in whichever category the maker chose. In my mind a category was made for EI so that's where those images should be.

I have nothing against EI and I plan to submit an EI case next year but I do see the need for a Portrait category.

Keith_A_Howe
06-27-2011, 09:45 PM
So by that reasoning PPA should just do away with all categories, that would be a lot less paperwork.

Or better yet have on big category that allows all art, photographs, digital art, digital painting, sculpture, oil painting, etc... We wouldn't want to draw and lines.




Michael, in a perfect world, each image would be judged on it's own merits. We have humans judging, and they are to some degree going to be affected by the other images entered.
...
I believe the judges do a great job, and they are on occasion going to be influenced by the other entries.... it's just human nature. :cool:

What you guys aren't considering about seperating images into more catergories. Judges are trained not to compare one image to the next. But the likelyhood of that happening is way higher when images are grouped and judged in catergories. The success of one portrait is way more likely to be compared to another when we are seeing ten portraits in a row then when everything is mixed up so we may see a portrait, then a wedding, then an illustrative etc etc. So seperating into catergories will have the opposite outcome of what you may be hoping to achieve.

several years ago PEC realized exactly this issue and did away with the catergories of portrait, illustrative & wedding. Instead it was changed to photographic open and entries came before the panel intermingled. It was a good thing. But then members complained because of the misplaced perception that their portrait was being compared to the ilustrative print that came right before it. So this last year PEC went back to seperating. It hasn't made one bit of difference to how we score images. It is simply member perception. Like I said, the sad thing is it sets up way more chances for comparison (even though the judges try really hard not to let it happen) exactly what the complaining members wrongly assumed was happening before.

If I were judging a cooking contest and it was seperated into main courses, appetizers and dessserts and every time a new dish was set in front of me it was from a different catergory, I would be way less likely to compare a creme brulee to the steak I just tasted then if I had just sampled a chocolate mousse. If we see a variety of things in front of us, each has way more impact then if we see ten of the same things in a row.

By the way I see Greg is refering to making a seperate Portrait catagory,,, We already have portraits in a seperate catagory within PO (photographic open). Also not to split hairs here but we have to be careful not to make assumptions that the majority of image makers do mainly portraits (or what ever) just because that happens to be what I do. There are a lot of image makers out there that do mainly weddings, commercial, sports, underclass or even wall decor. That is one of the things that PEC has to take into consideration when considering changes, they are not making the rules to fit themselves but the membership as a whole.
Keith

GregYager
06-27-2011, 10:40 PM
I hate to say this Keith but that makes sense. The more I think about it even the top award I mentioned earlier should be mixed. It's not about the best portrait photographer, wedding photographer or any other type of photographer. It's about the best photographer, period. If I want that award and EI seems to be the big thing at that time then I should do my best EI work. If I don't want to enter EI then I need to enter a portrait that can smoke an EI image.

I have a competitive nature but I prefer to compete with a system rather than against others. Don't mistake this for challenging the system because I actually like the one we have. By competing with the system I have to play by the rules in each category. Doing this with my portraits has made a significant improvement in the quality of my work and my bottom line. When I jump into the EI game I will be adding another asset to my portfolio. This way it doesn't matter which category is doing best because I'll have them both covered.

Stan_Lawrence
06-27-2011, 10:45 PM
But have you gone to IPC and watched the judging there? It really is a completely different animal than the local affiliate judgings.

But, let's assume that "It's been done before" comments were made by an IPC judge. Let's say that a black and white of a child holding onto a Dad's arm. To me, I would be referencing the image to something that was "been done very well before" such as the images by Tim Walden that everyone else tries to copy. Most works of this genre don't even come close to what Tim does in terms of posing, storytelling, photographic technique and print quality, to name a few. I doubt that an IPC judge would ever make a comment like the one you've alluded to - and if they did, they shouldn't.



It was at PPC, and it was an affiliate judging.... and the gentlemen that gave it an 86 responded with "but he did it so well"....(bless his heart) It wasn't a matter of copying someone, (can't recall who photographed the first pretty girl...) it was a matter of comparison. Like I said, they're human and that's ok....:cool:

Keith_A_Howe
06-27-2011, 10:53 PM
Stan, how many years ago was this? I know you haven't entered for quite a number of years. And while years ago that might have been an acceptable comment for an affilaite juror, it certainly would not be today.

