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  #1  
Old 8th May 2014, 03:52 PM
darkroomTed darkroomTed is offline
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Default Is ours 'real' photography?

I'm continually hacked off with seeing photographs that have been obviously (in many cases, badly) digitally manipulated in post production - particularly street photography, which in my opinion is social documentary and should be shown 'as taken'. It has got to a stage where, unless I'm sure it is a darkroom print, I really don't trust what I'm looking at.

I've got a show in Paris later this year and am currently designing the poster for it. On the poster, I'm thinking of using the phrase "Real photography Film and Darkroom".

Am I sticking my head too far above the parapet?

What do other members think?
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Old 8th May 2014, 04:22 PM
TonyMiller TonyMiller is offline
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I know what you mean but I've just borrowed Larry Bartlett's Black and White Photographic Printing book and he does some nifty darkroom manipulations. In fact some of them - the eyes of the Afghan bloke on the front cover for instance - are just a bit too obvious to me. Maybe not to Joe Public - and there's the rub. Is it only you/ us/ other photographers that notice digital manipulations?
btw - where's your exhibition in Paris. I visit a few times every year to see my wife's family and always like to see photo exhibitions. Which gallery?
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Old 8th May 2014, 04:31 PM
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Impossible to say without without understanding the French view of digital, editing and silver gelatin prints.

But personally I'm sick of the digital vs analogue debate.

Just say what it is without relating it to something else with potentailly provocative statements.

So in short just say "Hand Printed Silver Gelatin Photographs" if thats what they are. Labouring the point that they are not digitally produced is slating someone elses preference which is a mindless way of trying to promote your work.
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Old 8th May 2014, 05:23 PM
TonyMiller TonyMiller is offline
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From my visits to galleries in Paris - some small who represent one or two photographers to the well known ones Jeu de Paume for instance - I don't think I've seen a poster stating what type of photographs they are as in the process. The same as here in the UK, under each print on the wall there is usually what it is and when it was printed, title etc.
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Old 8th May 2014, 05:24 PM
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Martin Aislabie Martin Aislabie is offline
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I do get fed up with over photo-shopped pictures that seem to be in fashion at the moment.

However, most people don't seem to mind or care - so I'm no sure its worth making that much of a song and dance about it.

I spoke to someone who ran a gallery somewhere (Fowey ?) and he found real photos (ie silver prints) were perceived as more desirable and therefore could command a higher price.

So, if you are looking to sell prints, you might want to stress the hand printed and silver gelatine nature of the photographs as your USP.

Good luck

Martin
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Old 8th May 2014, 06:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darkroomTed View Post
I'm continually hacked off with seeing photographs that have been obviously (in many cases, badly) digitally manipulated in post production - particularly street photography, which in my opinion is social documentary and should be shown 'as taken'. It has got to a stage where, unless I'm sure it is a darkroom print, I really don't trust what I'm looking at.

I've got a show in Paris later this year and am currently designing the poster for it. On the poster, I'm thinking of using the phrase "Real photography Film and Darkroom".

Am I sticking my head too far above the parapet?

What do other members think?
Yes you are. You don't even need to mention "Real photography Film and Darkroom". Your images should speak for themselves.
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Old 8th May 2014, 09:11 PM
big paul big paul is offline
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I like the way Richard Gould does it when you look at his photographs he has what camera he used , I would say traditional hand made photographs ,and you could put what film you use and what camera ,and if that don't give them a hint nothing will ,good luck and let us know how it goes .




www.essexcockney.com
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Old 9th May 2014, 12:08 AM
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So Rejlander's The two ways of Life (1857) isn't manipulated, then? Or H.P. Robinson's Fading Away (1858) is what came straight out of the camera?

I know where you're coming from, and have made similar pronouncements both for and against both film and digital (and made a complete a*se of myself in the process), but the truth is that photography has always been about manipulation of the image. Most "straight" news photographs had a modicum of darkroom magic applied, even if it was only dodging and burning.

