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Thread: Judgement Day for Photoshop

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Judgement Day for Photoshop

    users!

    POTY Denmark discussion

    the link above is to an article discussing the over use of Photoshop for manipulating images.

    I for one am not a big fan of overly processed images, but as long as the information is available in a single image and can be processed out, without the use of external data.. then to me a photo is a photo. Otherwise just an image.

    This Klavs fellow got hard done by in my opinion.

    The processing is a bit extreme... but not all that unreasonable(IMHO)

    where they talk about the chair(in the third example) about changing the colour to yellow!!.. I don't get it? I can't see the fuss, and as I've already said, I'm not a fan of overly processed photos... that to me looks more than acceptable.. very contrasty and saturated. but from my experience the originals are more than likely not representative of the actual scene at the time of capture.

    Of course not knowing how this Klavs fellow processed his images.. whether he'd used selective color to alter a green chair into a yellow chair or whatever(highly unlikely! ) but the alteration of that yellow chair looks like simple dodging and burning techniques.

    So(and this is the part that I can't fathom!! ) they voted out his images based on the fact that he's altered the colours too far from the original image.. yet it's quite acceptable to submit black and white images!!

    Am I going insane or does that not make sense?

    You can take an image with reds, greens, blues and yellows and make it black grey and white.. ie. massive and totally unrealistic wholesale changes to the colour scheme and it's ok... but if you saturate a little(ok!! a lot ) here and there and make colours more vibrant, it's not allowed.

    Wrong!! they want their cake and they want to eat it too.

    my sympathies are with klavs in this case, and while there are limits as to how much processing should be acceptable, there should be well defined limits and not random and arbitrary selection of personal preferences. ie. adding a totally different sky to a photo to make it look nicer or more dramatic should be disallowed... but pushing and pulling 'lost details' as Klavs seems to have done in his photos should be acceptable.
    He got 'punished' for having the most capable sensor in DSLR circles!

    curious on others thoughts too.. not just 'acceptable' limits on photoshopping, but of the inequity of that particular award(and how I perceive it's relevance as null and void!)


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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    I am wading through the discussion, but after a quick look at the RAW file and the resultant photo. He hasnt clone much out or added anything that changes the entire scene into something it wasn't. I think he has been harshly treated.

    We have all seen, and probably done ourselves an overprocessed photo at times. It is part of the learning curve of working with digital images and manipulating them. We could all be guilty of it, I am sure.

    Just how much processing is to much? Well that argument has been going on since before digital photography, even darkroom techniques pushed the boundaries at time.

    The statement "Some years ago the committee behind the contest - which is identical to the board members in The Danish Union of Press Photographers - changed the rules of Picture of The Year. Photos submitted to Picture of The Year must be a truthful representation of whatever happened in front of the camera during exposure", is really what this argument is all about. When you take the above statement on blind faith, interpret it literally, then maybe Klav has over-processed the photos for entry into THAT competition.

    He could enter the same processed photo into another competition and be lauded and applauded for his work.

    I don't think we will ever find a solution to this discussion, that has been going on for years with Digital Photography, before that with Film photography and even earlier with Artists depiction of scenes. Take Leonardo Da Vinci's, Madonna on the Rocks. Leonardo painted two versions of this, cause the Catholic Church found the first version offensive.

    All we, as digital photographers can do, is read the rules of competitions carefully and chose appropriate entries, based on those rules.
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    I disagree. I am with the judges on this one. It was a PRESS photographer award, not an Open or Artistic award. To me a press photographer, by definintion, records facts. The first image, the landscape, is almost surreal in comparison to the original, and so is the second one of the woman in the slum.

    I have long been appalled at the licence allowed professional photographers and the awards they win for massively photoshoppped/manipulated images. I have one in a magazine here where the original image was a very flat landscape of the White Cliffs of Dover. Once the photographer had added 21 photoshop adjustment layers and totally changed it from a flat landscape to a very oversaturated dramatic stormy one it won first prize in the landscape section. Frankly, to me it is cheating.

    I feel many of the photographers on this forum are ghouing the same way, almost every POTW winner is , IMHO, oversaturated. I have been mentally compso9ing a thread about it for a week or so and am glad you have opnened a discussion on this topic.
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    AH! as for Klavs' image, it's certainly over processed.. that's for sure.. but if they allow black and white images captured with a color digital sensor.. surely that's even more 'over processed' (that was more to the point).

    Sure....fill up a roll of Ilford, scan the images it and digitise them.. but to capture an image with a modern digital sensor and convert them to black and white is much more highly processed than any over use of saturation and contrast.

    I reckon 80% of what Klavs did with them images could easily be done with the onboard processing power of his D700.

    Try it!

    set the camera to Neutral -3 contrast and -3 saturation and ADL set to On, and then capture the same image with the settings Vivid +3 Sat +3 Contrast and ADL to off.. see how much different the image turns out.

