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My opinion is that you simply have to find your own boundaries of what you are comfortable doing in photography. I have had this discussion with journalist/photographers for years. They believe to alter the photo in any way is deceitful, and dishonest. I have pointed out that composition alone can completely change the reality of what actually occurred. Journalist use to use flash quite often, and they adjust images to mimic the human eye's dynamic range etc. Many believe they merely record an event, but through the above examples they can project their bias, and their POV. Sure, in journalism you can't draw out distracting parts of the image, or overly retouch. But, photography is far broader field than journalism. And photo journalism is not a record of reality - try as they might, and as close as they get.
I produce images to effect the viewer, to convey my feeling, or vision. An idealized reality, reality as I see it, or a plausible reality, and even a fantasy reality. Instead of using paint and a brush - I use light and the absence of light. It is not deceitful - it is art. When it's not art, then it tends towards capturing something most people don't get a chance to see - (I'm thinking of Bird Photos, Landscapes, Cityscapes, Seacapes etc). My boundaries in Photography are broad, some will be broader, and some narrower than I.
The most poignant example of this philosophical question that I can think of is a winning photo of the year by an AP about 10 years ago. The photographer was in Sudan (I think) waiting for a young boy to fall over from starvation...as a group of vultures stood (as big as the boy) within mere arms reach of the boy. As he waited for the right time to capture the moment he struggled within himself about should he help the boy or record the imminent death. He thought about the chocolate bar he had in his pocket....how well fed he was...could he actually yank this kid back from the edge of death's door. He took the photo, and left the boy. A few years later he committed suicide, because of his decision. Detached professionalism on the razors edge of ethics. See, I could never be a photojournalist, because my nature is to get involved. I am not saying that photo journalism puts the photo before humanity. I'm just illustrating going over the edge of right and wrong (IMO) in the "purist" view of straight capture. Examples of altered photos (the other side of the philosophical question) stepping over this line happen quite often (IMO), and are easier to point out. That last bit is a subjective opinion.
Happy Shooting to you too..
Yakim Peled wrote:
I know what you mean. My father did this approximately 35 years ago with 6X6 film when I was a child. He printed my face on top of his forehead as if to say he is thinking of me. Always thought about this pic as a bit odd….
I agree that it indeed is a philosophical question but I can't agree with the notion that great photos are rarely candid captures. Some are, others aren't. Now we can really get philosophical…..
I guess I need to learn PS a bit more to get out of this conservatism. Problem is,...Show more →