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digital photography a cheat?

StrayCat Plus
13 18.5k 3 Canada
17 Apr 2005 3:38PM
Read "everything's different...but nothing's changed" by George D. Lepp here

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Tooth 12 5.8k 227 Ireland
18 Apr 2005 1:18AM

Quote:Read "everything's different...but nothing's changed" by George D. Lepp

just did and it's the most reasonable balanced succinct article I think i've ever read on the subject IMHO. As he says, it's all about control of the process. And I agree let's make a distinction between "optimisation" and "manipulation". Recommended reading, thanks Denny
lobsterboy 13 14.9k 13 United Kingdom
18 Apr 2005 1:47AM

Quote:I totally dissagree with lobsterboy! Especially with transparencies you have to do the hard work in the camera with the exposure as theres no room for error! With digital you can just erase and try again to get the right exposure! if film is cheating then what does that make digital?? I think you loose a connection with just looking at a screen, either in the camera or the computer!

Just noticed this and thought I would reply. I cant see how you lose a connection with digital due to its immediacy. If anything you are much more involved in the process than with film as once you have shot the film you completly abdicate controll.

AFAICS unless you take complete control of the image production from capture all the way through to final print you are cheating. If someone else does the print for you then it is no longer soley your work.

elowes 13 2.8k United Kingdom
18 Apr 2005 1:58AM
Good threads these digi v film!!

If you want total control and if you want the pressure of having to get it right fist time then go out and buy a 5x4 plate camera, a DeVere enlarger (not need I supose as you will then be manipulating the image, so contact printing it will have to be), etc.

What you then do is to select a subject to photograph and focus totally on that one subject. Being a bit Zen helps. Go out to take the pic with no more than two sheets of film and come back and produce the print using no more than 3 sheets of paper. Great way to learn total control and is what the great pioneers of photography did 150 years ago.

Me, I prefer digi as I have tried the above and it was great fun when learning but not very practical later on. Lets move on into the 21st century and enjoy photography no matter how you do it.
SteveCharles 14 2.3k 18 England
18 Apr 2005 4:29AM
Ah yes, digital v. film, what a great subject!

I haven't read the whole thread, & probably don't need to. I don't normally get involved in this discussion anymore, but thought I'd give my answer to the original question 'Is digital cheating?'.

On the basis that in order to cheat, then you must be breaking a rule or law of some sort, then what rule or law is it that using a digital camera breaks?

About 170 years ago, some people found a way of permanently recording an image as seen before them without having to paint or draw it. The technology used was based on being able to turn silver black by exposing it to light, and until the introduction of digital imaging this technology remained the basis of photography.

(There is an irony in that the first exposures were so long (ie. hours) that the scenes never did look that real, but hey.)

That's the recording medium. The camera itself is based on very old technology, the camera obscura, as used by many of the great painters of the last few hundred years. This projects an image of the scene in front of them onto canvas, which they trace over. And then get a team of assistants to paint the picture. Now that's cheating!

My point here is that artists have always used whatever tools and technology available to them at the time to assist in the image making process. Did any of these people ever say "right, that's how to do do it, so that's how it should always be done. For ever. And don't let anybody invent another method."? It is because people like this existed, and pushed the boundaries of what was capable, that we are able to enjoy our modern technology and have the choices we have today.

I'm a film user, mainly. I like using it, I like it's qualities, it suits me. I certainly don't want to see it killed off. I like to get things right in camera, but I also like to have fun with images, and that's where digital imaging makes it a whole lot easier.

We all like producing images, that's all. We enjoy it. some of us like the more trditional way, some of us fully embrace new technology. We aren't breaking any rules, so nobody's cheating.