Keith

Stan_Lawrence
06-27-2011, 11:11 PM
Stan, how many years ago was this? I know you haven't entered for quite a number of years. And while years ago that might have been an acceptable comment for an affilaite juror, it certainly would not be today.

Keith

It was the late 1800's.... probably the late 1980's/earlly 1990's.... likely times have changed....:cool:

Keith_A_Howe
06-27-2011, 11:19 PM
It was the late 1800's.... probably the late 1980's/earlly 1990's.... likely times have changed....:cool:

Yep, it used to be comman practise also to say "well if you start from a hundred and subtract points . . . " We don't say that anymore either because that's not the way we do it.

Keith

Rick_Massarini
06-27-2011, 11:23 PM
It was the late 1800's.... likely times have changed....:cool:

Ah yes - the late 1800's... I remember one of those competitions - you, me, and Matt Brady were all in it together...:rolleyes:

Stan_Lawrence
06-28-2011, 12:14 AM
Ah yes - the late 1800's... I remember one of those competitions - you, me, and Matt Brady were all in it together...:rolleyes:

Dude, I got so tired of losing to Matt....;)

Michael_Gan
06-28-2011, 12:56 AM
Ha! Brady was easy. Julia Margaret Cameron...now she was a tough one to beat with all that fantasy stuff, and painting copycatting. Then Steichen started painting on top of photos. Tsk tsk ;)

Rick_Massarini
06-28-2011, 01:21 AM
Ha! Brady was easy. Julia Margaret Cameron...now she was a tough one to beat with all that fantasy stuff, and painting copycatting. Then Steichen started painting on top of photos. Tsk tsk ;)

And then Al Stieglitz got aggravated about artists judging photographers work and started that "Photo Secession" group to make photography "pure" and not diluted by perceptions regarding painted art...
...and the same discussions surface again...
...and the wheel goes around and around and around again...

Ya know... it's terrible to be so danged old that you remember all that stuff...

mrbarton
06-28-2011, 02:18 PM
There is far to much to reply to here. This gets talked about a lot. Well, more than a lot. It pretty much comes up all the time. There is a HUGE difference in this particular discussion which is truly great. There's no slander and shouting. That's how it pretty much ends up.

If we consider Stan's quote (and very well played I might add), we must realize that Ansel Adams was not a photographer by some definitions of the term. Neither was George Hurrell, or many of the greats. Hurrell has been considered by many of the greats. It has been said that he spent countless hours in the darkroom retouching negatives and perfecting the final image. Ansel Adams was responsible for refining an entire system for capturing and printing images that is still taught today. It has been said that an Ansel Adams negative looks nothing like the final print. This is truly what made him great. He captured exactly what he needed to in order to print his images exactly the way he needed. The negative was completely relevant, yet the printing process was just as vital.

I appreciate the fact that no one is arguing the virtues of Photoshop on here. That's refreshing as that happens all the time and frankly makes me want to smash an enlarger as blasphemy. The reality is that we are in the same world yet Photoshop has replaced our darkroom and given us a new set of tools. It's interesting that once upon a time spending a full day in a darkroom was a virtue. Spending a week on a single negative was genius. When you consider the new darkroom, there is a tremendous double standard. Then again, I'm probably one of the guys that people don't like because of all the digital work. This said, I also loaned a book of weeds shot in a garage for 2 hours and converted them to black and white on the plane ride an hour after that.... Competition is about stretching ourselves and stretching the industry. Finding what is possible and taking things to a new level. It's not about standing still. Think of it like a fashion show. Some designers do some crazy things. At the time they may not make sense but it's funny to see how many of those ideas end up on the racks a Macy's 6 months later.

Michael_Gan
06-28-2011, 03:29 PM
Michael, we tried to explain this with examples, you did very well in explaining this concisely:) It all comes down to how much knowledge of photographic history one has before making broad statements.

Tss1203
06-28-2011, 05:23 PM
. He captured exactly what he needed to in order to print his images exactly the way he needed. The negative was completely relevant, yet the printing process was just as vital.


Yes!
I've been following this thread but didn't get a chance to reply.

This is exactly it, Michael. If digital enhancements help me acheive the vision I have in my mind I'm all for it. Still is a photograph to me, it still started with a capture created in a camera.

