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Re: Pondering the Purist Approach to Digital Photography

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  • shane_dublincentre
    Hi Sharani This was a very interesting post. I think one can fall into the trap of confusing misuse of a tool with the tool itself. In the case of photo
    Message 1 of 6 , Oct 27, 2006
      Hi Sharani

      This was a very interesting post. I think one can fall into the trap
      of confusing misuse of a tool with the tool itself. In the case of
      photo editing, someone can use it to bring out what he feels is the
      'soul-sense' of a picture, or he can use it in the detrimental ways
      you described. I guess its the same with mony, any other form of
      technology - and since we cant put the genie back in the bottle, the
      only alternative is to demonstrate how these things can be used for
      the benefit of the soul.

      I think edited photos and natural ones may give rise to subtly
      different feelings when you look at them. This is probably not an
      issue I will have time to explore further in this lifetime, let alone
      articulate, so I'll cede the field to others for their opinion. Im
      just glad other people take photos so I dont have to :)


      --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, sharani_sharani
      <no_reply@...> wrote:
      > Your answer reminded me of a scene from the film "Modigliani" in which
      > Picasso responds to a man who is disturbed that the portrait he
      > commissioned of his wife looks nothing like her:
      > "A man once criticized Picasso for creating unrealistic art. Picasso
      > asked him: "Can you show me some realistic art?" The man showed him a
      > photograph of his wife. Picasso observed: "So your wife is two inches
      > tall, two-dimensional, with no arms and no legs, and no color but only
      > shades of grey?"
      > http://www.answers.com/topic/pablo-picasso
      > I'm probably not unlike that man in that I am a greenhorn in the art
      > world, not having studied it formally since taking required classes in
      > high school. I find your comments quite interesting but still feel
      > torn about how completely I agree with you. During a morning earlier
      > this month, I took photos as the sun rose at a nature preserve with a
      > salt marsh. I took many, many photos and some showed one structure
      > that looked like the skeleton of a teepee at various shades of light
      > in the sky. The one that I loaded into my gallery
      > is unedited and shows the light in the sky as best the camera could
      > capture it at that stage of the sun rising.
      > While you suggest that it is a starting point to be expanded upon, I
      > have this feeling that the particular shade of pink tinged in the sky
      > is already perfect and why even take the photo at all if I'm just
      > going to alter the colour into something more completely of my
      > imagination than of the sky that I witnessed that morning.
      > Maybe too my perspective is influenced by all the ingredients that
      > make up my personality. I used to be a history major and quite
      > political so I find myself thinking of things like is it ethical to
      > erase people out of the background at the Kamakura Concert given by
      > Sri Chinmoy in July? The same person that was teaching me how to erase
      > the microphone said she had removed all the people from the background
      > of her concert photos from that day. In that case, why not just take a
      > photo of Sri Chinmoy and superimpose it in front of the Buddha statue?
      > If the purpose of the photo is simply to evoke something beautiful,
      > then perhaps this is not as blasphemous as it feels to me...
      > I also am perhaps influenced by knowledge of the great amount of
      > alteration of images that exists in the media and advertising which
      > portrays women in particular quite unlike what they look like in real
      > life. I have actually seen films on the subject which delineate how
      > these cultural influences seem to conspire to deflate the average
      > female's self-esteem because such a premium is placed on a woman's
      > appearance in society and the woman ends up feeling like she never
      > measures up to the airbrushed heavily edited images in magazines, etc.
      > Maybe the way I can shorthand it for myself is to use the analogy that
      > if I were a filmmaker I guess I would be making documentaries rather
      > than dramas. I can count on one hand (maybe even one finger) the
      > number of times that I have "arranged" nature before I photographed
      > it. Most of the time I am just observing the environment around me and
      > delight in photographing things which in my eyes boast their own
      > artistic sensibility untouched by my interference.
      > Then again, your photos are some of the most striking shared on the
      > Sri Chinmoy Centre Galleries so if it is the impression on the viewer
      > that measures the merit of art then seeking and realizing the vision
      > latent in something rings true as well.
      > Interestingly, your reply and Kedar's were at almost polar opposites,
      > wherein he even eschews cropping a photo. Since you both exhibit
      > mastery, perhaps the moral of the story is that each person has to
      > find and follow their muse in a most unique and personal manner.
      > Sharani
      > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, pavitrata27
      > <no_reply@> wrote:
      > >
      > > Hi Sharani,
      > >
      > > C'est moi, 'weighing in' again! What does it take for a Leo to learn
      > > to tip-toe in?
      > >
      > > For me it's simple, I have a vision, or an idea, or a perception of
      > > how I want the finished image to look. All a camera does is transfer
      > > shapes, colors, tones and forms to film or chip. The fact that the
      > > end product actually appears to be an apple or a sunset is neither
      > > here nor there. A good painter will take what is seen inwardly or
