Cheating with Some of my Images

On this video I talk about the subject of picture manipulation/modifying/dishonest… no matter you wish to name it. I present some examples of my very own images and reveal precisely how I modified the picture to make it higher. I’d like to cross the query on to you lot; do you suppose it's okay to alter a picture from its authentic state? Let me know within the feedback x x x

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    1. It’s really simple. It’s your image; do what you want to it. Just don’t be deceptive about it. If you cloned in five birds where there was just one, that’s cool. Just don’t go telling people there were actually five birds, because that’s not true. The ethics is not in whether or not you edit the photo; it’s in whether or not you willfully deceive others.

  1. So nice to see prints. If you’re a photographer and you’re reading this and you don’t have quality prints yet of your beautiful work, please do yourself a favour and get some! We print at least 200 of our own photos a year and it just helps you appreciate your art more. Others may appreciate your work – take time to smell the roses and appreciate yourself. Here’s a rose 🌹

    Great video again my friend!! 💯👊🏽❤️🥊📸

    1. I don’t see any problem with creative editing as long as you are open about it. It has been going on long before computers made it all a lot easier.

    2. i printed my first 6 a few months back, kept one sold 2 and cannot sell the others. seems im just not as good as i thought i was

    3. 100% agree! I started with a canon p100 and now I use an Epson P800 with the paper roll attachment. Printing, mounting (if you are looking for equipment Logan is a fantastic company), framing and hanging a 17″x110″ pano has been incredibly satisfying. Learning paper is also super interesting. My favorite paper recently is Moab Slickrock Pearl. Anyway I will stop rambling, but if you are thinking about printing DO IT!

  2. I would never take a winter scene and fudge in a flock of geese and a sky with some personality. Nope not me. Couldn’t live with myself! 🤥🤣

    1. Branches and twigs get “chopped off” all the time in my pics. I figure if I could, I’d really chop them off(and I have actually done that). Outlaw trails from ATV’s disappear.

    2. I with Jim, mostly. I could not add, say, a moose in an otherwise ‘mooseless’ pond. However, I do understand that photography has evolved over the years, and we’re all discovering our own limits. Few people are aware that Ansel Adams altered his prints and even deleted the “LP” from the famous image taken at Lone Pines. For me, my limits are influenced by the community that I share my photos with. For example, if all I really cared about was how other photographers reacted to my work, then I might do things differently compared to sharing them only with family and friends who know little about photography. Which is to say, I think audience matters in all of this. So for me, given my audience now, it would feel like an implied deception if I had added the moose and did not disclose it. Additionally, (and hypothetically) if by adding said undisclosed moose, the image became an ‘award-winner’ mostly on account of the moose, then I’m back to Jim’s flock of geese comment above. But again, this is only a personal thing, and I’m willing to evolve on this. When photography is seen as an art form, the saying “you are not just taking a picture, but creating an image” takes on new meaning. James Popsey’s work is a great example of this. So maybe we add to this discussion the whole notion of audience and audience perception. Just a thought. (As far as Tom’s editing decisions shown on the video, I do that stuff all the time and feel no need to disclose it. Just to make clear, I’m not a purist in these matters.)

    3. Jim Tipton. If you couldn’t live with yourself that is the best reason for not going to those lengths.
      I’ve recently seen a lovely landscape with single very distant duck floating near the edge of a misty lake. The duck was digitally added and it just lifts the photograph to another level. I would never have known if the the guy hadn’t mentioned it.

    1. I enjoy reportage-style street photography, but I generally remove brand names or logos if I can’t frame or crop it out. But for editorial work, yes they generally require sooc. Makes it important to get your WB and gradation right and set up your jpegs how you like them to look in your camera.

    2. I think news sites take care of that for you by rejecting anything which isn’t a straight OOC jpeg, it’s a requirement for a lot of stock news sites!

  3. My approach to my nature photography is to capture the nature as i experienced it. For me it’s the best thing to hear, when people ask me “does it really looks so beautiful in real life?” and I can tell them yes it does. So it’s kind of a drive for me to go out and try to get it right on location, because I want to show the people how beautiful our world is. But this does not exclude small changes like removing a branch or filling some gaps in the tress with leaves because those changes doesn’t really affect the way we experience the photographed subject. Those changes are to help the viewer focus on the theme, the subject.
    If the viewer would decide to visit the location I shot the photo, those things I removed or added would not bother the experience in real life.

