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Photographic Ethics - De File
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
cbertsch
cbertsch
Photographic Ethics
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masoo From: masoo Date: December 10th, 2009 05:01 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
This is a fascinating post, but, as a point-and-shoot kinda guy, I have to ask: how is making adjustments in the camera prior to taking a photograph more "truthful" than making adjustments on your computer after taking the photograph?
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: December 11th, 2009 03:46 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
That's a really good question and not one I can answer in a manner that is impervious to deconstruction. But I'll try. Basically, when you mess with a photo after the photographed subject is no longer in front of you, the constraints of reality fall away. Adjustments made prior to taking a photo are different from my perspective because they are subordinated to the truth of the moment. I guess you could say that it's ultimately a temporal distinction.
masoo From: masoo Date: December 11th, 2009 04:00 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
This is the best kind of artistic theory. I don't buy it, but I understand what you are saying, and understand how it informs your own art. Which is what matters, after all ... they aren't my photos, they are yours, and they reflect your vision.

Of course, I've been known to mess with your photos after the fact :-).
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: December 11th, 2009 04:06 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Like I said, I can see how the distinction fails to hold up if enough critical pressure is directed its way. That said, I'm curious what you don't buy, exactly. Is it that you think the constraints I discern aren't there to begin with? Or do you think that those constraints can be transposed to "post-processing" without too much difficulty? Or is it something else that causes you to avoid the sale?
masoo From: masoo Date: December 11th, 2009 04:54 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Well, "sale" isn't really how I should have put it. I think you, as the artist, should follow your own set of photographic ethics. And the results are often exquisite ... you take great pictures. So I'm speaking more in the abstract, or speaking more as I would approach the same topic. I've never thought much about the philosophy of photography, which is one reason I'm enjoying this thread. But when I take a picture, I'm just pointing the camera, framing the picture in a minor but functional way, and pressing click. I am simultaneously grabbing a moment of reality, and adjusting reality. Once I sit at the computer, I adjust reality some more. Obviously reality is part of the scenario, but it's reality with scare quotes ... it's a picture of reality, not reality itself. So any adjustments I make turn faux-reality even more faux. I don't care about the difference between pre and post-processing, and in fact, in the digital age, which is when I have taken the large majority of my pictures (never having a "real" still camera before computers, although I had a movie camera, as in "film" not video), I am already thinking of how I will "fix" the picture before I take it.

But my philosophy of photography is barely existent and not particularly interesting. Yours, on the other hand, clearly informs your work, and your work is excellent. So your philosophy is interesting indeed.
13 comments or Leave a comment