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Thread: When does PP take an image beyond a "photo" and make it "art"?

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    When does PP take an image beyond a "photo" and make it "art"?

    In a recent thread where people made some enhancements to a person's photo, it struck me that by the time you make the clouds so dark and foreboding that they look nothing like the original, and enhance colours, and darken moods, and do all the other things that can make a photo really look amazing, it gets to a point where you've gone past creating a "photo" which to me is a representation of a scene as it existed, and gone into a realm of "art" where you are creating an "image" or an interpretation of something in a form that it did not exist.

    It made me think. Pure photography, just rendering a scene realistically, is still "art" but there's also a point where PP can go beyond a "Photo" and become some kind of unrelated "artwork"
    How wide is the line between the two, and how blurred is that line?
    Might make an interesting discussion. I can see people doing art degrees given it as a topic ;P
    Canon EOS 60D ..... EFS 18-200mm f/3.5 - 5.6 IS - 430 EXII Speedlite - "eBay special" Remote Control Unit - Manfrotto 190XPROB w 804RC2 head.

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Can..Worms!

    I know were you are coming from, the underlying issue is that where you perceive the lines become blurred is different to where I might see them, and everyone as well. Over the years there have been numerous discussions on forums, at camera clubs, between professionals, students and more, about defining that point, but no-one has ever been able to agree, so there is no defined point that determines when a photo becomes digital art.

    Certainly, I have seen a trend recently, even at AIPP event level to process photos to beyond what I would call a photo, but these images are getting high scores and even winning. So maybe my perception is out of alignment with others.
    "It is one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it is another thing to make a portrait of who they are" - Paul Caponigro

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    That line is as wide as you want - it is different for different people at different parts of their photography timeline. That line is also legally blind and shifts like sand in the wind.

    for me, art can be SOOC or dragged around the PP block - at the end of the day its the end result and the vision of the photographer that should be judged. imo, when it comes to really good images the PP only equates to 15% of the end result.
    Some Nikon stuff... gerrys photo journey
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    No amount of processing will fix bad composition - trust me i have tried.

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    Ausphotography Regular wideangle's Avatar
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    Artistic expression and creativity are in the eye of the photographer and how they perceive their subject. A persons emotional response to the subject can influence the way in which a photograph is processed, and in that way it's telling a story about the scene through the photographers eye.
    please ask before PP my images

    "Life is what happens to you while your busy making other plans"

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    Member Dittography's Avatar
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    I think how wide and how blurred the line is between a photo and artwork is a subjective choice of the individual and where each person draws that line doesn't really matter. If the photographer creates an image that gives him/her and some people that view it some pleasure, stirs emotion or generates thinking then it's probably a succesful image. Personally I think some images are better left as a more accurate recording and others lend themselves to a bit more room for playing. Is converting a photo to Black and White wrong or art just because it isn't an exact replication of the scene? What about using a shallow dof to hide that ugly background or framing slightly to the left to avoid the rubish bin... So maybe the art starts as soon as you choose the settings and point the camera?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ezookiel
    In a recent thread where people made some enhancements to a person's photo, it struck me that by the time you make the clouds so dark and foreboding that they look nothing like the original, and enhance colours, and darken moods, and do all the other things that can make a photo really look amazing, it gets to a point where you've gone past creating a "photo" which to me is a representation of a scene as it existed, and gone into a realm of "art" where you are creating an "image" or an interpretation of something in a form that it did not exist.

    It made me think. Pure photography, just rendering a scene realistically, is still "art" but there's also a point where PP can go beyond a "Photo" and become some kind of unrelated "artwork"

    How wide is the line between the two, and how blurred is that line?
    Might make an interesting discussion. I can see people doing art degrees given it as a topic ;P
    The line is blurred and wide.
    Does it matter though? The only situation where i would like a realistic rendition was for commercial purposes.
    Successful People Make Adjustments - Evander Holyfield

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    Member Cargo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dittography View Post
    I think how wide and how blurred the line is between a photo and artwork is a subjective choice of the individual and where each person draws that line doesn't really matter. If the photographer creates an image that gives him/her and some people that view it some pleasure, stirs emotion or generates thinking then it's probably a succesful image.
    To me photography is an art form as much as painting, printmaking or ceramics & art is interpreted differently by everyone ... I think its a very personal choice, to me there is no right or wrong and if I like it whether its a "photo" or "art" .... I just enjoy the image
    Cheers Cargo
    Last edited by WhoDo; 18-05-2012 at 4:28pm. Reason: Fixed quote tag

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    Good points - I never even thought of the issue of B&W versions - that brings in another whole dimension. It really is a wide blurry line.
    I've never doubted that even SOOC photos can be "art". You only have to see how differently the same scene can be captured by someone with even a small amount of talent, contrasted with someone else's 'Happy Snap" of the same scene, if they have no idea what they're doing.
    As has been mentioned, I guess the purpose of the image comes into play. An accurate record of how something looks might necessitate a less "interpretive" image, but how do we know whether something we took today wont one day be used as an historical record. Look at very very early photos of places and things that today we rely on as our only record of something. We might do a fantastic job of artying up some image, only to find our great grandkids using it to know what the place their ancestors lived, was like.
    Though I imagine there won't be quite such a shortage of images from the past, in our future, as there is now for us of photos from the past.

    It does however make it hard for those getting into photography. A friend compared my PP'ed images from a trip to their ones, and seemed to feel a bit disappointed in theirs. When I said the same could be done to theirs, they said they want to get better at taking photos, not at using the computer. Has it now reached a point where you can't separate the two - to be a good photographer you HAVE to be good with PP software?

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    Arch-Σigmoid Ausphotography Regular ameerat42's Avatar
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    ...I dunno! I just dunno! And I firmly believe that!
    m.
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    LOL at ameerat. I'm with you.

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