Morpyre Plus
12 1.6k 8 Wales
18 Apr 2005 5:19AM
whats wrong with having several ways to do one thing - when the wheel was invented it lead to the car, the bike, the tandem, the motorbike, roller skates, skateboards etc - all of these are methods of travelling from A to B and each will get you there slightly differently whether fast, slow, smooth, bumpy but whatever at the core it is all the same thing.

the same can apply to photography/cameras - at the core you have:

The wheel - The camera

car - film camera (35mm, medium format, box)

bike - digital (slr, point & click, phone camera)

as technology improves each variation becomes closer in similarity.

these days the end result of a pro digital slr's quality is very comparable to a pro film slr.

mamiya even have a 22 megapixel medium format digital camera (mamiya ZD)- i bet if you put a photograph print from that next to a mamiya medium format film camera photograph you would be hard pressed to tell the difference.

at the end of the day who cares how many variations there are of something from crap quality through to great quality. if it does the job and satisfies the user surely that is what is important.

and "optimise" compared to "manipulate" - to me they both mean the same - changing the appearence of something to make the end result look better. i think it is a good thing - imagine the world if everything we did that went wrong for one reason or another we just left as it was rather than curing the mistakes to make whatever it is look better.

"manipulation" isn't bad, it is good like "optimisation" - there is a third that is better to use - "counterfeit/fake" - this is the bad one of the three because what it does is mislead - giving you something that isnt real, but presented to look like the real thing; the joy of con artists - counterfeit money, fake famous master paintings etc.

if i have my photographs developed by a camera shop it has been said this means the photo's arnt soley mine because i havn't done everything - does the same apply if i take photo's on my digital camera and instead of me working on them on my computer, i get my dad to transfer them to the pc and work on them in photoshop then print them. i have only done one thing - press the shutter button. dad has transferred them, photoshopped them and printed them which is 3 things - i assume this means the photographs are now his because he has done more for producing them than i have and therefore the credit of the great images goes to him.

isn't life a fun, interesting and complex thing =)

i'm finishing now because this will be a 1000 page novel soon not just a short responce and i'm not paid by the word =D (but waffling is relaxing)

peter "morpyre" turner
elowes 13 2.8k United Kingdom
18 Apr 2005 5:24AM
Eventually film will go the way of the horse and cart, there for the few who enjoy that sort of thing while the rest of us cheat and use cars, trains and, gods forbid, buses.
Morpyre Plus
12 1.6k 8 Wales
18 Apr 2005 5:44AM
never know but in the next few years the human race might get totally bored of photography and stop using it in any form whether film, digital or movie, god forbid *shock*
Just Jas Plus
15 26.1k 1 England
18 Apr 2005 6:46AM
Or it might become totally illegal?

With black market pics & cameras being circulated?

Or licenced?
With audits on pictures taken? To PS9000? :-((

arif 13 91
19 Apr 2005 5:03AM

Quote:It bothers me that people harp on about "all that matters is the final result, not the way you got there". I don't agree with this. A wildlife photographer who invests hours and hours to get that one stunning capture of a magnificent wild animal...and then old Billy-Bob from next door goes to the zoo and gets 60 full face shots of the same species.

I've been compelled to respond in this thread, because of your comment here dude (Starstrider). I totally agree - and your point does indeed transcend the whole equipment debate.

I admire and seek to learn from the likes of Niall Benvie and Joe Cornish. I don't know about anyone else - but a large part of what I'm learning - and valuing - from these guys, is to do with the whole approach to their photography. This is indeed nicely embodied by your example - Two people could have the 'same' image of say a Cheetah looking wistfully into the distance - but the fact that one of them was from a trip to the zoo - and the other from a thousand-mile journey across desert and mountain - is significant, to me. The effort gone to to capture an image 'for real' - or patience applied, to wait for a coincidence of events - is somehow part of the image - spiritually (as silly as that may sound). It's about how deep a relationship you seek to have with your art and your work, in a way.

May be - when it comes to selling the image or something - it makes no odds - but the difference is fundamental and important, to my mind.
lobsterboy 13 14.9k 13 United Kingdom
19 Apr 2005 5:15AM

Quote:Two people could have the 'same' image of say a Cheetah looking wistfully into the distance - but the fact that one of them was from a trip to the zoo - and the other from a thousand-mile journey across desert and mountain - is significant, to me.

Couldnt agree more - I was discusted when this shot was judged against similar shots taken of captive animals. Where's the field craft?
acbeat 12 14 United Kingdom
20 Apr 2005 6:13AM
more skill is needed in using PS than taking a trip to the nearest wet lab. the photographer still needs to find, see, compose and take the photograph. i've done wet film for 20yrs i now only use digital i wouldent go back it's brilliant

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