Hybrid process - cheating?

Discussion in 'Talk About Anything Photography Related' started by Joanna Carter, Jan 24, 2018.

  1. Joanna Carter

    Joanna Carter Member Registered User

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    Following on from the Andrew Sanderson discussion, which started to go a bit off-piste :cool:

    One of these images has been has been subject to more "manipulation" than the other:

    HornbyCastleB&W.jpg

    This is a straight scan from a B&W neg with multiple masked curve layers, as per dodging and burning under an enlarger.

    ViewFromHornbyBridge.jpg

    This is composed of three Velvia 100 transparencies, one of which makes up the majority of the image; a second which was exposed for the white water over the weir and a third for the shadows under the trees (there really is more shadow detail in the full size images). All three scanned and then merged in Photoshop.

    Given that Velvia 100 only has around 5 stops range and the scene had around 7-8, should such manipulation be regarded as "cheating" or as using expertise to circumvent a technical difficulty?
     
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  2. David M

    David M Active Member Registered User

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    I think the Andrew Sanderson discussion established that we are mostly tolerant of what other people choose to do. I didn't spot any die-hard flint-knappers among us.
    I can't see any reason to say that the coloured weir is cheating. A welcome example of finely-honed skill, I'd say. (It is the kind of thing that digital capture seems to manage with a shrug and a click, however.)
    Claiming that it was a single exposure, or made on Kodak film, or using a Sinar would be deceptive.
    On the other hand, I think Joanna's question was originally raised in connection with a particular competition. Competitions have rules and the rules are arbitrarily set by the organisers. I think I can recall two wildlife competitions where splendid winning images were disqualified when it was discovered that the eagle was stuffed and the wolf tame, thus contravening both the "wild-" and "-life" spirit of the competition.
    So if the rules forbid something, then doing it is cheating. I cannot believe that the wildlife organisers specifically said: "No stuffed eagles" so anything that is contrary to the spirit of the competition might be disqualified, even though there is no explicit prohibition. This is the tricky borderline. All I can suggest is a very careful reading of the rules, and even a direct enquiry. Being disqualified, even unjustly, is not something that I would want.
     
  3. David M

    David M Active Member Registered User

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    Oops!
    I forgot to mention that platinum and cyanotype printers regularly use film capture, then scanning and digital output of a corrected and resized negative for use in whatever wet process they choose. I don't think this is regarded as cheating, although some practitioners may prefer the pure historic process. They must be sincere, because they often build huge cameras to generate their huge negs. Perhaps this is peripheral to the main question.
     
  4. martin henson

    martin henson Admin Staff Member Registered User

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    The later I would say Joanna, is there such thing as cheating, unless of course rules are broken, or claiming this or that knowing it’s not true, to say in digital that one has cloned out a telegraph pole to improve the overall look is certainly not cheating, after all look how the great artists change the look of landscapes to suit their vision.

    What one doesn’t know does not offend or hurt, you don’t have to explain unless asked, you do what you think is needed to create a picture and not be burdened with any rules, it’s the finished print that is important, not how it was created.

    Martin
     
  5. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Active Member Registered User

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    Note that in the Andrew Sanderson thread I said it wasn't Joanna who might be cheating nut that others might.

    It's only cheating to pass off an image as something it isn't (and make false claims). Combination printing, heavy retouching etc have always been in the arsenal of darkroom workers long before the advent of digital. The problem is it's just so easy to do with digital imaging, I've done it for years it's part of the creative process.

    It would be cheating to enter a print made via a hybrid process in a competition meant to promote darkroom printing, particularly if the final silver gelatin prints was made by a lab. It would be cheating anyway to use someone else to make the print.

    I think the issues Andrew Sanderson raises are being missed. There's a high degree of skill in darkroom printing, that's not to underrate what's needed to do exactly the same with a negative digitally. The major difference is with digital you can play infinitely as you can always undo, revert to saved etc, instead of using a lot of expensive paper.

    Great emulation of Orwo CT 18 with that colour image Joanna :D

    Ian
     
  6. KenS

    KenS Active Member Registered User

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    Making slightly enlarged digital negatives from a scan of a B/W negative and printing onto an 'intermediate' medium for making prints using the "Archaic" print processes (as I have been known to 'do') cannot, I believe, be considered cheating) since the original 'information' was recorded to film. I have posted two VDB prints, one of which was a direct print from the original 4x5" negative and the second from a scan of a similar size negative which was digitally printed onto 81/2 x 11 inch Pictorico for use as a negative to print on watrecolour paper with a VDB 'emulsion'

    Ken
     
  7. David M

    David M Active Member Registered User

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    In news photography, the standards are very different. Any interference beyond minimal corrections for exposure and suchlike is frowned upon. Even cropping the original image may be seen as improper. Cropping might be used to erase the presence of a significant person.
    We seem to be discussing pictures with an aesthetic, rather than evidential purpose.
    We have not mentioned disclosure. One might use a legitimate process, but fail to disclose it. This concealment might be viewed as cheating, even though if disclosed, it would have been acceptable.
    The issue seems be dependent on particular circumstances. I can't believe there would be any problem if an image was required by a normal commercial client.
    But if, for example, a print was required to be produced "in a darkroom" or by the hands of the actual photographer, then no matter what remarkable digital skills were used, a machine-print by a third party could not meet the conditions, however excellent it might be.
     