Missy50
06-28-2011, 05:57 PM
I have been following this thread as well. I think I am still on the fence with this. At one time I began to feel that excessive photoshopping changed the photograph into something else. However, in film days, I saw some incredible things created in the darkroom. Yes, it took time, tech skills, $$$ (sometimes a lot sometimes a little), patience, and a lot of experimenting, and it was still called a photograph. And many used tools from the 'art world'.

The difference is, now an artist can sit down at the computer, open up PS or painter (just like photographers), pick up their tablet and start painting, water-coloring, etc. Whatever moves them. And using the same techniques that photographers use to enhance a photo, they are painting/drawing original work. Sometimes the end work does not even resemble the original photograph.

Soooo....

KirkDarling
06-28-2011, 08:09 PM
It's interesting that once upon a time spending a full day in a darkroom was a virtue. Spending a week on a single negative was genius.


One of my idols was W. Eugene Smith, who was reputed to spend days printing a single negative. Of course, in his case he was hampered by tools that were not up to his vision--he probably not have to work so hard if he could shoot at 1600 ISO. OTOH, he'd probably still push his tools beyond their capabilties.

mrbarton
06-28-2011, 09:37 PM
It is a new world and it's not going back. Look at music in the 90's. It became much cheaper and easier to record. There were a lot of really terrible musicians that came out of this new technology. This said, there were also many great bands that were discovered that would have never been able to share their music otherwise. A bit of a Catch 22.

Tss1203
06-28-2011, 10:42 PM
hmm..I wonder, why is it that some view photoshopping an image "bad"?

I used to be guilty of thinking "that's just photoshopped, so it's not a *real* photograph". Deep down that was really because I knew nothing about photoshop.

I remember an image my Dad did of a bride and groom and he had a telephone poll removed from the print. (I only remember the image b/c I accidentally ruined the print right before client delivery!) Would that have been any less of a photograph? I don't think so. So why should it be any less of a photograph because it was retouched in photoshop?

And digital manipulation aside, you still need to start with a good basic photograph just as you would have 'back in the day' in the darkroom. It's about adapting to the changes.....

Keith_A_Howe
06-29-2011, 12:04 AM
No one on this thread has said Photoshop is bad. No one on this thread has suggested we should go backwards or ignore new technologies available to us. The way I understand it all Bob was suggesting is there be a seperate catergory that relies strictly or mainly on camera skills. It's not going back, it's not eliminating PS, it's just measuring a different skill set. So while this discussion has gone past Bob's original concerns, to address our industry as a whole and non-specific photographers who may or may not know their photographic history, can we at least be clear that it's not Bob we are talking about? That Bob is not ignorant of history nor has he made any broad statements or suggested PS is bad. Because if that's not clear, then Bob would certainly have grounds to be offended.

Personally I am ambivelent about adding a SOC or nearly SOC catergory, but I certainly don't think history should be a justification for NOT having such a catergory. There are a whole lot of things that were different a lot of years ago. "Because that's how it used to be" is never a good reason to not consider other options. Several PPA board members have personally said to me that they want to look at the sacred cows and change what needs to be changed. Doesn't sound like our organization is relying on history to detirmine future directions either. If this truly is as widespread of a concern as some have suggested, then certainly PPA and PEC should examine the sacred cow.

Keith

Tss1203
06-29-2011, 01:20 AM
I almost thru a disclaimer in there saying this wasn't directed at anyone but I didn't :0) ...so, here it is- no, I wasn't talking about Bob, I was being general. But yes, I have heard comments saying photoshop is bad.

Stan_Lawrence
06-29-2011, 04:12 AM
I almost thru a disclaimer in there saying this wasn't directed at anyone but I didn't :0) ...so, here it is- no, I wasn't talking about Bob, I was being general. But yes, I have heard comments saying photoshop is bad.

Actually PS itself is quite good, sadly, the world is full of really bad PS...:cool:

Michael_Gan
06-29-2011, 06:03 AM
It isn't about Bob that we're talking about. He even mentioned that this was a discussion of concern from a group he was talking about. We're not shooting the messenger, he just happened to be the only one attending the crossfire;).

Keith, it's not just several of the board members who look at all the sacred cows, it's all of them. That is the hallmark of what turned this association around. If only the other associations would practice the same thing.

A lot of sacred cows were identified and dealt with in IPC and much shouting was done in the process. Now that the shouting has finally quieted down by a lot, I'm sure we can examine all the other intricacies like this discussion. But, to make things clear to those not familiar with how sacred cows are eliminated, these decisions are not made on a whim. Everything is examined and analyzed very carefully with information that is far greater than anyone could possibly imagine - some of that information surprises the board members quite often.

