So what is real photography ?

03rd February 2013
I was having a chat about photography things with a friend recently, when into the conversation was dropped a story from this week that another friend who was hanging his photo in an exhibition was told by a wise old sage (not the real words used I can tell you lol ) "Huh, that's not real photography!"
Because he'd used a certain lighting technique - while exposing the shot I might add. He was accused of being a Photoshop photographer - which he's not.

Now this chap, who has his opinions and is allowed them, always shoots and shows "straight out of camera" (SOC is what we call that :) ).

But if that's the case , is he shooting raw pictures and not giving them the required sharpening - thus using no "manipulation" , or is his camera giving him the Jpeg photo - already processed ?
Most , if not all cameras that give you a Jpeg to put on your computer or into your printer will finish the photo for you, giving it some sharpening, a tone curve, some saturation. Maybe his camera has a choice of colour depth, maybe his automatic mode options offer "landscape", "night time with flash" etc. These are all kinds of processing or basic (but sometimes required) manipulation.

A cameras raw file is just that, the real negative with no adjustments at all , but the data is there to pull out a far better picture - why ? Well that's maybe a chat for another day.
My main work camera has 2 card slots, I've got it set to send a raw file to one card, and a jpeg to t'other as a backup. That's just me when I'm shooting a wedding or portrait.

Now, most folk that know me will have read online about my love for shooting 35mm black and white film, but I'm no purist. I won't say that using a camera with no autofocus, a fixed 50mm lens, in manual exposure mode is REAL photography, I just think its still great fun.
But in other people's eyes any digital photography is as much cheating as using Photoshop.
But then how would those folk get their photos online ??? Aghhh ! They'll have to make a digital version ! Lol.

I use a Fuji compact for all my main walk about camera, it's set to Aperture priority and has no zoom. Lovely wee camera, and gives great photos. I'll sometimes switch it to Velvia mode , which produces a lovely deep coloured jpeg , much like the Fuji film that is/was very popular, but in doing so is that "cheating" , I've not used photoshop, but could easily shoot the same photo in raw and duplicate the look in Photoshop.

I love shooting film, I love my compact Fuji, my Canon full frames are my working tools, so which section of my work could possibly be REAL Photography ?

Maybe everyone is entitled to believe they are right. Who cares ? So long as you enjoy it.

In my opinion, Photoshop is a great tool, but some people do use it to try to make a poor photo look, dare I say it "stunning".
Crank up all the colours, the clarity and wow... Awesome.
But, that is just my opinion. Some will say that's their own style. (Yuk lol).

You can't stop progress , and none of us can see the line between art and photography, it's sooooo blurred, we just have to do our thing.

Right, I'm off to get out my chemicals, heat them all to 20'c and develop my latest finished film. Can't even remember what's on this.

And I'm being serious by the way, I might post a photo later.

Edit: Monday... did the film tonight, as my thermometer packed in, new ones from Turnbulls today and here's my latest film....

Oh by the way.... iPads for art.... Now that's cheating !

(Only kidding)

Feel free to add your thoughts, comments and take on this here, would be good to see all opinions.

There's more blog nonsense here...



Photo comment By Grahame: A wee addendum. Picture this ... a chap with a photo, proudly showing it off, beside him, a chap scowling at the 'obvious photoshopping' as he taps his Nikon D70 and thinks " my stuffs straight out of camera" . Beside him, a girl with a 35mm film camera and 50-150mm lens... Thinking to herself "does EVERYONE shoot digital these days? Tch". Next to her, Bob proudly lifts up his Haselblad and asks the girl if she'd ever try taking a proper photo with a fixed lens ? Over in the corner, auld Archie comes out from under the canvas bag on his giant tripod mounted camera with a safe plate glass and says that none of them know what they're talking about. -------------------------- This is all just light hearted, but you can probably see what I'm on about... I hope :)
Photo comment By David Black: I see exactly where you're coming from Grahame, this is what I have been saying to folk since that old scowler had a pop. I'm anything but qualified to criticise anybodies photos (depending how much they want for it :) ) I don't know much about photography, I just have a clever camera, my first DSLR, that I have been using for less than a year and am still getting to grips with it. The main thing is... I'm happy! I like my pics, although I think I may get them printed elsewhere next time! The old scowler is entitled to his opinion, but I had great pleasure in explaining to him that it was not "photoshopped". Then he said it was "superimposed". When I explained to him exactly how I done it that's when he felt beat and quipped "that's not real photography, harumph!" I have Photoshop, but don't know how the hell to use the damn thing, wish I could! So what is real photography? Buggered if I know (and the old scowler would agree with that) :) Cheers ps I'll never use the words "awesome" and "stunning" again to describe a pic!! I promise.
Photo comment By Martin: The wee joke about the Ipad at the end actually is an interesting point. I personally can admire digital art as its used almost always for colouring in comics / graphic novels. The end results are incredible but, I worry about the effect it has on the comics industry in the future as more and more comics are now being sold digitally. I am working on a project at the moment that I could do traditionally but, if i try to take the project as far as I hope it could go, I must adapt and go for the digital route. Adapting is the key here, if people dont want to adapt to change in their chosen field, hobby, sport etc, that is fine, they have the freedom to do so but, dont cry about it when others adapt to the changes you rejected because, they also have the same freedom to choose their path.

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