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>  forums  >  Photo Retouching  >  Retouching Away Originality
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Retouching Away Originality
4 May 2007 at 12:58 GMT
number of posts: 2
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Does anyone else have a problem getting over the feeling that a retouched photograph is somehow less of a photo? I'm not saying that this is the case, but that feeling is sometimes still there.

Carol
pixelpixie 
re: Retouching Away Originality
16 May 2007 at 09:56 GMT
number of posts: 83
member since: 6 Dec 06
location: uk

status: offline
For an image taken on a digital camera it is possible not to re-touch at all as you can transfer the digital information straight from camera to computer- unless of course the the lens could do with a clean, but with scanned in film imagery it is virtually unavoidable. But then this re-touching is just cleaning up dust and scratches and unsharp mask, levels and curves are often necessary as clarity and sometimes colour are lost in the scanning in process.

I think it depends on what you set out to do and the medium you use. I don't think there is ever as situation of 'absolute truth' because how we 'see' an image is as individual to the viewer as it is to the photographer and can never be 'reality' because of the recording process that takes place to replicate it. Even in the days of black & white film photography, much work would go on in the darkroom, dodging and burning to bring out the best of the image. Bill Brandt's famous 'Wuthering Heights' image is in fact a montage of two separate images - he gave it a different, dramatic sky and in this case, made more of a photo, not less. So no,I for one don't think that a re-touched image is less of a photo.
David Atkinson 
re: Retouching Away Originality
18 Jun 2007 at 21:16 GMT
number of posts: 1
member since: 27 Aug 06
location: en

status: offline
I've been thinking about this a lot. I do feel that a lot of processing is destroying the point of photography. I believe that photography is about capturing light for a fraction of a second; a single unique moment. We essentially take pictures with our eyes, not the camera. You have to see the shot first in order to take it. The medium by which you capture the information is to my mind irrelevant. However, I think that excessive manipulation just covers up poor photographic technique. If you saw the image correctly in the first place and understand light, then you should be able to record on the camera what was in your mind. The beauty of digital is that it allows you to get instant feedback on your efforts. I for one try to use this to make me a better photographer not a better user of software!!
All the best, Dave
EJWilkins 
re: Retouching Away Originality
10 Jul 2007 at 02:24 GMT
number of posts: 220
member since: 1 Oct 06
location: en

status: offline
I struggle to use software so am forced to get the best 'out of camera' that I can, and it seems to suit my style of photography.

But, I appreciate that some people prefer to do a lot of work to their pictures because it suits their style of picture making, with photography their medium of choice as opposed to, for example, paint or charcoal. I think the use of software is blurring the boundaries though, between photographs and other forms, because a photograph can be manipulated to look as if it's been hand drawn or painted, which is awfully clever.
Larry Bliss 
re: Retouching Away Originality
12 Jul 2007 at 01:27 GMT
number of posts: 29
member since: 5 Mar 07
location: us

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As to Ellie's last point, software can do some clever things indeed to a photograph. But to my taste, I would rather see a good charcoal sketch than a photo that has been manipulated to look like a charcoal sketch. That said, I regularly use my el cheapo version of PS to alter the brightness or the contrast. Photography is essentially artifice. Here in the USA Ansel Adams is the fine art photographer that the "average person" is most likely to know, and he made no bones about the amount of darkroom techniques he used to enhance his negatives. Of course, he also knew one hell of a lot about light. In the final analysis, there is no substitute for a human eye connected to a discerning mind.
Patrick Krolis 
re: Retouching Away Originality
14 Aug 2007 at 19:35 GMT
number of posts: 88
member since: 12 Dec 06
location: sr

status: offline
I think it is all about the end result you have in mind when shooting the photograph. Even when you use light and other photographic techniques properly, the truth is that if only for a black and white conversion of an image shot in RAW in my camera, I will use software to convert, choose the way i want to convert it, etc etc, in the end it is all about the image you have in mind and you want to show the world.I am also very open to the work done by wakenthedead on shutterchance for example, who combines the photography with extensive photoshop work in the post processing stage. Or the many fashion photographers smoothening skin etc. It all depends on what you want to tell with your image. 30 years ago I would doge and burn and crop in the analogue darkroom, or pocess the film in "hot" developer to generate extra grain, if that was the effect I wanted to achieve, start out with 400 ASA Kodak Tri X etc. I do agree that you can stray very far off path, but still I think you should judge the end result, that is all there is to it.
Celfyddydau 
re: Retouching Away Originality
8 Oct 2007 at 13:24 GMT
number of posts: 2
member since: 21 Sep 07
location: uk

status: offline
I do as little as possible to my photos but that could be because I just don't have time to play with the software.

I do occasionally turn photos B&W but I could do that on camera. My Jester photo from yesterday had a stray branch taken out and the jester's face lightened a little, but with the lightening if I was in a darkroom I could have done that anyway and I could also have cropped out some of the branch.

Often I see what I want and the beauty of digital means that I can take a dozen photos to be happyt without using half a roll of film.
Mark Mendoza 
re: Retouching Away Originality
7 May 2008 at 07:21 GMT
number of posts: 1
member since: 3 May 08
location: ca

status: offline
I enjoy playing with photos and all of mine are drastically different from their initial capture. I use the software that came with my Canon and just play with the curves. With my photography, I am not interested in what is natural. Rather, I attempt to bring out the innate beauty or horror that isn't visible unless you use your imagination. The thought of being able change the context of an event, character, architecture or nature itself into something else amazes me. It is trying to find a new angle within your existing angle.
chi 
re: Retouching Away Originality
1 Aug 2008 at 07:50 GMT
number of posts: 4
member since: 15 Jun 07
location: uk

status: offline
i love playing with my pictures.....i find it facinating how the phot ocan look different in somany ways after retouching...it gives it a professional look
Guest 
re: Retouching Away Originality
6 Oct 2011 at 18:26 GMT
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It's important to remember that photos have been manipulated since there were cameras. I studied photography before there were digital cameras and trust me - although it was harder - we fiddled no less.
Guest 
re: Retouching Away Originality
6 Jan 2012 at 00:32 GMT
number of posts: 1214
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whaddup yall! losgiddy from Nigeria....kinda new *covers face* im shy lol......hehehe yall check out losgiddy.shutterchance.com and follow me on twitter @LOSGIDDY
Guest 
re: Retouching Away Originality
1 Aug 2017 at 11:42 GMT
number of posts: 1214
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What a beautiful picture. What filter did you use to process it? I'm at my job https://ca.edubirdie.com/write-a-dissertation-in-a-week I often work with Photoshop and I need to know how to do it in it.

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