    His other issue is the use of ACR, which doesn't recognise the Picture Control processing.. yeah? had he sent in the RAW image and altered the in camera settings via ViewNX to something much more contrasty and vivid.. he'd have been fine!
    (hence the title.. Judgement Day... )

    .. anyhow.. if my images appear overly contrasty and overly saturate(yeah, I know they do) don't blame me! Blame Nikon and their in camera PC settings

    I'm not trying to open another CoW's (Can o Worms) with a debate as to how appropriate the (over)use of photoshop is... it's more about the guidelines used to define over processed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Analog6 View Post
    ...... It was a PRESS photographer award, not an Open or Artistic award. To me a press photographer, by definintion, records facts. ....
    by that definition then B&W images should be disallowed.


    .... I have been mentally compso9ing a thread about it for a week or so and am glad you have opnened a discussion on this topic.
    Oh! I always do

    the point is not really about colour as he hasn't really processed colour in there that isn't available in the RAW image data(from what I can see).

    So if they wanted to make it a fair and reasonable comp(that made sense!) they should have stipulated only unprocessed RAW images only to be entered!

    You'll be amazed at the difference the same unprocessed RAW file(Nikon for me, using View NX) can look like just by using the in camera picture styles.

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Interesting that competitions on AP have been brought into this. In the end our competitions are judged by the members voting. If enough members vote for a photo for it to win, then it deserves to win, whether others feel it is over processed or oversaturated is irrelevant.

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    See! I see that as another part of the issue with that 'issue' .. rather than making a fuss about it, they should have simply had a wider range of 'personal tastes' on the judging panel and simply dismissed those images.

    That's what makes an award more relevant... what the wider community think of it.. or what the entire community of a specific community(in this case the Dutch photojournalist photographers association, or whoever?) thought of it.

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    I think Klavs got a RAW deal...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pixel8tor View Post
    I think Klavs got a RAW deal...

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    i also think the first one is over processed but face it as the original it did not have any apeal, 2nd one up sat and hue and a bit of dodging and as far a s the chair goes it was cream just a yellow adjustment maybe all in all not to bad after all we all bring out our colors to a degree, lets face it sometimes a sunset is wonderful colors not shown on the camera until you adjust saturation

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    can't remember Tannin's Avatar
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    As a PRESS photograph, there is absolutely no question, it goes way beyond what is acceptable. Press photography is about realism, first, last and always. The moment a picture is doctored up, it is not press photography at all. Editors and photographers get sacked for printing or submiting doctored photographs, and rightly so.

    As a NON-PRESS photograph, there is room for different opinions. My own view is that it remains unacceptable over-processing, and should not be entered in a photographic competition, but instead submitted to a more wide-ranging visual-art-in-general competition, but I recognise that not everyone will agree with me.

    But so far as press photography goes, we do not have the option of coming to personal opinions in this case. Without honest realism, a photograph cannot be a press photograph at all. Accepting this entry into a press photography competition would be exactly equal to accepting a head and shoulders portrait of the prime minister into a landscape competition. The only correct response is automatic disqualification.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tannin View Post
    As a PRESS photograph, there is absolutely no question, it goes way beyond what is acceptable......

    [snip]

    ... The only correct response is automatic disqualification.
    So then any black and white digitally captured image should be treated the same?? .. yes?.. no?

    if not, why not?

    I've posted the same question in another forum, and I just get my head around it.

    It's OK to adjust the saturation and contrast sliders all the way down to zero, but not to maximum!

    I just don't understand the bias against color, and for monochrome??

    it's the same thing, only the other way round.

    They have no right to accept black and white images, where they've stated that black and white images are acceptable.

    No subject matter has been added so the image is representative of how the scene looked(more or less) add a bit of vignetting here and there massive contrast and saturation and the images Klavs produced are nothing more than processed images.

    grass is still green, sky is still blue, concrete is still... blue!

    just be sure to select the correct white balance setting huh?

    I agree that the images are overly processed, but not doctored(as his RAW files clearly indicate). No added sky. No layered rubbish piles. No cloned in drunken locals... just excessive use of saturation and selective dodging/burning.

    I'd bet there are just as many images in the comp that have been similarly processed. maybe not as heavily but damned close too it.

    BUT! there is the issue of images sizes posted in that article. They are too small to clearly see the extent of any selective colouring.

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    As Keen As Mustard NikonNellie's Avatar
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    I agree that Klavs got a raw deal. Yes they are over processed but that processing has enhanced the photos from their original state. Photoshopping is a skill in itself - if you don't get it right it can look very artificial but if you use your skills properly you end up with a great looking shot. I am sure other photographers competing for this award used photoshop as well - they probably just had better photoshop skills.
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    He does look a bit hard done by, but at the same time it rewards people with above average photoshop skills, not necessarily photography skills. I'll get splinters sitting on the fence with this one.
    Cheers,
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    can't remember Tannin's Avatar
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    Arthur, there are several reasons why monochrome is very, very different to the sort of over the top colour treatment we are looking at here.