  8. martin henson

    martin henson Admin Staff Member Registered User

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    The standards in news photography are that high David.

    Very suprised to hear that, what you don’t see, you don’t know, how can we trust them, I’m sure they must cheat a little to sell there product :rolleyes:
     
  9. David M

    David M Active Member Registered User

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    I can't claim or suggest that all news reporters are entirely unbiassed and honest. But the threshold for challenging a news photograph is very shallow. Many people may have an interest in trying to deny the evidence of a news item. I believe that an award was withdrawn because the photographer had removed some visually distracting detail from the gap between someone's arm and body. The detail was not significant as news, but it cast doubt on the veracity of the whole image. This is not our situation here.
    This does raise a point relevant to Joanna's original question. Supposing that she was a winner, as she very well might, would a disappointed runner-up feel that they had grounds for challenging her win, because of the hybrid nature of her intermediate process or the use of a third-party printer? I can see, in this particular case, where the sponsor is so clearly committed to wet work, that this might happen. It might be argued that machine printing, whatever the material that formed the image, was still machine printing. I cannot guess if it would be a successful challenge, as only the sponsor can decide the rules. Is there a "sponsor's decision is final" clause in the rules? Is there an "all my own work" requirement? We might need to return to the original text.
     
  10. roncromberge

    roncromberge Member Registered User

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    Hybrid says it all. A mix of both worlds.


    Starting digital make a digital negative for alternative processes. Including Silverprint is not cheating. Because the print is made the same as with a analog negative.


    Starting scanning the analog negative, and do the darkroom work with photoshop and print digital or analog with a digital negative is not cheating.


    You use al the techniques available for your creativity.


    Its cheating when you pretend and lie about the used techniques.


    As long youre honest about it its legit.


    All mine analog negatives after the nineties are digital scanned and digital enhanced.


    Al my alternative prints have a digital negative. But they're printed as close as possible following the alternative process guides described. (The processes with dichromate will be obsolete. Because of the ban of dichromate for individuals.) lucky me i have a lifetime stock of it. But soon a dichromate free version arive on the horizon. And even then its not cheating. As long you tell open and honest you used the modern variant.
     
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  11. David M

    David M Active Member Registered User

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    If we go down the route of defining "Real Photography" (as in "thats not real photography"...") there seems to be no point at which to stop. We all use ready-made film and most of us use ready-made paper. In fact, we use ready-made software too, although I did once meet a chap who tried to interest me in his personal coding. I'm afraid that all I could do was nod.
    There is no point in history at which photography was especially real or genuine. My suspicion is that when people mention real photography, they mean the brief period when Real Men used 10x8 cameras and the Zone System was young. We might speculate that the idea of Real Men is hidden in there, somewhere.
    At every logical stage of defining Real Photography more narrowly, we must discard some advance or other until we arrive at Bitumen of Judea and Lavender Oil on a pewter plate. Even then, the late Terry King demonstrated that any bituminous substance and any oil would do the job. I rather think that pewter isn't essential either.
    All this leads to the same conclusion as Ron. Openness and honesty are what matter.
     
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  12. Graham Patterson

    Graham Patterson Member Registered User

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    The only reason we care about 'authenticity' (for want of a better term) in photography is that it is a medium that has the potential to closely approximate what most people would observe at that time and place. Unless that recording ability is required, or expected, or claimed, it doesn't matter. That's the art domain.

    Once one is in the art domain, then realizing the image is the important thing. Unless you plan to release a 'Making of...' DVD with every print, the mechanism is unimportant to the casual viewer. There is the expectation of 'authenticity', so if an image is represented as 'live animal', that had better be an animal, and a live one. If it is 'wildlife', it had better be live, and wild enough to leave you with nothing to photograph.

    I stick to straight silver processes, with the odd foray into cyanotype. A few more decades and I might get the hang of it. My wife is an artist in many media (textiles, printing, beadwork, photography, carving, and others), but these days most of her work is done on a computer because of physical limitations. Her mother was a more conventional fine artist working mainly in acrylics in later life.

    I can't do what either of them do/did. Not because I don't use their materials, but because I don't have their vision.
     
  13. martin henson

    martin henson Admin Staff Member Registered User

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    Creativity comes from the eye of a good photographer or artist, seeing and translating the subject into a vision on to whatever medium, no matter how or what it is made with, is the real skill or talent.
     