    1. +Bryce Earl yeah I’m done too. But I stand by my assumption…”If people didn’t edit their photos, photography as a medium would be a much more boring and lifeless art.” You just really lost me with that one, your lack of appreciation for my trade means I must say good day to you as well.

    2. +krectus Well I tried to be reasonable but now you assume I don’t have an appreciation for my trade. Have a good rest of your day sir, but I don’t feel like arguing when I was trying to have a cordial debate.

    3. +Bryce Earl You defined it as drawing WITH LIGHT. You can’t just cherry pick part of a definition and ignore the rest. Painters can do what they want and alter what they want because no one assumes it’s a real image, it is understood that it’s a painting. If you are a photographer and present your pictures as photographs that you took, people rightful assume that it’s a drawing done with light. It’s just a slight difference but you’re so very very wrong when it comes to non-edited photography being boring and lifeless, it’s an amazing art form I hope you learn to appreciate one day.

    4. +krectus I guess I didn’t make my point clear. The reason I quoted the etymology of photography is that it is drawing, which obviously is an art that doesn’t neccesarily reflect reality. There is no law that says photography has to be documentarian and show exactly what the camera took, nor should there be. I think your view of photography is much too narrow. If we are going to be splitting hairs about what “form of art” it is, we might as well start forcing painters to tell us if they darkened the sky a shade compared to what they actually saw, or what type of paint they used and what brand it is. Let the art convey what the artist intended without a bunch of labels having to be put on it first. If people didn’t edit their photos, photography as a medium would be a much more boring and lifeless art.

    5. +Bryce Earl you’re doing a better job proving my point than I am lol. Yes that is an accurate definition of photography. You’re right It is drawing with light, not drawing with photoshop or other means. And you’re also right that an expressionistic artist can do whatever he wants but then he is refereed to as an expressionistic artist, not a photographer. Yes editing has been around almost as long as photography itself but so has the backlash against it, many of the best photographers have spoken out against it. There is no problem with people doing this but then it becomes a DIFFERENT form of art and should be noted as so.

  4. My issue with these discussions and art form is as an example, you shoot say Kirkjufellsfoss in Iceland on Monday you get amazing snowfall, on Tuesday a clear moonlit night that creates a different aura about the location, on Wednesday the ice in the waterfall has thawed and you get amazing waterflow, on Thursday KP6 northern lights, then on Friday you go to Grunarfordur’s little supermarket/cafe and you start editing, you combine all 5 images, you stretch kirkjufell mountain so it looks more grand, you move the aurora so it flows better in the image, you captured a faint Milky Way and recall a great Milky Way shot from an image in New Zealand a few years earlier and you add that. Aesthetically the image now has everything, at all compositional levels, perfect.

    This is my issue, to me that isnt photography, thats digital art, I guess I am somewhat of a purist, having such a strong influence/experience from Photojournalism where image manipulation is a nono, that when I moved in to Landscape I did not agree with it, but each to their own, my only other issue is when people dont tell their audience that its a shot of say 10 different images, that its heavily manipulated, and then win photography awards for it, no thats wrong, it gives up and coming students the wrong impression.

  5. I think “cheating” is totally fine, like removing a detail or stuff like that. Photography is an art, just do it and have fun. Great video!

  6. They heavily alter and add the color in photographs in full wavelength astrophotography. If you have seen the recent image of Pluto (blue-brown-white coloured) it was all added later. Most of the published pictures from Hubble space telescope use false colour. And some of them regarded as standard scientific references.

    I agree with Tom here, artistic freedom should always be granted as long as it’s not misleading. “Good” or “bad” representation is truly subjective. Not only this “freedom” ensures creativity, but often opens a gateway to another dimension of beauty.

    1. Also, remember that the human eye is only one “representation” of reality! Insects and reptiles see the world in COMPLETELY different ways!

      In short, science and photography will never be completely separate. The human eye is actually a pretty weak ocular device, compared to a cat or an eagle, let alone the full spectrum of light.

      This is part of what makes things like astrophotography so impressive- the notion that these things can’t even be seen “correctly” with the naked eye, and yet by using accurate yet “false” color, we can represent them in stunning beauty that is still actual science.

