Monday, March 19, 2012

Digital Photography -- Creativity and Ethics

Mirage, Digital Photograph, 5810 x 7700 pixels
350ppi. Manipulated in Photoshop. 2011
I ran across this very well written article, The Ethics of Digital Manipulation (link is below), on the ethics of manipulated or enhanced photography. It raises a lot of good points and is a very informational read. Here is an excerpt.

"When photography was first invented, its overwhelming power came from the fact that it recorded nature more realistically than any other art form had ever done before. Because of this, people trusted it and believed it portrayed "reality" and "truth". But, just as story telling could portray the "truth" with an accurate accounting of the facts, it could just as easily become fiction. Fake and manipulated photographs - visual fiction - began circulating not long after the invention of photography."

The article goes on to give early examples of photo manipulation and how people today believe that the advent of Photoshop is where it all began. Not true.

With my newfound interest in photography, I disagree with the author of this article. He, Jerry Lodriguss, is not impressed with unreal depictions using manipulation of the original photo. But, I say, why not? The original photograph is no longer showing us reality anyway. The photographer has taken artistic license in how the image is portrayed by framing and cropping the final image. There are all kinds of ways that photographers now and then have used their medium to portray a certain mood and capture the feeling of the moment.

One Small Act: A Christo Moment, Performance documented 
by Digital Photography, Photo Montage, 7700 x 19250 pixels,
 350 ppi. Photoshop. 2012

Photo Montage of 11 different photographs.
This is manipulation of  the original photos  to
portray a sequence of photos and capture a performance.

How often do you discover that you cannot capture that feeling with a raw image that you shot when you were on vacation? It is near to impossible unless you are a super professional or super talent in the medium. Personally, I like to let my creative juices fly when I sit down to photoshop. I also like to simply tweak the photo to enhance the color and clarity of my original photo. I am quite a newbie with it. I have much more to learn. My creativity awaits.

How about you? What do you do with your photographs after taking them? Do you prefer to make them look more real? Or do you like to play around with it and enhance beyond reality?

The Ethics of Digital Manipulation:

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