Again, I know where you're coming from in that a lot of photographs these days are taken merely to have something to play with on the computer, but I think to say that one medium is the "real" one is a bit over the top.

Last edited by JamesK; 9th May 2014 at 12:09 AM. Reason: Mistake.
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Old 9th May 2014, 03:52 AM
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A case can be made for the reality of photographs that transcends the qualities of other picture making methods.

Quote:
JamesK;93138: So Rejlander's The two ways of Life (1857) isn't manipulated, then? Or H.P. Robinson's Fading Away (1858) is what came straight out of the camera?
Rejlander's The Two Ways of Life and Robinson's Fading Away are true photographs and they came into being much like all other photographs made by traditional negative/positive workflow. People forget that a camera-original negative is rarely exhibited in its own right. Nearly always it constitutes the subject matter for what happens next. And next is nearly always that the negative is re-photographed using a light sensitive emulsion coated on paper. This step is often given the misnomer "printing" but it is photography (expose, develop, fix) nevertheless. So, The Two Ways of Life and Fading Away are straight photographs of multiple negatives. If anything is being manipulated it is the credulity of audiences who read the photographs naively and imagine they depict real events.

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I know where you're coming from, and have made similar pronouncements both for and against both film and digital (and made a complete a*se of myself in the process), but the truth is that photography has always been about manipulation of the image. Most "straight" news photographs had a modicum of darkroom magic applied, even if it was only dodging and burning.
Dodging and burning involve photography of burning cards and dodging wands as well as negatives. People forget that a photograph on paper coming out of a darkroom is strictly a photograph of what was in the darkroom, not just what was in the camera, and not what was in front of the camera. The key thing about news photographs made of light sensitive materials is that they resist discretionary editing or augmentation of subject matter content. There is a one to one correspondence between points in a true photograph and places in real-world subject matter. This is not true of paintings, drawings, or digi-graphs and that's why it is prudent to believe in them less.

Quote:
Again, I know where you're coming from in that a lot of photographs these days are taken merely to have something to play with on the computer, but I think to say that one medium is the "real" one is a bit over the top.
The key thing about true photographs made exclusively from light sensitive materials is that they have no virtual dimension. As a consequence their authority to describe subject matter comes not from resemblance but from direct physical causation. That makes them real in ways that methods which assemble pictures out of processed data can't match.
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The word Photography first uttered and defined by its author Sir John Herschel at Somerset House, London on the evening of March 14, 1839: quote "Photography or the application of the Chemical rays of light to the purpose of pictorial representation" unquote.
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Old 9th May 2014, 08:12 AM
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I come at this with the view that whilst it can be (and is in the right hands) an art-form, photography is a craft process at the end of the day.
Manipulation has been a part and parcel of our craft since its inception, but the dialogue with that manipulation has often involved a huge number of man-hours and craft skills (just look at Jerry Uelsmann's multiple negative prints).
With the arrival of Pshop and all that stuff the inherent nature of the craft was changed, to the point where I now feel that outwith our 'analogue' field it is no longer a craft.

I am proud of my little pieces of paper and tone and image, because I sweated and cursed and delighted in them - there is a part of my struggle to become a better craftsman in them that would not be there (in my opinion) had I handed the whole lot over to a set of presets and a printer.
It's like a real Harris Tweed jacket, or a Far East 'Tweed' jacket - one was made in the traditional way and will hold an inherent value for most of its life, the other is a quick, machine-made fashion fix that'll be in a fabric bank in a few years time.

There's nothing wrong with putting "hand-crafted images" on your poster - that's what you are exhibiting.
At the end of the day, does anyone care though? Hard to say, however the smart money these days are still buying vintage prints by the masters - I think that says it all.

And I know the digi/film thing is beyond tiresome, but I still can't help railing against it - didn't you always hate it when your Mum told you to do something you didn't want to do? I did.

Sorry for the incoherent ramble! I wrote an even more incoherent rant about some of the reasons I print here, if you can be bothered with the ramblings of a demented mind:

http://fogblog-hermansheephouse.blog...-struggle.html
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