    First, monochrome is well understood, both by the public and by professionals, as a representative form. We all grew up on monochrome pictures and understand them.

    Second, monochrome does not add anything to the image. Monochrome simply reproduces the brightness information accurately without reproducing the colour information. (In an exact parallel, a normal colour photograph reproduces brightness and colour information without reproducing depth information the way a hologram does.) Mono is a perfectly valid way to represent the world accurately, without distorting anything. Your argument will only deceive people who don't think it all the way through.

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    NikonNellie, the whole point of PRESS photography is that it is meant to be honest. Photoshopping to "enhance" is not honest. (Though I think most people, me included, would accept it provided it was kept down to a sensible level, and didn't serve to make an unrealistic picture.)

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    As Keen As Mustard NikonNellie's Avatar
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    Thanks for enlightening me Tannin - I admit that I didn't really know what PRESS photograohy was when I commented previously. I will go back to the website and review my evaluation for Kravs. Thanks

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tannin View Post
    NikonNellie, the whole point of PRESS photography is that it is meant to be honest. Photoshopping to "enhance" is not honest. (Though I think most people, me included, would accept it provided it was kept down to a sensible level, and didn't serve to make an unrealistic picture.)
    I agree with this.

    With this case as a PRESS photo which is documentary and personally I think he went a bit far with the PP.
    Do I like his results? Yes!
    Do I think they communicate something of the country etc - Yes!
    But as an accurate representation? - No. And therefore it is an issue.
    Maybe some disclaimer on the published image and then people would know.

    Is photography art or documentary? - well it can be either but rarely at the same time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tannin View Post
    .....

    Mono is a perfectly valid way to represent the world accurately, without distorting anything. Your argument will only deceive people who don't think it all the way through.
    Yep! I understand that, but in their rules they have stated the conditions(but in fairness to the question at hand, I haven't read their rules for exactness in their description, so I'm only assuming)

    Their rules state:
    "Photos submitted to Picture of The Year must be a truthful representation of whatever happened in front of the camera during exposure. You may post-process the images electronically in accordance with good practice. That is cropping, burning, dodging, converting to black and white as well as normal exposure and color correction, which preserves the image's original expression. The Judges and exhibition committee reserve the right to see the original raw image files, raw tape, negatives and/or slides. In cases of doubt, the photographer can be pulled out of competition", the rules now states.
    (from that website link)

    All I see is dodging and burning in Klavs images. Their description of his making the chair yellow.. well adding contrast will make that chair yellow no matter how you edit it.
    They don't seem to have defined 'their rules' clearly enough, and so it becomes a grey area of contention.
    As for adding any info, I can't see it, and I suppose a larger version of his images would better represent that. But from those images the colour that is in the capture from his D700 is there, just not fully realised in the jpg conversion by Adobe Camera Raw!!

    That was his point too, that each RAW converter sees it differently and if he'd used the Picture Styles in camera, and had they used NX software to view the images they'd see different representations of each image.

    They may not have liked the images and seen them as too overly processed, but I still think the basis of their judgement was wrong.

    Had he used real external filters in front of the lens, and hence the RAw images displayed differently, would they have dismissed his images?
    The issue is that they are judging the images based on representations of RAW data, not by any actual means of seeing what the scenes actually looked like.
    Only Klavs was there to see the scene at the time of capture, not the judges themselves, they judgement is clouded by software!

    As for B&W.. I'm personally not all that partial to the genre(but I do enjoy it as ART!!), but as an accurate representation of actual events... nothing could be further from it!

    There's the duality of the issue in that they only want accurate representations of events, but colour version have to be exactly exact(which is nigh on impossible).

    So with that there should be no issue in cloning out or healing out any subject matter, if the image if in monochrome, as the removal of color information is bordering on the same principle.

    Say as an example; in a war scene where blood in all it's vivid red goriness is represented as grey scale.. the viewer then doesn't have all the accurate information as to whether it's red blood or green beer, we than have to determine for ourselves whether the bleeding sod is stone cold dead or stone cold drunk?

    It's just a personal opinion based on the undefinable exactness of what accurate representation actually means.

    I'll post my examples in a while, as to how their idea of accurate colour representation is completely misguided.

    As I've already said, I have no issues with them not accepting the images as accurate, or valid or worthy of the win, or whatever.. but judging using their terms of reference(the rules), Klavs has done nothing wrong, where he's allowed to dodge/burn, and exposure/colour correction(with no set or pre-defined amounts).

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    From the rules: "must be a truthful representation". Case closed.

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