This argument that Bob has brought up is hardly new. It's been brought up in this forum several times before. I've heard it from all over the country in discussions with other photographers. And, this question has been around for as far back I can remember. Keith, remember how there was a minor uproar over images in print comp being submitted with artwork done by the labs/retouch artists? At least many of the entrants are doing their own work nowadays:).

So, let's look at this from a professional prospective. We can only hope that what we do for our clients are the very best image that we can deliver. Keith, you and I are probably on the same page as the both of us pride ourselves with receiving our Masters with primarily client work. A feat that most other Masters cannot lay claim to. And isn't that what print competition in a professional trade organization is all about? To pursue the best work for our clients and show the world what the best in professional photography?

Tss1203
06-29-2011, 12:12 PM
Actually PS itself is quite good, sadly, the world is full of really bad PS...:cool:

lol, very true!!

TracyeGibson
06-29-2011, 12:18 PM
Po-tay-toes /po-tah-toes...can't we all just get along? Art is art and its all subjective anyway.

Personally, I wish there was a higher fee for people who enter digitally as opposed to prints. People with prints fork out the cash up front and for digital, PPA forks out the bucks for high end monitors and calibrations. ;)

Keith_A_Howe
06-29-2011, 01:10 PM
Personally, I wish there was a higher fee for people who enter digitally as opposed to prints. People with prints fork out the cash up front and for digital, PPA forks out the bucks for high end monitors and calibrations. ;)

When you get right down to it, our entry fees pay for the moniters. But prints take more staff* to handle and have to be trucked to IPC, storage until Jan and then trucked to IUSA, so I am guessing in the end it's pretty much a wash or actually more expensive to handle prints.

Keith

* Just to clarify, it's paid staff that unpacks and sorts prints when they are shipped to IPC. Once the competition starts, the print crew is all vounteer. After IUSA volunteers pull down the print show, but paid staff are the ones who sort prints back into cases and get them ready to ship.

bobainsworth
06-29-2011, 02:23 PM
Fire away I have a pretty thick skin ;) My point was to address the the print categories and kind of see where everyone's photograph/digital art line was.
Clearly mine is a lot farther back than most here. We are all professionals here and I'm glad we have kept the debate that way as well. Hopefully this thread has had a positive effect on all involved and has made everyone think about the direction of photography as a whole, regardless if your opinion has changed or not.

TracyeGibson
06-30-2011, 03:13 PM
I understand your point of view Bob. I didn't like print competiton during film days because I thought it was SO unfair that the photog got all the credit when I KNEW that print had been worked on by neg retouchers and an artist. I thought ALL people who had touched that print should get credit. I just joined PPA and started entering print comp 3 years ago because even though I am one of those annoying people who 'paint' an image and enter it in 'open', I do ALL the work myself, including printing and mounting. ;)

bobainsworth
07-01-2011, 02:40 PM
@ Tracye - Let me start off I really like the digital painting. I need to teach myself how to do it :)

My question to you is, on your site you have "competition prints" and a lot of them are digital paintings as you said. But you also have the same images listed in other galleries on your site as "digital art". You said you entered them in the photographic open categories, so do still consider them "photographs" or "digital art"?

mrbarton
07-01-2011, 06:11 PM
This is perhaps the most polite debate about print categories that I have ever seen! This is certainly a hot button that gets a lot of dander raised. Kudos to all for keeping it productive. There are a lot of great ideas in here. I know people are paying attention to it. Keith, I completely agree that progress is progress and the future often gets compromised in the name of tradition. You worded that much better but you are on target with that. One thing I personally like about the Masters "path" is that it allows each person to set their own "rules" and there are many routes to take. It is a chance to grow in many ways and truly that's one of the most satisfying thing. When a person gets there degree there is usually an army of people supporting that person and helping carry a bit of that burden. It's a pretty amazing moment when that degree is given. that will evolve and there will inevitably be new guidelines and protocol. This said, at the core, there is a great learning opportunity in there.

Bob, thanks for taking the time to start this discussion. Not to come off patronizing, but it's honestly good to see constructive conversation on the topic.

Shena_Luke
08-22-2011, 08:36 PM
I believe that a photograph stops being a photograph, when you completely change the original picture and make it something else, or add to the original picture so much you can't see the original.