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[APD] Re: Red Eye, Take 2

Before I get into my post, I would like to qualify my statements.  I
have BFA from Otis College of Art and Design, one of the top art schools
in the country.  I have worked as a professional photographer and still
use my camera to create artwork.  I have a slide scanner and digital
cameras.  I am quite accomplished in photoshop and other digital
manipulation tools.

Sorry about that I just wanted to get that out of the way.

S. Heiber has written well about the processes involved in photography.
Whether they are digital or analog, there are many factors along the
path that can be manipulated in order to produce the desired result.
That is one of the reasons why photography is an art form.  We have
already heard about people using bright blue light and red light on the
plants to make them punch up.  These lighting gimmicks are commonplace
in the photography world.  As are dodging and burning (digital/analog),
grain reduction, balance, contrast, blemish editing.  Tricks are used

The one item of contention that really struck me was the notion that a
photograph is a representation of reality.  This concept was discarded
by the art community decades ago.  Really, this hasn't been part of the
discussion since before I was born, and I'm not that young.  Now if you
are using the photograph to document an aquascape, I can understand
wanting to put limits on the manipulation.  But even with those limits,
believing that a photograph is a truthful representation of reality is

Let's talk briefly about obvious manipulation, i.e. making green leaves
red.  In order to get the manipulation past a photographer, you would
have to have considerable skill and time.  It is extremely easy to spot
this stuff if you are looking for it.  And if you are trying to hide it,
you have to work hard.  Time better spent on the tank.

Enhancement is another discussion entirely.  Generally speaking, the
image never comes out like it looked to your eye.  The film/digital cam
responds much differently than your eye.  What looks somewhat shadowed
suddenly gets really dark in the image because of the value of the
bright objects.  Then there are color shift issues.  Who wants to look
at grainy images?  (Actually, I have seen some really beautiful grainy
images but that is not the point) I know that digital grain is appalling
to me.  How about scratches on the glass? Is it ok to digitally remove
plumbing if you can't physically remove it?  What would be the

In conclusion, I think that enhancement v. manipulation has really been
blown out of proportion lately.  A photograph is not truthful.  It never
has been truthful.  However, most of the problematic "manipulation" is
very obvious to those who know what the signs are.  I think we can take
comfort in the difficulty of fooling those with skills in the digital

 Shawn Richardson

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