      > > outwardly and use his/her skills to present that vision on canvas.
      > > Why should photography be any different? Why should a finished photo
      > > look exactly like the image that streamed through the lens onto the
      > > negative or chip? The worst chain a painter, or indeed any artist,
      > > could have around the leg is the one that holds them to what
      > > is 'there', or what the eye or the camera lens (notoriously
      > > selective and unreliable witnesses, both) perceive to be there.
      > >
      > > If you painted a scene in oils and put a small dog somewhere in it,
      > > then later decided that it didn't work, who could possibly say to
      > > you, 'You can't paint over that dog!' If a microphone is in the way
      > > of a fine photo, get rid of it, there's no difference between that
      > > and the distracting dog! It's like an artist working outdoors and
      > > then taking the painting home to continue it, and someone
      > > saying, 'Oh, that's not valid; he carried on working at home'.
      > >
      > > For all that, I do feel that no amount of post-processing can turn a
      > > weak photo into a powerful or moving one. There has to be something
      > > fundamentally true, composed or realized in the original photo.
      > > However, until you have played around with photos either in the
      > > darkroom or on the computer you may not see the full potential of a
      > > photo you have taken. Remember, though, there is also a point in
      > > photographic image manipulation where truth of vision becomes
      > > artifice, and people will have a feeling that something is `not
      > > right' or that's it's just too contrived.
      > >
      > > For the purposes of this post I have just put on my Gallery a `from
      > > camera' and `after editing' combined photo. It's nothing special,
      > > just a simple photo of a peaceful evening. When I got home the image
      > > from the camera just didn't correspond to my feelings about the
      > > place, which were of clarity and space, hence the editing. I am
      > > happier with the sense of space and quality of light in the edited
      > > image; others may disagree. The two photos are on one page of the
      > > Gallery at:
      > >
      > > http://tinyurl.com/y7ayqj
      > >
      > > That's a shortcut to the long Gallery web address.
      > >
      > > There are also those times where through skill, chance or good
      > > technology an image will come off the camera just right, and need,
      > > or seem to need nothing doing to it. You will only really know that
      > > for sure when you are aware of what is possible; a good photographer
      > > can only become a better photographer by understanding what the
      > > options are for the photograph he/she has produced.
      > >
      > > Too many words already, so much for the tip-toe.
      > >
      > > I can't resist finishing with this quote from the great Ansel Adams.
      > >
      > > "I eagerly await new concepts and processes. I believe that the
      > > electronic image will be the next major advance. Such systems will
      > > have their own inherent and inescapable structural characteristics,
      > > and the artist and functional practitioner will again strive to
      > > comprehend and control them."
      > >
      > >
      > > pip-pip
      > > Pavitrata
      > >
      > > ...............................................................
      > >
      > >
      > > --- In Sri_Chinmoy_Inspiration@yahoogroups.com, sharani_sharani
      > > <no_reply@> wrote:
      > > >
      > > > I just had my first lesson yesterday morning in New York in how to
      > > > alter photos in Photoshop to do things like take out the microphone
      > > > from a photo of Sri Chinmoy on stage in concert. I've observed
      > > updated
      > > > photos from Japan undergo this edit where first the photo was
      > > uploaded
      > > > with the microphone there then a revised version with the
      > > microphone
      > > > removed.
      > > >
      > > > I'm curious to know how people who like to take photos feel about
      > > the
      > > > level of editing and retouching they do to a photo. I've got lots
      > > > still to learn since I've barely ever used Photoshop but I do often
      > > > crop photos and perhaps sharpen or hit the auto enhance button on
      > > the
      > > > photo. And I must mention that Pavitrata has weighed in on the
      > > subject
      > > > feeling that the editing is practically where the real artistic
      > > work
      > > > begins.
      > > >
      > > > In a few categories I am a purist. I tend to feel that a photo of
      > > the
      > > > sky, clouds, the sunrise or sunset should stay unenhanced or
      > > untouched
      > > > in saturation because the colours of light in the sky are so
      > > > multifaceted that I wish to keep them pristine just as they were
      > > when
      > > > I took the photograph.
      > > >
      > > > Then again, sometimes I've adjusted settings on the camera to the
      > > > night setting or to manual mode and I've just learned about using
      > > > polarizing? glass to reduce glare once the sun actually rises. On a
      > > > recent sunrise photo shoot I didn't really use any of the photos
      > > taken
      > > > once the sun came up above the trees/horizon because there was too
      > > > much glare in the photo.
      > > >
      > > > Then in things such as photography contests, I see sometimes that
      > > they
      > > > specify that digital photo entries cannot be too radically edited.
      > > Or
      > > > there is a completely separate category for digitized art.
      > > >
      > > > Are there certain photos where you keep the colours just as they
      > > came
      > > > out when it was taken? Like my sunset, sunrise photos? Curious
      > > minds
      > > > like mine are interested to know.
      > > >
      > > > Sharani
      > > >
      > >
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