  14. YorkshireBloke

    YorkshireBloke Member Registered User

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    Hi,

    Great thread yet again, good to be challenged (and 5x4 IS inherently a challenge...).

    I'm with Alfred Steiglitz on this (if you're going to have an "argument" stand at the side of a big lad I say! :p).


    There are many schools of painting. Why should there not be many schools of photographic art? There is hardly a right and a wrong in these matters, but there is truth, and that should form the basis of all works of art.

    Alfred Stieglitz - American Amateur Photographer

    I really feel we are groping towards an uncomfortableness with "untruth", not being happy with "cheating", basically lying using a medium the "outside world" feels is the medium of reality; of truth.

    Maybe the truth we are trusted with is more direct and immediate than the inner, intangible truths other artists reveal. So we are more challenged by anything that IS such a manipulation, that is hidden from us, purporting to be the truth.

    I never hear painters saying "that acrylic paint, that's cheating it is! We should mix minerals with oils and stretch our own canvasses!". :rolleyes:

    Robert
     
  15. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Active Member Registered User

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    I totally agree. I think perhaps an issue is that with digital you can experiment on approach with no consumable costs, some don't like this - personally I don't see this as a problem. I've been hybrid since the early 90's for work at a professional level, and must say that having a good analogue grounding made/makes this simple.

    I only make darkroom prints, I can and have made digital equivalents and most people wouldn't spot the difference - I just don't enjoy the experience and prefer Silver Gelatin printing. I do feel that I need to be totally aware of the alternatives though whether digital or analogue. I did a lot of research for work in the 1970's and 80's on toning, dye couplers, hand colouring, etch bleach and other processes now long gone, I'm talking about rather more than Tim Rudman has ever written about.

    When I stop learning I'll give up :)

    Ian
     
  16. David M

    David M Active Member Registered User

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    We seem to have discovered two versions of truth. We expect a photograph to be a record of what was in front of the lens and that this is a true record of those objects and events. It's quite possible for an entirely unmanipulated photograph to be optically true and yet misrepresent the state of affairs in the real world.
    This is certainly a real problem, but I had thought we were discussing "truth" within the process, rather than in the subject.
    It seems to me, and perhaps a majority here, that as long as there is no attempt to deceive the viewer then all is fair in love and print-making.
    This does become a serious matter when prints are being exchanged for money. Some buyers may not care, but others may take a very rigid view of what they expect for their money. It's hard to believe that anyone on this forum is in favour of deliberate fraud.
    In other ways of image making, there are complex possibilities – attributed to; school of; from the workshop of; and so on. There may be disputes on how much of a painting was done by the master's hand and how much by assistants. (Oddly enough, we don't seem to object to assistance in the case of sculpture.) In the case of Leonardo, the assistant's work may be more valued than the master's. We may have similar situations in photography; which one of Hill and Adamson was the master?
    In photography it's not uncommon for the negative to be made by one person and the print by another. Ilford recognised this in their Printer of the Year award. If the print is being sold, this may have a significant effect on the price. If it is being entered in a competition, it may affect the result. Either party may derive an enhanced reputation from the work of the other.
    In the simpler case of our own choice of material and method, we seem to be (commendably) liberal on this forum. On other forums, there are quite strongly-expressed opinions on the validity of anything except camera-made, gelatin-based negatives leading to gelatin-based prints. I've seen arguments that an ink-based print cannot possibly be photography, because "photo-" means light and no light is involved in making an inkjet print, thus breaking the sacred chain. As a laser-print does involve light, a laser-print would surely be admitted to the fold, but I've never heard this argument made. I've never heard the argument applied to pre-digital ink-based processes, either. To me, it seems to be a simplistic prejudice, expressed in emphatic language. It's because prejudice exists that we have to debate the matter.

    A different line of thought: In music, we don't expect the composer to perform his or her music personally. We are happy for an orchestral work to be transcribed for piano, guitar or brass band. Is there a fruitful parallel here?
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2018
  17. roncromberge

    roncromberge Member Registered User

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  18. David M

    David M Active Member Registered User

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    My understanding was that they stole the stuffed animal and placed it in position. No photoshopping at all but still a cheat. This isn't the first time this has happened. I believe that some years ago someone used a stuffed eagle. An eagle expert spotted that the back legs were the wrong way round or some other such tell-tale error.
     
  19. Alan Clark

    Alan Clark Member Registered User

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    The back legs??? Did it have front legs as well? No wonder the eagle expert smelt a rat ...( a four legged rat..)

    Alan
     
  20. David M

    David M Active Member Registered User

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    I may have allowed myself a little leeway. I forget the exact error. It may have been inexpert taxidermy. It goes to show that even before Photoshop, people liked to win. A world before Photoshop? It would be like a world without wheels, or even fire.

    Incidentally, today is Worldwide Pinhole Day. There's still time for half the world to enter.
     

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