      Personally, I love to create images with as little post-production as possible. Because my goal as a landscape or astro-landscape photographer is not just to create art, but to actually document the things I see, and share that imagery with others.

    2. Well put, must have explained to hundreds of people how the photo of Jupiter’s aurora wasn’t a “real” image and what a composite is.

  7. If you were a painter and you left something out of your image, or added something, or stretched it, or flipped it horizontally or vertically, no one would know or care or say anything if they found out. So what’s the difference?
    It’s your art; do what you want.


    1. +William Miles La Mont The thing is, many photographers intentionally do advanced composite work, (focal length blending, time blending, etc.) but they insist on categorizing their art as /a/ photograph. Emphasis on the singular. And calling anything /a/ photograph implies an element of factual truth about the major elements in the image, such as scale, juxtaposition, or timing. Nobody is debating whether or not it’s art. To say so is a red herring fallacy. The question is simply, when does it stop being “a” photograph. To me the answer is simple, but to most, it’s either complicated, or downright aggravating to even bring up.

    2. +Matthew Saville Right. Can’t call something a photograph if there’s little left of the original image. It’s digital art. Nothing wrong with good digital art, but better not pretend it’s photography 😁

    3. The difference is that if you’re a painter, viewers immediately understand that it’s a painting, but if your image is given the label “photograph”, viewers immediately assume that certain elements of truth/accuracy do exist, even though they also understand that photos do receive development before viewing.

      In short, yes it’s all still art, of course it’s art! But to say that painting and photography are that similar in their creativity and artistic value, misses the whole point of photography.

  8. Like you I think cloning and removing distractions is just fine. I do feel that photography which is completely manipulated has to be shared with that information for complete transparency as it might cause people to travel to destinations under false pretences or buy something that isn’t a true reflection of a landscape. Great video, love the music at the start 👍🏻

  9. I figure that there’s what reality was and then there’s your memory. I try to make my photos what I remember and that’s generally a bit, not much, better than reality. Still within the realm of what’s possible just a bit closer to the ideal version of the scene.

    1. +Paul Jenkins I guess there’s the question of what you are taking the photographs for. I recently moved an entire mountain above halfway across an image recently so that it would line up with a centered road. If my intent was to show people how beautiful the location is, I’d be a fraud. With my intent being to create a pleasing image that represents how I interpreted the place, I am doing my job

    2. When it comes to abstract pictures, I don’t have a problem with manipulating the image. It might not have been obvious to start with that the image is (say) part of a reflection in a puddle, so then giving it a different colour cast, or stretching the image or whatever seems acceptable.
      I am much more conflicted about changing landscape photos.
      I watched a video recently where the photographer cloned out a line of pylons or telegraph poles in the background of his picture. They were a small detail in the background of a beautiful view. So if I went to the same spot, seeking to view the “perfection” portrayed by his photo, I would be seeing the landscape marred by telegraph poles. I would have been misled. That doesn’t seem quite ethical to me.
      But don’t portrait photographers remove spots or skin blemishes? Isn’t it the same thing, applied to landscapes? Yes, but does that really make it right? Not for me.

    3. Most people would (rightfully) assume that photography is documentary. If you look at a photograph you will assume it to be real, passing your images off photographs should maintain integrity, passing it off as digital art is fine, but most times a distinction isn’t made.

  10. Its perfectly fine to change things, its creating a piece of art. Our goal is beauty not accuracy. If I was taking pictures for a walking guide book, then yea maybe I would limit the tweaks to visibility.

    1. There are plenty rules in art depending on which type you’re in. There’s a specific reason there are categories of art and check marks it must meet to be in that category.

    1. As long as one isn’t passing the images off as true to life, I think you’re right. Say if a travel photographer is supposed to capture an image of an attraction they have visited for a website or travel company, and they totally manipulate the image so that it no longer represents the place, it can be very problematic.

      We recently stayed in a hotel that did that with pictures of their rooms. We got there and discovered the rooms were filthy, water damaged and stunk of cigarette smoke. When the story the image tells is a lie, then it’s not a photograph, it’s digital “art.”

  11. What you do for a living is Fine ART Landscape Photographer! Only news does not allow photo manipulation! What you do is Wonderful!

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